Hi all! I’d like to share the first of my more “independent” (without the University of Deusto) excursions with you guys today. Last weekend I went to Morocco! I went with two friends from Deusto, but we traveled with a program for study abroad students called “Discover Excursions,” stationed in Sevilla, Spain. Students from all over Spain were a part of the group, so it was cool to meet other students from America who were also studying in Spain – but that was only the beginning of the “cool” things that last weekend brought.
My friends from Bilbao and I arrived in Sevilla on Friday morning after riding alllllll night in a bus. Although the ride was long, it was very nice to have almost the entire day to explore Sevilla before our departure for Morocco on Friday evening. We got to see to main bull ring of Spain, the largest church in the world, and a multicultural fair that was serving delicious food from pretty much every country in the world!
After spending some time exploring Sevilla, we met up with the Discover Excursions group to head to Morocco! We took a bus from Sevilla to a ferry on the southern-most tip of Spain, then the ferry to Tangier, Morocco, and then a bus to our hotel! Phew! It certainly was a lot of traveling all in a day’s time but it was so worth it. Saturday morning we woke up early and headed to Chefchaouen, a small town about 1.5 hours away from our hotel. This little city was beautiful. The buildings were all small and perfectly white, while just the bottoms of every wall were painted a beautiful blue. Now, I’ve never been to Greece before (it is on my bucket list), but Chefchaouen looked to me how I’ve always pictured an adorable little Greek island to look. We were guided around the town by sweet old man named Mustafa – he showed us all the sights to see in town, as well as told us about its history and people. I was fascinated by its people – they all seemed so “worldly” to me! Mustafa, for example, told me that he is able to speak seven languages, and most of the other people in town could speak at least – if not more than – two languages. Here I am, just trying to become fluent in one language other than my own, and these people converse in multiple languages daily! I admire that. Anyway, during our time in Chefchauen we all had a fun time haggling with vendors and shopkeepers, trying new types of foods, and just exploring this place that literally felt like a different world!
The next day we went to Tangier. There was a beautiful vista near the ocean on top of a very small mountain where we stopped to have a look. There I haggled for some jewelry with a local vendor (which went very well, I must say)! Then we went to the “Caves of Hercules”, which was pretty much one huge underground cave that looked out onto the ocean. It was pretty cool to explore – and there were even vendors there, in the nooks and crannies of the cave!! I definitely got the impression over the course of the weekend that Morocco’s local economies thrive off of tourism. After the caves we got to take a short camel ride on the beaches of Tangier! Those animals were so big – I was a little intimidated to hop on the thing, to be completely honest – but it was very cool, even a bit relaxing!
After the little camel ride we went to the neighboring town of Assilah. This town was literally right on the beach – so in my opinion that right there makes it perfectly picturesque. All through the little city there was also wall art of all different types – not graffiti, but beautiful paintings with every color all over the white walls. We spent hours wandering the town – admiring the art and talking with locals!
On Sunday night we made the long journey back to Sevilla. My friends and I slept in the Sevilla airport Sunday night into Monday morning, when we caught a plane back to Bilbao…just in time for classes that day! It was exhausting but it was sooo worth it because our weekend in Morocco was amazing. The places I visited are unlike any I have ever been to before, which I think was my favorite part. It’s boring and close-minded to visit the same kind of places over and over again! But Morocco is so different from the United States, from Spain, from France, from Italy, from Guatemala, from Puerto Rico – all the places I have spent time in before. I love being able to travel like this to destinations that my mind is not able to form expectations for because I go in with a completely open mind and just soak in everything I can – which I think is one of the best ways to live and learn. I feel very blessed!