about Marrakech, Morocco and Volcanic Ash…
G and I took a quick trip to Marrakech this past weekend after finding a good deal with Ryanair. It was one of those places that I would have been really disappointed if I didn’t go while living in Sevilla. It was refreshing being back in North Africa and back in with the Arabic culture. It brought back all the good memories from this past summer and Morocco, like the Middle East, didn’t let us down. It was a photographer’s paradise and I only wish I had had a great camera to take all the photos I wanted. Every corner showed us something new, from snake charmers to spice stands to the best street food to souqs, mosques, and the devout saying their prayers. It was sensational. We CSed with a Moroccan and he was more than delightful, warning us about the prices we should pay and recommending the restaurants we should try. In the end, the best way to explore Marrakesh is just to walk… and walk. After our first two days in Marrakesh we decided on our last day to go to the Atlas Mountains for some fresh air. We headed to a town called Setti Fatma. Setti Fatma is situated at about 1500 meters and has some pretty sah-weet waterfalls to hike to. We hiked up and spent the day inhaling some clean non-dusty air, which doesn’t exist in Marrakech.
Monday morning we headed to the airport to catch our plane back to Sevilla, only to find out that our flight had been cancelled. Muy mal. The adventure began (or nightmare, you tell me). Who knew volcanoes still erupted anyways?! So, the main problem was that there were only flights Monday and Friday back to Sevilla, so we had no option but to travel through pretty much the whole of Morocco (Marrakech is in the south) and try to get to Sevilla. We found a group of Americans who had agreed to rent a big van with a driver and travel up to Tangier (the ferry crossing to Spain). The taxi driver said 6-7 hours to Tangier. He forgot to say 6-7-8-9-10 hours. Yes, my friends, it took 10 hours. Including a pit stop to his “cousin’s” restaurant in Rabat, which I refused to eat at and told him instead that we had no money and we had to go to McDonald’s because they accepted credit cards. Maybe he was unhappy, but there was definitely no heads-up about paying 10 EUROS for a tajine. No way. So, McDonald’s saved our lives yet again. Anyways, quick tour of Rabat we were on our way again and hoping we would make it to Tangier for the 10pm ferry. We arrived at 9:45pm (we left at 11.40am). Got our tickets and the ticket man informed us that we would have enough time to make the ferry. We ran. And ran. And ran. Seven Americans and one Brazilian running in the port of Tangier. Screaming, “Algeciras? Algeciras?” We ran through customs down to the port and saw our ferry tug away into the dark sea. Muy mal. We asked the man at the port for the next ferry he said that there was another one in 15 minutes. We waited. 45 minutes we saw a ferry pull up. Load up. Close up and start to heat up the engine. There we were again, seven Americans and one Brazilian, screaming at the port men, “Stop that BOATTTTT!!!!” They realized they forgot about us. We didn’t let them. They stopped the boat, opened it again and we got on. We arrived in Algeciras at 1:30 am with no place to run, hide, or go. We stayed on the streets until 6:30 am, when our bus to Sevilla left. 26 hours since we left our CSer’s house in Marrakech we were home sweet home. And how sweet it was.
Dear Mother Nature,
The next time you decide to erupt, please keep the ash at a level more convenient for everyone.
p.s.- Top Ten Marrakech
1. Jemaa el–Fna Square by day
2. Jemaa el–Fna Square by night
3. Fresh orange juice from the stands
4. Jemaa el–Fna Square for dinner (eat at the food stands! If I didn’t get sick, neither will you!)
5. Palais Bahia
6. Talk with the locals in the Souq (you’ll get the price you want!)
7. Day trip to the mountains
8. Get lost
9. Eat rghaif (Moroccan pancake with butter and honey)
10. Visit the parks…
11. (not really a thing to do, but just wanted to say that maybe going to the desert should be in the top 10, but I had been there done that, so didn’t want to spend money on it again!).