I just got back from a three and a half week vacation with Colton travelling around Morocco.
It was a really good trip. We got to see a lot of the big sights in Morocco that I had not yet seen. Colton landed in Fes and we spent one night there. We went to the tannery, where hundreds/thousands of skins are treated. There is a very pungent smell in the tannery because they use pigeon shit and animal piss to cure the skins. We also went to a famous Islamic school in Fes that has beautiful Arabic caligraphy engraved into the stone and wood walls.
After Fes, we headed north to Chefchaouen, a beautiful town in the Rif mountains. It was kind of rainy, but we managed one good hike. The medina (old city) in Chaouen is painted beautiful, dreamy blue white and purple. It's fun to wander around.
Chased away by the rain, we went south. After spending a couple days in my site, we went to Merzouga. Merzouga is the site of the biggest sand dunes in Morocco. We took a camel trek out into the desert and spent a nite in a tent in the dunes. I was skeptical because it is such a touristy thing to do, but it was a lot of fun and the dunes are amazing.
Next we travelled to Tinghir, where my host mother is from. Her family is still there, so Colton and I stayed with them for three nights. They were super welcoming and generous. We used their house as a base to travel to two huge gorges, which are also popular tourist attractions. The Todra Gorge is where the final scenes of Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail was filmed. It's a huge, steep gorge. The Dades Gorges were also spectacular and Colt and I managed a pretty breathtaking hike there.
Tiring of tajine, we moved onto Agadir, a beach town that is over run with tourists. We spent New Years there, sitting on the beach and walking around (we did a lot of walking everywhere we went). After that was Essaouira, also on the beach. It's a UNESCO world heritage site and its not hard to see why. The walls of the medina are an old sea fortress that stand right at the edge of the ocean.
Finally, Marrakech, where we had the most expensive dates I've ever eaten. Delicious.
It was a good trip. I'm back in Tounfite now, stuck here because we got the first snow storm of the year, closing the road to my site. It is warm this morning so I expect to be able to go home in the afternoon. Colton should be posting pics on facebook of the trip soon.