As children, we pictured Africa as a place filled with wild animals and dry deserts (no thanks to the Lion King). Never did we imagine that during a semester abroad we would hop on a bus with over 100 other American students (check out DiscoveryExcursions! It’s a great tour group for anyone in college) and take a ferry to Morocco. On our first night bussing through the city, we noticed there were no women on the streets. The few that were out traveled in groups and were covered from head to toe; only men filled the restaurants. It made us feel guilty. Here we were-two young women traveling around Europe with the most freedom we’d ever had.
It was like getting culture shock all over again: a new religion to absorb, customs to adapt to and breathtaking architecture unlike anything we’d seen so far. Cities rich with color and culture, beautiful views of the Atlantic (an adorable stray kitten here and there) and being woken up by the calls to prayer became our reality for the next 48 hours.
The bright blue city of Chefchaouen is rivaled only by the vibrant colors of the many goods and trinkets being sold in every square inch of the city. Walking through the medina of Marrakech, you could hear at least 3-4 languages being spoken. The flow of the market swept us all away as we tried (and failed) to barter for white elephant figurines. Our experience was enriched by our own interactions with the locals and a walking tour led by the cutest and most insightful old Moroccan man. He taught us that “Islam is a lifelong teaching” and described how the color and design of the doors marked the status of the family living inside.