A bit of fair warning, this post is going to be very long. So grab yourself a cup of coffee and find a relaxing seat because we will be here a while!
I am back with the second day of adventures in Morocco! Our morning began early once again as we had many places to visit for the day. We awoke and had a simple breakfast at the hotel before boarding the bus once again.
We also took this as an opportunity to exchange a few Euros for Morocco Dirham. The tour guides informed us that we didn’t need to exchange the money because almost all venders accept Euros or even sometimes US money but we wanted to be able to save a little of the money as a keepsake.
Our first stop of the day was enjoying the Medina (old section of a city) of Asilah. This city was made up of mostly white walls with brightly colored doors and we had a fantastic view of the Atlantic ocean.
I have completely fallen in love with Moroccan architecture- especially the doors.
After touring the Medina area we had some free time to shop or look around. My friends and I decided to venture to the nearby market next to the older area. This experience was probably one of the more uncomfortable ones I’ve had. Morocco as many people know is a very muslim country, therefore the majority of women cover themselves up a lot more than we are accustomed to. As you can see from the pictures above- my friends and I were not very covered and we received a good amount of stares from locals. I definitely would recommend to anyone traveling to Morocco to do your best to adapt to the culture because otherwise you will be left feeling rather uncomfortable in your surroundings. (My friends laughed at me because I ended up putting the hood of my coat up because I felt so uncomfortable by the stares).
After our time in Asilah we drove to Tangier which is a northern city of Morocco located on the coast. We enjoyed soaking up some sun on the beach and the best part of all- riding camels! Our guide explained to us that camels are often times not used in northern Morocco but I have to say that it was a cool experience to ride a camel on a beach in Africa.
After the little break from driving we boarded back onto the bus and made our way to Tetuan which is one of the most important cities in Morocco. We first had a traditional Moroccan lunch in a palace there.
After eating we got some henna tattoos done by a local woman from Tetuan. Traditionally henna is only done for women the day before their wedding day. Weddings in Morocco are super important and take 3 days in total to complete. A woman normally has henna done throughout her whole body. The fine detailing is so intricate and beautiful.
One of my favorite stories from this weekend involves the henna. The woman who did our henna asked each of us for our names so she could write them in arabic. My friend Melanie repeated her name several times. After the tattoo was done, one of the tour guides came up to us and asked if her name was “Aggie” instead of Melanie. My friend Becca and I died laughing and now we can only refer to her as Aggie.
After lunch we had another walking tour of the city. This town was definitely more upbeat than the last, there were people everywhere shopping in the local markets.
We stopped at a local pharmacy where the owners explained the many medicinal properties of their natural goods. I picked myself up a few bottles of argan oil which is good for your hair, skin and nails as well as some Moroccan mint tea.
We also walked past a store with beautiful (and also insanely expensive) wedding gowns for brides. Since weddings take 3 days, the bride wears a different dress for each day of the ceremony.
After browsing around the market we were given some free time to shop and barter. Negotiating prices is a cultural part of buying goods in Morocco- I snagged myself a few good deals by negotiating in Spanish. However, I was amazed by how many languages most of the venders knew. Our tour guide told us that most Moroccans know classical Arabic, spoken Arabic, English and French. Northern natives also know Spanish because those lands were under Spanish rule for quite some time.
After so much excitement we were all ready to depart from Tetuan and make our way to our hotel for the night. Some dinner and rest was much needed.
Worry less and smile more.