More Mountains

The trips into the mountain ranges of Morocco continue! Last weekend I went to a Berber village in the High Atlas mountains near Marrakech. The village was on top of a mountain, meaning that just getting to it was part of the fun.  It took us about two hours to navigate the winding path up the side of the mountain.  It was worth the hike; when we got to the top, we were greeted by a man who is trying to develop the village up there by building the schoolhouse and improving how the families share resources for their crops. We also got to try his blackberry, fig, and rosehip jams, and to sit on the terrace in the afternoon and face this view:

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When we walked up to the village’s reservoir, we could see all of their sloping barley fields and the village perched on the hill.

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The views were also beautiful at night.  We could see so many stars, and the birds chirped all through the evening.

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The landscape in the south of Morocco is very different from that of the northern and coastal areas, as we saw on our drive back through Marrakech.  There are more palms trees, and it becomes very hot and dry in the summer away from the coast.

IMG_4281 copyThis weekend reminded me that I have more places in Morocco to see.  I better get started planning some weekend trips!

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Chefchaouen

After a long stretch of working with no breaks, we finally got a week off from school to travel or rest, and my mom came back again to visit me.  And after several instances of nearly getting run over by cars and motorcycles, we were happy to spend five days up in the quiet of the mountains.

We went to Chefchaouen, which is in the north of Morocco, up in the Rif mountains. It is known for it’s blue walls, beautiful scenery, and expansive reefer plantations. My mom and I thoroughly enjoyed the two former aspects of the town, taking lots of pictures and getting daily calf workouts.

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I never knew how many shades of blue there are.

Coming from a very flat place (Illinois), I’ve always loved trips to the mountains. Every time I visit a mountainous area I start to make plans for how I can live in the mountains in the future.  However, we quickly found that mountains are beautiful but inconvenient. In Chefchaouen, produce is brought in from across the mountains and sold only on market days, Monday and Thursday. To buy produce, you must go down to the lowest part of the old city, and then lug it back up to your home. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of the fruit and vegetable carts in Casablanca, and that kind of convenient fresh produce was not available in Chefchaouen.

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A beautiful yet strenuous hike between mountain villages

Finally, I decided to return to my life in Casablanca in lieu of setting up in the mountains and going on long hikes every day for the rest of my life. I missed the melon man, the whole-wheat bread seller, the Philadelphia cream cheese corner store, and the daily vegetable truck.  I also thought it might be a good idea to go to work on Monday.  But it was a wonderful and restful week, and fun to see the countryside of Morocco.  The ocean breeze welcomed us back to Casablanca, and I feel just a little bit more confident about dodging motorcycles on the way to the vegetable cart than I did before.

Pretty view, pretty windows.

Pretty view, pretty windows.