Morocco: God Willing

I hate that so much time has passed between taking the trip and finishing these posts – my intent was document everything while it was fresh in my mind. But just because I’ve had other adventures in the meantime doesn’t mean Morocco isn’t at the top of my thoughts every day…

Day three of our trip progressed to our tourguide’s hometown, Rissani. His step-mother and sister served us Couscous they prepared from scratch, which requires five hours!
couscous from scratch

Za explained the process:
Za told us how to make couscous

After lunch, Za gave us beautiful, intricate Henna Tattoos. She is self-taught and is truly a talented artist.
henna tattoo

henna tattoo

Brahim's step mom and sister

Later, we toured Rissani’s market, which is the oldest in North Africa.
Rissani donkey market

Rissani market

Rissani market

I don’t think we would have lingered as long as we did had we known a six hour drive was ahead of us.
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But eventually we arrived in the city of Ouarzazate where we spent the night in a really beautiful hotel. It was dark when we arrived and I gasped when I opened the shutters in the morning to discover our view:
view from our room

Ouarzazate is home to a few movie studios. We decided not to tour, but I was happy to snap this photo while we drove by:
Movie studios

Day four was full of more driving, and stopping to admire the scenery.
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Eventually, we arrived at Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. And when we did? My (brand new) camera broke! UGH. Luckily, I had another along with my iPhone. But my zooming capabilities were nill.
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Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou

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A scene from Gladiator was filmed here:
Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou

Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou

Finishing our tour of the Kasabah was bittersweet. We were tired, we knew it was our last stop, I longed to be back in the desert, and it was time to say goodbye to our guide with whom we had become good friends. We were handed over to his cousin and a driver for the final few hours back to Marrakech.
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I particularly like this photo as it shows the switchback roads (look for the zigzag right in the center) that winds through the Atlas Mountains – we drove the entire route twice in four days.
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Back in Marrakech we ventured out to the main square for dinner where I did my best Andrew Zimmern and ate a Mixed Grill plate without knowing exactly which meat was what. Bread was served from laundry baskets hidden under the tables and napkins were nonexistent. I was proud of our bravery, especially in our exhausted state.
And I lived to tell about it

After dinner we strolled through the night market:
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And before we knew it, Saturday morning arrived and we were on our way to the airport.
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It’s an absurd understatement to say that I’m ridiculously lucky. But: last week, I spent a day in Casablanca. It is shockingly modern, Western, and entirely different than the Morocco I experienced with Kirsten. I can’t express how thankful I am for every moment of our trip – even the annoying ones I’ve omitted from these posts (endless hours of bad music in our SUV, motion sickness, scarce toilet paper, you get the idea…) because they were part of our unforgettable journey.

I was terrible at remembering words and phrases in Berber (or any other language.) But I know and love the notion that when bidding farewell their response is, “God willing.”

So: Thank you!
Saha, Morocco. I’ll be back – God willing.

7 thoughts on “Morocco: God Willing

  1. Reading your account and seeing your beautiful pictures make me very excited for our trip there. Thank you for sharing it all.

  2. Beautiful El. Broken camera is a nightmare, truly, glad you had some backup. The pictures are so great and a great description of your travels, although I am sure it does not do it justice – never does.

  3. wow. wow. WOW. wow.

    your photos are simply stunning. and to think you were there in the thick of it all, soaking it all up. it seems like an experience that can never be relayed in words. but thank you for trying. i’ve so enjoyed your posts.

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