June 29, 2008


To share my entire Morocco trip (which was about a month ago now) is just too daunting. The best souvenirs I took from Morocco are my photos, and I really think they tell the story of my two week venture there more than my own crafty words. I'll try uploading a few at a time and giving you a taste of my journey just as I did - bit by bit, which is frankly a lot more manageable for me. So here's round one.

One of the last places we visited in Morocco was Essouria, a quaint little town on the Atlantic coast. We spent two nights here and I easily could have stayed longer. Most of the other places we stayed - Fes, Marrakesh, Casablanca - were too large, confusing and intimidating to venture off without a guide. But not here. We checked into our riad, got a quick lay of the land from our guide, Mark, and then spent two days wandering down streets, venturing in and our of vendor stalls and eating.

We arrived in Essouria on our seventh day in Morocco. By then we had wandered through several towns, seen many sights, met many a local through our guided tools and consumed our collective weight in couscous. Really we all were ready to chill out for a few days.

Essouria is small. It really has only two main streets that intersect making the city like a giant cross, ironic given this Muslim country. Essouria was sunny and breezy and a perfect place to relax before our three day camel trek.

We did make it to the beach one day, but it didn't prove quite so relaxing. We were told Essouria is a wind surfing capital. It wasn't hard to see why. After five minutes of laying on the beach, my towel, and anything that was stationary for that matter, was covered with the fine sand of Morocco's coast.

Given it's proximity to the sea, this city had some excellent fresh fish. Also sadly, a very pungent fish smell (and seagulls - because the two really go hand in hand). Yvonne, Katie and I went down to the fish stalls on the water two days in a row for lunch. We literally picked out our lunch from a table of fish that had been caught earlier that day. I had the snapper and then some sole the next day, along with our appetizer of bread (a staple of every Moroccan meal) and salad of tomatoes, onions and green peppers drizzled with oils. We also couldn't resist the fresh calamari and ate hearty portions of that both days. We ate it all and then Katie and Yvonne dissected the fish eyes when we were done. Just because.

We walked around Essouria for a few days, not really doing much except relaxing and eating. Our riad (Morocco's answer to the B&B) was so charming and relaxing that both days it was hard to leave. See, see how pretty:

But when we did, we saw some beautiful sights. We also saw more Europeans and Americans there then any of the other places we went in Morocco. Maybe that was part of Essouria's charm. After a week of feeling completely out of our element, we found a little familiarity and a little regularity is this beautiful, sleepy little fishing town.

Ed. Note: I have been trying to format the pictures on this entry for about an hour and a half to make it look pretty. I give up. This does not bode well for future posts.

June 8, 2008

Cycling Craze

So I went to Morocco. But no, this is not a post about Morocco. I have done what I always do with travel posts. I've made it too much in my mind. I can't think of how to say everything I want to say and sort my photos and share everything I want to share, so I've done nothing. Well not nothing. I have been doing things as of late besides stewing over how to share Morocco with the good people of the Internet.

I got a bike last weekend. Actually Mike and I both got bikes, and in the matter of four days we became people who bike. We even biked this weekend. Mike and I decided go camping in Rockford, Ill. this weekend, despite a weather forecast that said it would be anything but pleastant: a high in the upper 80s with high humidity, windy mid day and a chance of thunderstorms during the day and over night. Sadly, the weather channel was right on with its predictions. Mike tried fishing mid day, but it was too windy. We built three fires - the first two got rained out. We purchased a tent fan because as promised it was very humid. We finally called it quits when a DNR officer came by our tent this morning to inform us there had been a car break-in and theft overnight. After giving him statements about the unruly teens camping next to us the previous night, we threw up our hands in surrender and started breaking down camp... right about when the fifth round of showers started moving in. But we at least got in a quick bike ride in the previous night, so I guess even with all the rain, the weekend wasn't a total wash.

But about those Morocco photos and stories.... I'll get to them. I promise. And I think in the interest of actually getting them up, I'll probably just upload photos and keep the descriptions short. The photos pretty much speak for themselves any way. It was a great trip, full of beautiful scenery that I hope to share with you all sooner rather than later.