Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ten Days in Morocco: Marrakesh

One of the perks to the missionary life is the opportunity to travel and explore some of this amazing and diverse world that God created. Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to travel to Morocco. This trip was necessary in order to renew our visas (since we are in Portugal on tourist visas, we have to leave the European Union every 90 days). Our language teacher always takes a week's vacation in mid-October, so we planned our trip to coincide with this, so as not to miss very much class.

I have to say that Morocco is one of those countries that I never thought I would visit. I'm not really sure what I was expecting before we went, not knowing very much about it. But I was absolutely blown away by how breathtakingly beautiful it was, by the friendliness of the Moroccan people, and by the delicious food. I don't know if we'll ever have a chance to go back, but I do know that I will cherish my memories of this trip for the rest of my life!

It took me some time to sort through all our pictures once we got back home to Lisbon -- we took almost 1,000 in our 10 days there! I decided to break up our trip into a series of posts by location. These first few pictures are from Marrakesh, where we spent our first night and part of the next day.

The main sight in Marrakesh is the Djmaa el Fna, a big central plaza in the middle of the medina (old, walled city). The structure in the background is a minaret, which marks a mosque.

In the Djmaa el Fna are snake charmers...

... and monkey-handlers!

Rusty has two monkeys on his back!

We were accosted by henna tatto artists who gave all of us henna tattos (Alex's is a scorpion), and then proceeded to rip us off by charging us way more than they should have.

After about 20 minutes, we decided we couldn't afford to stay in the Djmaa el Fna any longer and went wandering in the souqs.

Pottery for sale -- the funny pots with the cone-shaped lids are tajine pots, the Moroccan version of the slow cooker.

We found a safer, cheaper place to watch the action in the Djmaa el Fna (a rooftop terrace) -- we just bought our lunch and then sat and watched all the craziness from afar.

Next up: the High Atlas Mountains!

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