We spent our final days in Morocco enjoying some playtime on the beach. The weather was a little on the cool side, but sunny, and the beaches were practically deserted. We stayed in three different towns along the Atlantic Coast. The first, where we stayed for two nights, was the village of Mirleft. We totally lucked out in finding a furnished apartment to rent for less than we would have paid for a hotel room. Even better, the apartment was situated right next to a steep staircase down to the beach and had an amazing view of the ocean from the living room windows. With the windows open at night, we fell asleep to the roar of the surf -- mmm, heavenly!
View from our apartment
The boys enjoyed swimming in the surf...
...and playing in the sand.
We built our first family sandcastle. Or, Rusty and Alex built it while I tried to keep Stephen from destroying their creation!
One afternoon, we drove south a few kilometers to Lgzira Beach, which showcases two dramatic natural stone arches, hollowed out over time by the relentless pounding of the waves. The next three pictures are of Lgzira Beach:
From Mirleft, we drove north along the coastal road to the fishing village of Essaouira. It was a very pretty drive, and there were lots of great views, but probably the most interesting things we saw were goats in trees! Argan trees to be precise. These trees produce a fruit kind of like an olive, which can be pressed and made into oil. Argan oil is becoming a hip alternative to olive oil in restaurants around the world, and the oil can also be used to make soaps and other beauty products. In addition, goats like to eat the leaves of the argan trees and will climb up into their branches in order to do so. I'm not talking about the lowest branches of the trees, either -- we saw goats all the way up at the tip-top of these trees, swaying in the wind while they ate!
Have you ever seen a goat in a tree?
We stayed one night in Essaouira. Although our time there was limited, I felt like we had the quintessential Essaouira experience... we stayed in a riad (traditonal hotel with rooms surrounding a central courtyard) in the medina, watched the sun set from the medina walls, wandered the streets (no cars allowed in the medina) in the evening, sipped fresh-squeezed orange juice for breakfast on our hotel's rooftop terrace overlooking the town and the ocean, shopped in the souqs, climbed the sea bastion tower to look back at the town, and had freshlly grilled fish for lunch at the fish stalls by the harbor. Essaouira was another of the highlights of our trip for me.
Canons along the city wall
Watching the sunset
View from our hotel's roof
Spices for sale
No cars in the medina meant we employed this man to help us get our bags from the car park to our hotel. He let Alex ride in his cart, which Alex thought was super cool!
View of Essaouira from the sea bastion
From Essaouira, we continued the drive north to the little resort community of Oualidia, where we stayed two nights. Oualidia is situated on the shores of a calm lagoon which is separated from the rough waves of the Atlantic by a rocky breakwater. We were able to find another furnished apartment, just like in Mirleft, which was near the beach. The water in the lagoon was relatively warm, and there were no huge waves, so the boys could roam a bit freer, which was nice. We paid an old fisherman to take us around the lagoon on his boat one morning, and in the evening, we walked on the boardwalk before going to dinner and saw the last of the fading sunset sky and the waves crashing agaist the rocks. Rusty and Alex also rode a four-wheeler on the beach one morning! Hey, I guess if you can't ride a camel, a four-wheeler is the next best thing!
Feeling the sand between his toes
View of the lagoon...
...and just on the other side, the rocky shore of the open sea.
Our four-wheeling four-year-old!
And from Oualidia, it was back to Casablanca to catch our flight home. We spent very little time in Casablanca, but we did drive past the Hassan II mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco and took a few pictures. We decided against the guided tour, which was a little pricey and would have lasted an hour.
The Hassan II mosque
And that wraps up Ten Days in Morocco. Never fear, though... I already have more posts in the works -- including the first annual Angola Team Halloween Party and the first annual Angola Team Retreat. (Lots of firsts for our team right now.) See you soon!