Memories of Morocco

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I could only hear bits and pieces of the conglomerate of noises that surrounded me on both sides. We slowly walked down tiny, jagged alleys as men draped in long battered cloths loudly called out to us in broken English. “I give you good prices”, one said. I stopped feverishly—I was curious to feel the handmade leather of the bags displayed. Each leather bag felt tired, worked for hours, designed purposely with a contrast of color from the hand woven carpet. My eyes marveled through the amount of treasures I saw within each burrow that belonged to the individual merchants. Pops of burnt orange of the walls and the vibrant colors of every market caught my eyes. I could smell spices and a steam cloud from the woman frying dough down the street filled the air. The streets were busy with swarms of people—it was like we were caught within a hectic maze as locals zoomed by us on rustic motorcycles, and as the stray cats followed our every move. Small coves of hanging lanterns led me inside. There, I saw a hamsa pendant dangling on the walls. I had seen this symbol before in other cities and countries. It was a comforting reminder of the journeys these past few months between a foreign land. It spoke to me-as a sign that I was that I was safe. Even thousands of miles away from what I was familiar of, I felt at ease knowing I was protected wherever my feet took me.

I don’t know if it was the rawness within each corner of the bustling city, or the meticulous detail shown through the impeccable architecture, or the smile from the local old man as I kindly asked to take his photograph, but I was smitten by the chaos of Marrakech. Morocco had stolen my full attention—and it still often lingers in my mind.

Wanderlust in Marrakech, Morocco

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Shopping in the street markets
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Taken while exploring near our hostel
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Stephen negotiating prices for a hat in the market
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Exploring the Berber village after hiking
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Inside one of the Berber villages
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I loved all the shopping
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New friends from Chile and Canada
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Sampling moroccan mint tea at a local herbal shop
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Monkey business
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The camel I rode in the Berber village
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Jemaa el-Fnaa market at night
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A local I met on my way to the market, look at that smile!

Before I left for Europe, I knew I had to get to Morocco. I don’t know exactly what attracted me to the country in the first place to be honest, but I’m so grateful that I not only got to see it for four days, but my experience surpassed my expectations. As my last stop of my 10 day spring break adventure, Sammi and I met up with our friend Stephen and spent our time haggling prices for authentic Moroccan pieces at the Jemaa el-Fnaa market, riding camels, and hiking in the Berber village. We were aware that photography was not welcomed as part of their culture; it is polite to ask to take a photo before you take it. This became a facilitator in creating dialogue with people we met, as well as an interesting challenge we boldly accepted. Vivid with pops of colors, Marrakech has this electric, fast pace that instantly grabs your attention. The intricate details in the handmade woven bags and beaded rugs, the beautiful architecture, and incredible food–I loved it all.

My trip to Morocco was a turning point in my life. It felt like I finally got the culture shock traveling experience that I’ve been craving. On the plane back to Italy,  I realized that I have so much more to see, like I was embedded with an even stronger dose of wanderlust than before. Morocco will hold a piece of my heart as the place that stirred up a passion to create a life full of a different kind of travel.

wanderlust (noun) \ˈwän-dər-ˌləst\ – an irresistibly strong desire or an impulse to travel far away and explore different places

 يا حبيبي يلل Yalla Habibi! Let’s go, my love