Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Tour of Rabat, Morocco

Wednesday morning was a lazy morning for sure and it was nice.  We slept in, lounged around and took our sweet time getting ready.  It was so nice. One thing we've learned from this big trip is that you need to build in rest days.  By this point, we were pretty tired, our knees hurt from walking on cobblestone for so many days in a row, and the thought of getting up early and doing a whole day of sightseeing wasn't as appealing as it was two and half weeks prior.  Melissa reassured us that having two days in Rabat like we did was plenty of time to see everything, so we didn't even feel guilty about taking it easy that morning. 

When we finally got our act together and left the apartment, our first stop was Chellah, which is a medieval necropolis that has links to the Roman empire.  Today, it's been converted to a garden where tourists can come and many Moroccans bring picnics. 








Not only were the ruins interesting and engaging, but there is a whole cult of storks that live there and build huge nests throughout the site. We kept seeing them, regardless of where we wandered.  You can even see one at the top of the big tower in the left of the picture above. 








It's kind of crazy how you can be walking through ancient ruins one minute, take a turn and then be in a luscious green garden the next.



Look how big that leaf is!



Shadowy, but still worth posting

Our next stop was the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, who was king of Morocco. The mausoleum contains his tomb, as well as his two sons.  Not knowing a lot about the history of Morocco and it's leadership, I was more focused on the building itself and the beautiful artwork that decorated each wall.

The guard outside







The third stop on our tour was the old medina of Rabat and the waterfront. Rabat is known as a white city and, once you explore the old medina, you'll see why.  Everything is white!  


Melissa offered to give us a little photo shoot.  You can see how pleased Mike was about that in this first picture.




And then we took a few scholar pictures.



I guess Mike didn't want to join in on the fun

Stepping foot into the old medina in Rabat is similar to the old medina in Fes.  It looks and feels completely different. Outside feels very modern with wide, paved streets and concrete buildings. Inside, it's like you went back in time with narrow alleys and storefronts selling all sorts of goods. I didn't find it nearly as overwhelming as Fes, and Melissa says that she considers the Rabat Medina like the JV medina compared to Fes' varsity team.   We walked around for a little while, Melissa bought a bag and we both bought some ear rings, and then headed out for a late lunch on the water.





One of the highlights of going into the old medina is the view from the top.  It overlooks one of Rabat's beaches.  While this beach was nearly deserted when we were there in February, Melissa said that it is packed in the summer!








Since we had gotten a late start, we had a late lunch along the water.  We only had one more stop to make, so we didn't rush through lunch, which was also really nice.  Afterwards, we headed to this little market where there were all sorts of shops, from woodworking to pottery.  Mike and I were definitely jealous of the woodworking shops and were trying to rationalize paying to have something shipped to Turkey. Don't worry.  We didn't. We did end up buying some pottery that we'll use as chip and dip trays.  We're lucky that's all we decided to buy.  I could have and would have bought that whole market if I lived in Rabat. 

Afterwards, we had to head back to the old medina because Melissa had to pick up a few things.  We had been warned that it would be much more crowded since it was the end of the day and people were done at work.  



This is what we ran into. Honestly, it was crowded, but it wasn't overwhelming.  I think my eight months in Turkey and my two days in Fes made this seem like a piece of cake.  Growth!

After an hour of navigating the crowds, picking up Melissa's stuff, and Mike and I buying a rug (someone really should have taken away our wallet when we stepped foot in Morocco), we headed to the grocery store to pick up stuff for dinner and then back to the apartment. 

Ryan had stayed home working all day and had prepared taco/burrito fillings waiting for us.  Melissa showed me how to make guacamole and Mike made margaritas.  We ended the night having our own little Mexican fiesta and playing our new favorite game Farkle.  Such a great way to end a fun day.  I definitely think I enjoyed Rabat more than Fes, although each city is different and has unique characteristics.

Such a great roll!  If you haven't played Farkle, it's a must.  All it takes is six dice, so buy six dice and look up directions on how to play. Mike and I are now hooked.


Step Count: 19,008