February 12, 2012

weekend trip to africa

One of the perks of living in Europe is that another country is never too far away if you are in need of a drastic change in scenery, food, language, smells, people, etc. In the case of my friend Natalie and I, we were in need of all of the above. So we took a weekend trip to Africa. Why? Because we could! Less than three hours in the air and we stepped off of the plane into a surprising new adventure. What brought us to Morocco was a project that my landlords from Paris had embarked upon last year. They bought a riad in Marrakesh and have been renovating it for about a year. When I tell people I went to their riad, my explanation is "well, it's just this big awesome house where people can stay". After consulting my friend Wikipedia, I can offer a better explanation: it's "a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard". But neither of these explanations do this place justice. For the geographically challenged, like myself, this is Africa. And the green blob is Morocco. And it is awesome.

So here we are at the riad...
This is the rooftop terrace where we ate breakfast every day
and this is our amazing breakfast spread
Natalie hanging out
This is only a portion of our crazy suite
Dinner with my landlords (on the left) and another riad owner from next door
View from the terrace at night
The house turtle - he hangs out in the courtyard
the courtyard at night
Our first stop was the Majorelle Garden, a botanical garden that was vibrant and untamed, a refreshing change from the structured and somewhat gray Parisian gardens.

And most of the time was spent wondering around the Medina, an older part of the city with super narrow streets that cars can't access and it's general structure seems to mimic that of a maze. We spent a lot of time wandering through the tiny streets and making our way through the enormous souk where you can pretty much find anything you could want, except for an ATM...go figure.

this is where you go if you want a full  body scrub down...by a stranger.
this is how elections are kept track of throughout the city apparently
primary mode of transporting things throughout the Medina....efficiency isn't their strong point
street signs/the reason we got lost
Natalie got WAY too close to these snakes
....the dentist
making things with his feet! kind of gross, kind of cool.
he liked us
finally held a monkey!
i don't think he enjoyed it as much as i did
Besides holding the monkey, I think my favorite part was seeing the city at night. The streets were empty and the maze would light up. 

Me, Natalie and our amazing tour guide/friend, Taha. We would have been in a perpetual state of confusion trying to find our way around without him!

So to summarize...if you ever get a chance to go to Morocco - GO! It's pretty great.

1 comment:

  1. CRAZY! A weekend trip to Africa. How do you expect me to come close to anything minutely exciting when you ask me, "What's new? How was your weekend?" I watched Seabiscuit and The Blind Side. Both those movies were filmed in a different state! Oh, and Al had the flu.