Morocco: A Different World

Cahner Olson is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. Cahner studied abroad with ISA in Paris, France.

Hello travelers! I’d like to start by expressing my gratitude toward ISA for allowing me to be a photo blogger this semester. I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing my photos from Paris, as well as the rest of Europe, with you. However, this being my last contribution to this blog, I’d like to share photos from a trip that was unlike any other I had taken. During spring break, my program, along with ISA London, took a five-day trip to Morocco in North Africa. I had never been to Africa or a predominantly Muslim country, so the experiences that awaited me were so much different than anything I could have expected.

The first stop was in Casablanca at the Grand Mosque, the third biggest mosque in the world! It is built right on the bank of the Atlantic Ocean, which provides an incredible view from the outside, and the inside is decorated with giant chandeliers and quotes from the Quran on the walls.

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The next stop was Fez. In their medina (market) you can find everything from spices, leather, beauty products, clothes, rugs and teas. The best part is that it’s all made right there in Morocco!

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Fez locals sit outside their shops in the medina.

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ISA students try on traditional turbans. We all bought one in preparation for the harsh sun in the desert.

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The high ceilings of this store provide the perfect way to display their carpets, which are made right there in the shop.

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A friend and I ventured to the non-customer part of the carpet shop, and found two women making this carpet. They taught us how to weave it, and then even let us try! Each one takes an average of 18 months for them to make.

The next two days of our journey were spent camping in the Sahara desert. I’ve never felt more like a local anywhere then I did those two nights!

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Our tent in the desert- we were all provided with a mattress, sheets and a pillow, and even had a flushing toilet and showers in the back.

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Our guides woke us up bright and early in order to watch the sunrise over the dunes. Although it was cloudy, we did get this view a little later in the day.

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This was by far my favorite part of the trip. How many people get to say they have ridden camels through the Sahara Desert? Local guides walked us around the dunes for the day and we even got to swim at a pool in the middle of the desert!

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Our last adventure occurred on our drive back to the airport. We all took bananas from our hotel the night before, and got to feed them to the monkeys who live in the forest we drove through.

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