Ouarzazate & Aït Benhaddou: Rock the Kasbah

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Our decision to join a small-group tour to Ouarzazate turned out to be wiser than we had imagined. Several friends had advised us not to rent a car in Morocco, warning of sky-high prices and less-than-optimal vehicles that were not worth the hassle, particularly for a day trip. But as our little van began the climb up the Atlas Mountains and we got a full picture of the conditions we would have been facing on our own, we were very relieved that we hadn’t let our distaste for tours get the best of us. The zigzag road was… well… currently not so much a road, as workers are trying to carve deeper into the mountain to widen the path. We would round a sharp corner — without a guide rail of course — and suddenly drop onto unpaved gravel as our fearless driver dodged the speed demons flying around the other side of the bend. I had popped a motion sickness pill before we boarded the van, but even with the medicine it was a little much so I decided it was time for a nap.

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Marrakech: Glorious Sensory Overload

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Coming from quiet and pristine Geneva, Marrakesh is nothing short of sensory overload: Giant hunks of raw meat hanging from market rafters, men charming snakes sprawled out on the ground in front of you, stalls overflowing with lamps, spices and slippers, children chasing soccer balls through the narrow cobblestone streets, the intermingled smells of freshly-squeezed orange juice and roasting meat, roosters crowing, cats meowing, men pulling carts, donkeys pulling carts, cars pulling carts and oh, the motorbikes, constantly zipping through the alleyways and dodging pedestrians full speed ahead. You won’t get much of a feel for this from my photos — I only dared to walk around with my camera out on the calmer streets — but Marrakesh is quite the vibrant living city. We spent our two days downtown mesmerized by the color and chaos. Continue reading