Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Waka Waka

Travel Tuesday with Helene, we meet again!
Gotta go out with a bang since this will be the last one for a while!

I have mentioned a little bit before about my experiences living abroad in Sevilla, Spain during college. Throughout my 5 months living there, I had could to easily travel all throughout Europe, but it didn't immediately occur to me just how close Africa was to the south of Spain! When the opportunity to travel to Morocco on an organized trip came up, my friends & I immediately signed up!

To begin our long-weekend in Morocco, we bussed to a town called Tarifa on the southern tip of Spain and then hopped on a "ferry" to travel across the Strait of Gibraltar. I use the term ferry lightly because that word usually makes me think of a small little boat and this was the biggest one I've ever seen. It definitely had more of a cruise-ship feel to it! 
1.) Our ferry from Tarifa to Ceuta  2.) The inside of the ferry  3.) The view from the boat as we approached Ceuta

 Our boat ride ended in Ceuta, which is a Spanish city that's located at the northern tip of Africa. After getting off the ferry, we loaded onto a bus to head towards the African border. I don't know about you, but I get nervous when it comes to airport security, border control, TSA agents, etc. It's not like I'm ever breaking the law and smuggling anything but for some reason they make me nervous. 

That being said, crossing the African border was one of the most nerve racking and intense experiences I've had! There were about 60+ of us (all abroad students) packed onto a bus, all of our passports were collected and then taken to the officers controlling the border. After about 20 minutes going through all of our passports, 3-4 Moroccan officers (with guns, BIG ones) walked up and down our bus aisle talking to each one of us, everyone was told to sit in silence. After they examined and spoke to each one of us - our passports were returned and our bus was free to cross into Africa.

First stop, Tétouan! There was something that immediately felt really different about being in Africa. Maybe it was just the idea in my head that I was actually there, but it just felt so cool! Tétouan was exactly what I pictured when I thought of Morocco. We walked through the open air markets, visited a holistic pharmacy, shopped in a rug factory, and so much more!
1.) A silk shop in Tétouan - the colors were amazing!
2.) Walking through the spice market.
3.) Chickens all cramped up in a crate inside the market.
4.) That was a tiny man carrying a bushel of something that was 3x his size.
5.) Beautiful doorways all over Morocco.
6.) Inside a rug factory.
7.) Salad - Rice with tomato, cucumber, olives, corn, lettuce, and spices.
8.) What our meals were served in.
9.) Lunch - Cooked carrots, potatoes, broccoli, and squash with rice.

After lunch, I got some henna!
Next stop on our trip was Tangier, which is a coastal town in Morocco. Tangier is known for being the "white city" with gorgeous picturesque white buildings lining the coast. I generally love any town located near water, and Tangier did not disappoint! We got to visit the coastline, explore some caves, and even ride a camel! I know what you're thinking, typical tourists riding camels in Morocco when you could do that in America - but it cost 1 euro and it was awesome, thank you very much!

1.) I made a new friend.
2.) View of the ocean from Tangier.
3.) We explored Hercules Cave - this opening to the ocean is in the shape of the outline of Africa.
4.) A baby camel, just because he was so cute.

We spent that night in Tangier, and went out for some drinks and belly dancing - if that's not a fun combo, then I don't know what is. Usually I'm not one to get up on stage, but when I Moroccan belly dancer grabs you and hauls your ass up there, you don't have a choice, so you embrace it. Note - me in the green, embracing it.
1.) Said Moroccan woman who pulled me on stage.
2.) Doing a little shimmy with some Moroccan cuties - not sure what the white spot on my arm is.
3.) Your traditional Moroccan conga line.

The final stop on our trip was in the town of Chefchaouen. This was my favorite city we visited for many reasons, but mainly because of how unique and picturesque is was! The entire city is painted different shades of blue. Everywhere you look, it's unbelievable! We took a quick tour of the city and then were left with some free time to shop around and explore. I got a little camera happy, I couldn't get enough of the beautiful blues everywhere I turned.
Scenes from around the city, filled with all different shades of blue. Coincidentally, I chose to wear blue that day which was somewhat like camouflage in Chefchaouen. The last picture is a stop sign in Morocco, to remind me to stop posting so many blue pictures, I could go on and on.

Overall, I had a great time in Morocco. I still feel pretty cool saying that I've been to Africa, and I'd definitely go back if I had the chance one day! If that day comes and I do return to Morocco, I'd love to see Marrakech. On a little side note, I did get sick about 2 days after coming home from something that I ate or drank while there. Out of our group, only a few people got sick and I happened to be one of them. Unfortunately, that's my bad luck for ya! That was not fun and did put a little damper on my thoughts on Morocco, but all in all it was a once in a lifetime experience that I wouldn't trade.

I'm going to leave you with the most precious, pocket-sized, tiny little nugget of a tour-guide that led us all around Morocco while we were there - if I could have packed him in my suitcase, I would have.
I kid you not, his name was Habibi, he was no taller than 5ft, and had the most adorable little voice.
I'll be back for you one day, Habibi.


  1. Looks like a great trip! I have always wanted to go to Morocco and have heard great things about Chefchaouen :)

  2. this has to be my favorite travel tuesday post today!! so cool! and i love all the colors in Morocco, so cool!!

  3. This is awesome!!! Morocco is probably my dream travel spot and this post makes me want to start planning right meow! Love love love all of the colors and of course the camel!

  4. i'm obsessed with all of this, and your blog! thanks for sharing! XO
    the well-traveled wife

  5. So jealous! When I studied abroad in Spain, Morocco was off-limits for us at that time. Your phots are amazing! I love the colors in that shot of the silk shop. And the baby camel? In LOVE! What an awesome experience!