Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm in Africa! Ringing in the New Year in Morocco!

I still can't believe how lucky I am to have just taken a trip to Africa!  Morocco was amazing.  Our riad, which is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard, was absolutely amazing.  We had dinner there almost every night and I swear it was the best food I have ever eaten!  The location was perfect, right inside the medina.  
A medina is typically walled, contains many narrow and maze-like streets, and was built by Arabs as far back as the 9th century.  The medina in Fez is believed to be the world's largest contiguous car-free urban area.
On our first day, we decided to hire a guide to give us a tour of the medina.  We visited the tanneries and had one of the workers give us an overview of what they were doing.  Very cool!
The following day, Brian and I, well, who am I kidding, Brian felt comfortable navigating through the medina on our own.  We explored all day, getting lost and finding our way again, doing some shopping..Brian is quite the haggler and got us a beautiful mirror inlaid with camel bone for a 1/4 of the asking price.  Awesome!  On our third day in Fez, we decided to explore the country side and hired another tour guide, this time, with a car.  He was fantastic and brought us to the mountains where we fed wild monkeys and had tea with a 100 year old Berber woman.  Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley.  And on our last day, we took a tour of the ceramics factory.  Truly a memorable trip. 

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