We had our own room and bathroom and every morning they served us breakfast on the terrace, which was always gloriously sunny. The weather was amazing, not a cloud to be seen, and the temperature stayed a steady 70-75 all weekend. This was exactly what we were hoping for during our weekend holiday away from cold, rainy, northern France.
We were not disappointed. Morocco has a breathtaking beauty to it in the spring, there is green everywhere and the temperatures are perfect. What we weren't expecting on our trip were little photo stops at gimmicky places; where the locals were waiting for us, ready to sell cheap necklaces and teapots. It was sneakily planned, but we were rather delighted to find that tourist trap #2 had CAMELS waiting for us! Ciara and I sat on camels for a total of 10 minutes and were perfectly content with checking off camels from our list of "must do's".
After a while, we got to a little mountain town in the Ourika Valley, where we were given the opportunity to hike up to see some waterfalls. As soon as we arrived in the town a group of "guides " surrounded us and asked if we wanted a tour to the waterfalls. We were trying to be frugal on this trip and confidently brushed aside any offer, but even after our persistent "go away's" one of the guys continued to follow us around as we began to climb up towards the waterfalls.
We started to get kind of nervous as we climbed up and he was still following us. At one point we even stopped and told him to go away. He would not leave. So we waited until there were more tourists around and kept climb up. What we didn't realize was that it wasn't as easy as climbing up the side of a hill. There were slippery rocks and loose rocks as well, which our little guide happily climbed up like a little mountain goat. As we kept getting higher (this was all taking like an hour to just climb up), he would give us his hand on difficult passages. Little by little, we realized that we couldn't have made it without his help.
I, for one, am not a great climber (and usually do not climb as a rule) and had to be helped numerous times as we slid, jumped and dragged ourselves around. He came in to use the time when we had to scale the side of wall to get to the "easier path" or when we were practically sliding down the hill with our cute converse on. These moments made us realize that a helping hand was definitely needed. I think when we finally accepted that we needed his help, things got a little easier, and we continued on our way. I guess, sometimes being less stubborn makes climbing a mountain that much easier.
Our second stop, four hours and some fun in the snow on top of the mountains later was in a little town called Imili. In Imili, we could spot the Jebel Toubka (the tallest mountain in Northern Africa). Zoe, Ciara and I bought friendship bangles from a guy that promised us they were "pure silver".
That night we went back into the center of the Medina to have dinner on the square. Every night, the little food stands set up their wares and start heaping out plates of couscous, tagine, and olives to all who pass. As you walk from stand to stand, you are welcomed, begged and harassed into sitting at stall #115 or #117 "just like heaven". At one point, we walked by a stand and I told the guy that we had already eaten, he looked at me, pinched my arm and said, "mais ça ne se voit pas (you can't tell)".
All in all, I'm pretty in love with the haggling, the fresh orange juice stands (seen everywhere) and the blue from the majorelle gardens (I have house slippers in this glorious blue). I love the sound my bangles make as I move around my room, it's like a constant reminder of a really fun holiday, tinkling at all the right moments of my study routine.