After a couple more days in Barcelona we decided, rather spontaneously, to go to Morocco. I think perhaps we should have thought this through a bit more. Casey and I weren’t feeling good. We were having lingering stomach issues and a poor appetite since the Camino so maybe a quiet place with bland food would have been the best choice. Guess what? Marrakech is anything but that. Duh.
We stayed in a nice riad (basically a big house converted into a B&B) in the Medina (the old, walled central part of the city) with really friendly hosts (especially Yu’nus!). Marrakech is very alive, colorful, chaotic, and very, very different from anywhere I’ve been. According to Koben, the food was delicious and full of flavor. (Casey and I mostly ate bread, rice, fruit and yogurt.) There were snake charmers in the plaza and carts pulled by donkeys. The call to prayer was played over the city five times a day, which I found beautiful. ( Here’s a link to a recording I made https://youtu.be/opyysHOS8Js ). Plus, Morocco is considered a safe travel destination and doesn’t carry the warnings and concerns of other countries in the area.
There were a few things that were hard for me for however. The shopping in the markets looked interesting but honestly was a little aggressive at times and I wasn’t really in the mood to bargain in that way. (I’m told this is worse in Marrakech than other cities.) There are many websites that have advice for women traveling there – such as what to wear, when you should and shouldn’t smile, whether or not to go out alone, and so on. We were there during the Kavanaugh controversy so this was especially poignant for me. Also, many of the animals we saw didn’t look well cared for and there was a lot of obvious and heartbreaking poverty.
For some, these could be reasons to not visit. But I still think there are many wonderful things about the country that it’s worth considering. Other parts of the culture are warm and generous and there is a vibrancy and beauty that is special. I think my pictures and videos tell that story better than my words can.
Even though we didn’t feel great, we still got out and explored. ( Here’s another little video to give you an idea of the Medina: https://youtu.be/0fMW-c3gwQE ) It was really fun and I would definitely like to go back some day, but as a focused trip, fresh from home, rather than part of a months long rambling adventure.
Since we weren’t getting better like we hoped, Casey and I realized we really needed to go somewhere we could rest up and recover. We talked about many options and agreed that the place we felt most at “home” on this trip was Norway. I messaged my friend, Mette, and she and Petter immediately welcomed us back! We are so grateful for them and their generosity. They were even going to be gone on their own trip most of the time but opened their home to us.
As we were booking our flights, Koben decided he wanted to stay a little longer so he could see the Sahara. He booked a tour through the riad and then met up with us in Norway later in the week. His pictures are stunning.
So, yeah, that was Morocco for us. 3 days and 4 nights. I felt crummy most of the time and it was kind of foolish, but lesson learned. I still enjoyed myself and hopefully I can return another time to see other cities and the desert some day.
I got a henna tattoo in the morning before we left and then off we went. Back to Norway, our friends, comfort food, and our home away from home.