Abigal Swinney is a student at the University of Central Missouri and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Sevilla, Spain.
Somewhere amid the green fields, the snow-capped mountains, and the solemn sand dunes of Morocco sits a civilization of people just as diverse as its landscape. I was told that visiting this vast country is a life-changing opportunity, but I had to experience it for myself. I would soon find out that this trip would quickly exceed all my expectations and that I would be revealed to the majesty of Morocco.
We started off our journey in the imperial city of Fez. Most of the day was spent in the Medina, which is the old, walled part of the city that dates back to the 9th century. There, amidst the narrow, labyrinth-like streets visitors will find themselves engulfed in vibrant sights of handmade rugs and fabrics, and smells of well-known Moroccan spices. The Medina of Fez is also famous for housing the oldest university in the world, the University of Al-Karaouine. Another important part of the Medina are the restaurants. After hours of shopping, bartering, and walking through the winding streets, we finally had the opportunity to experience authentic Moroccan food. The main dish consisted of couscous, chicken, beans, and vegetables. It was unlike anything I have ever tasted, but I left feeling very satisfied.
For the second half of the excursion we made the journey to the wild, rugged, mighty Sahara Desert. We started off early the first morning we were there by waking up to watch the sunrise. It was absolutely glorious to see the sun appear out of nowhere and give color to the world around us. The next adventure of the day was a camel ride through the desert to a nearby town. On the way, however, we made a short stop to climb up the biggest sand dune in the area. It was an exhausting, and at times frustrating, climb, but with the help of some local Berber children we finally made it to the top. The view was breathtaking; there was an ocean of sand as far as you could see, and directly below us, what appeared to be dots were the camels that we had rode minutes before. We eventually climbed down the dune and mounted our camels once more for the remainder of the journey. When we arrived at the town, we headed straight for a pool to escape the desert heat. The rest of the day was spent talking with locals, getting henna, playing soccer, jumping on sand dunes, or – like me – reading and enjoying the magnificent landscape.
Morocco will be one of those trips that I will keep talking about until I’m 90 and whose memories will seem just as vivid as if I had visited yesterday. It is hard to describe with words something as life-changing as this trip to Morocco. Simply put, the majesty of the country is something that you must experience for yourself.
The world awaits…discover it.