So many exciting things happened in Morocco, so I will try to just highlight the important events. Visiting a Muslim country was a completely different experience from visiting Europe. It was a place I will never forget, and it has only made me more curious about the Middle East and their culture. The Islam religion and its respective countries have always had a bad stigma in America, so I want to learn more about it. If only it wasn’t so expensive, and it was a little more safe to visit! My boyfriend is half Lebanese, so that is a pretty good excuse to visit the Middle East.
After our adventure at the Feria and a few short hours of sleep, we were off to our next adventure. Next stop: Africa. I was overly excited to be able to experience a completely different culture from the westernized experience I had grown up with. And, it was the first time that I was taking an organized tour during my time in Europe. I was excited to finally be able to just enjoy the trip and not worry about the details of the itinerary.
After dropping off my huge purple luggage at the WeLoveSpain office (I had moved out of my apartment, and I had to bring everything with me), we still had a few hours before the pick-up time, so I wanted to show my cousins around Sevilla. We were only able to see a few sites, but it was still wonderful to see my favorite Spanish city again.
After exploring Sevilla for a few short hours, we headed over to the meeting point where a huge tour bus would pick us all up and ship us over the ocean to another continent. After a long bus ride, a ferry, and another long bus ride, we arrived in Ceuta. I never knew that Spain had so many territories outside of its actual mainland. Aside from Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish cities on the Moroccan mainland, Spain also controls the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands. It’s a shame that I was not able to visit any of the islands, but I will be back one day.
Anyways, we crossed the border into actual Morocco, and I finally got another passport stamp! Because I had mostly been traveling within the Schengen zone, I would never get passport stamps. It was a bit disappointing. We were bussed over to a hotel in a tiny fishing village, and we spent the night there. All of the food was included, and it was delicious. For only 185 euros, I really do think this trip was a bargain. The only thing that was not included was drinks. It was my first time in a country where everyone adamantly insists that you avoid tap water. Don’t even brush your teeth with the tap. Apparently, one of my friends who had been in Morocco the previous week had gotten a bad case of the sh*ts because she brushed her teeth with the water. There are different bacteria in the water that foreigners usually cannot handle very well, so it is best to stay clear of the water. So I made as little contact as possible with any water there. My showers were filled with the fear that the water particles would somehow find their way from my skin into my digestive tract.
The next morning, we headed over to the miraculous city of Chefchaouen. If you’ve never heard of it, Chefchaouen is completely painted blue. They paint over the walls and doors several times a month in order to keep the beautiful color. We spent the day with Habibi, the cutest tour guide I have ever seen, showing us the important sites of the city. I found out later that Habibi is actually an Arabic term of endearment that means “my love” or “sweetheart” or something along those lines. Every corner we turned, every door we opened, was photogenic, and I wanted to photograph everything. It was probably one of the more touristy areas that we visited, but with good reason. I am usually not one for touristy areas, but this place was worth it. I would have loved to just get lost here and find hidden intricate doors and walkways.
Sadly, we only had a few hours in this city, and we left towards Tangier that evening. It was predicted to rain the next day, and we were supposed to be riding camels. They decided to squish the rides in on the first day just in case it was too wet to do it the next day. We drove over to a random beach, and headed down to the sand where my cousins and I promptly ran to be the first to ride the camels. It was one of the most awkward and fun animals I have ever ridden. When they first stand up, it is extremely easy to just topple over because they are so jerky. However, once they started walking and then galloping, I quite enjoyed myself.
After all of the fun, we drove into Tangier where we would spend the night. Unfortunately, my cousins were both starting to get sick, so we needed to buy some medicine. After dinner, we explored the city a little bit, and bought some medicine. I guess we really stuck out like a sore thumb because everyone stared at us as we walked down the streets. I even put a veil around my head, but we still got just as many stares. We did not last long before we decided to head back to the hotel.
The next morning, we were going to visit Tetouan and their ancient Medina. This city was very similar to the Philippines with narrow streets, poverty, and vendors surrounding you. I could see how most people would be shocked when they see something like this, but thankfully, I have been exposed to similar environments in the Philippines. We ended the trip with lunch in a beautiful building. It looked like a small castle, complete with a royal throne. I must say that Moroccan food is delicious, and thankfully, my stomach did not argue with me for the duration of the trip.
We ended the weekend with a ferry back to the mainland. Because of the Feria in Sevilla, there was a huge backup in traffic. We had to be dropped off a mile from the meeting point and then walk all the way to our airBNB with our huge luggages. We arrived at almost 1 in the morning, and thankfully our host was nice and waited for us to come. It was a tiring, eye-opening, but very rewarding weekend. Next stop: Brussels!