December 18, 2011

Thanksgiving around the world

Harold and I share a love for travel and we constantly are talking about places to visit and things we want to see and the adventures we dream to go on.  I love that we share that passion. So for this past Thanksgiving we decided to use our holiday time off to go on a trip.  After throwing around a lot of ideas we decided on Spain and Morocco. It was an amazing trip. Spain was romantic and beautiful and Morocco was a cultural experience and unlike any other place I've ever been. We felt lucky to experience that part of the world and here are some pictures from our trip..

Part 1: Marrakech, Morocco

One of many mosques in Marrakech. During the day (I think it's 5 times, if I'm not mistaken) you will hear what sounds like a sort of alarm come out of the mosques, they are a call to prayer for the muslims.

Pretty park next to the mosque

Here we are at the famous Djemma el Fnaa square in the heart of the old city. They have monkeys, snake charmers, ladies doing henna tattoo, and little shops selling all sorts of spices and such. I love monkeys so I was happy to hold him but after I was sad thinking that he may not be treated right. One can only hope his owner treats him good...

The ladies doing henna as well as making spices and oils.  I read in one of the travel books that there are two kind of henna and one of ones they commonly use here is one that has some sort of chemical in it that can burn and scar your skin. So ya, no henna tats for me..

Look closely and you'll see snakes. Big thick ones and those scary black Cobra ones. The "snake charmers" would be  playing music and get so close to these snakes. I didn't want to get to close..

We let ourselves get lost in the city but we also enjoyed a carriage ride to see the city 

At night the place really livens up.  Groups of people gather around to hear people playing music as well as "magicians" doing magic tricks. 

At night they aslo bring out rows and rows of table and there are plenty of stands selling fresh food to eat.  Some sell only one specific dish and others a variety.  We ate meat skewers, couscous and tagine.. all very good and very cheap. And we match! presh.

Close by the square are the souks.  The souks are little shops selling every sort of knick knack and patty wack you can think of.  

There were kitties/cats everywhere. Unfortunately I was told not to touch them cuz they could carry a lot of diseases. Sadly I mustered every bit of self control to not pet and pick up every kitty I saw.

Harold was brave and tried some snails that this guy was selling. I passed...

It's not uncommon to see donkeys pull all sorts of stuff through the small roads and alleys of the souks. These donkeys were pretty small but very strong- it was amazing to see some of the stuff they could carry

 These two pictures are ruins from an old palace built over 1,000 years ago and at one time parts of it were paved with gold. That's one very rich Sultan

 The architecture and design was so intricate and beautiful in Morocco. This was a school where they studied the Koran

  Right before we left Marrakech we managed to squeeze in a quick trip to see these Yves Saint Laurent gardens.  YSL loved Morocco and bought this land and help create this garden as a gift to the city.  Really pretty and I loved the bright colors (especially the blue) he used in the gardens.

Looks like my red pants fit right in..

 This is a picture of the "New City"  quite a contrast from the "Old City" or the medina as it is called.  The medina is surrounded enitrely by a wall and was the original city founded about 1000 years ago. The medina is very crowded with all the old ruins and more traditional looking building where as the New City is modern, clean and not as crowded. It was like being in two different worlds- crazy to think it is all the same city.

And before I forget, in honor of Thanksgiving we ate Mcdonald's in Marrakech. God bless America and those mcdoubles (or mcchicken in my case)

Up next: Travels in Fes and Southern Spain

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” 
-Mark Twain