Now that I am abroad, all I think about is traveling! How could I not? Traveling once you get to Europe is so cheap. Today, I found an overnight train ticket from Milan to Paris for 35 Euros. I mean, come on! Unfortunately, I can't just pick up and leave every weekend, I do after all have lots of work I need to get done here in the archives. So I though today I could indulge my wanderlust in a different way and share one of my all time favorite trips -- Morocco in the summer of 2012.
I think Morocco is incredibly underrated and if you are studying or traveling in Europe you should really consider adding it to your list. The history nerd in me was in heaven. Morocco has long sat at the crossroads of Africa, Arabia, and Europe, giving it a fascinating history and an unique culture. To entice you, I've pulled some of my favorite photos from the trip and made a list of the top things you should eat, drink, see, and do in Morocco.
I stayed in this adorable historic Riad in Marrakesh.
Oh the colors... everything is a vibrant color!
The snake charmers in Marrakesh
Embracing the local style
My camel Aisha
The leather tannery and dying factory
Overlooking the city of Fez
During my trip, I visited the cities of Marrakesh and Fes (and took the train between the two). You can easily (and cheaply) fly from Pisa, Italy to Fes! I didn't bother with Casablanca, since most people said it is very modern and industrial. I wish I had spent more time in Marrakesh since it was definitely my favorite, although both cities are full of amazing historical and cultural sights. I loved shopping in the massive Souqs, exploring the maze of the medina in each city, riding a camel outside of Marrakesh, people watching in the Djemma el Fna (main square in Marrakesh), exploring the historical palaces, and seeing (and smelling) the tannery in Fes, which might have scarred me for life. You do not want to know how they treat/soften the animal skins. Just say ok when they hand you a sprig of mint to hold over your nose!
Dates, vegetables, camel, and anything cook in Tajine (or Tangine) clay pots
Mint tea (and yes hot tea is great on a hot day!)
Freshly squeezed orange juice
The amazing architecture of the historical palaces and mosques (and university in Fes)
The incredible handmade silk textiles
A leather tannery (although warning, you will never look at leather the same way again!)
A snake charmer in action
Take a steam in a traditional hammam (bath house)
Stay in a historic Riad
Go on a camel ride in an Oasis (or overnight in the dessert if you have time/are feeling adventurous)
Shop in the Souq (or Bazar)
Get lost in the maze of the medina
Buy lots of amazing spices
Realize everyone is trying to sell you something... always, and no gesture or kind act is for free (but that's ok, if you know that going in, you can be careful and go with it). Tipping the snake charmers was totally worth it!
It is very warm (I mean it's basically the Sahara) but you still need to dress respectfully. Plus it's a very dry heat (temps were in the 110s when I was there). It was definitely hot, but strange without the humidity I'm used to. Also remember to drink plenty of water!
If you want to do a little more research on visiting Morocco, Frommers has an amazing (and free) guide online here.
Would you visit or have you visited Morocco? I'd love to hear your thoughts!