Photo dump! Spain, Jordan, Italy, Kenya, Dubai, Paris, and lots of Morocco!

I kept up with this blog till November and then let it fall to the wayside… for a couple of reasons. One, exam time came around and I was suddenly consumed with grading… although also with buses and trains and planes and adventures. Two, as you probably know if you’re reading this, I got engaged! And all my internet time was taken over by pinterest, weddingwire, and theknot. But since it’s spring break and I’m already bored and I’ve been missing Morocco lately, here is a pile of my fave photos from winter and spring 2015!

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December in Ceuta: Twinkly lights on orange trees

 

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View from a friend’s rooftop in Fez, Morocco

 

Morocco’s Mediterranean coast is beautiful. So blue!

 

 

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Fresh grilled sardines, shrimp, and bissara (a soup made from fava beans) at a cafe by the water in M’diq

 

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Argan trees in southern Morocco

 

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One of my favorite cafes in Tetouan

 

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

 

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Kenya: a cute little baby warthog crosses the road in front of our car

 

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Chefchaouen: Blue(ish) town in the Rif Mountains

 

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The Alhambra, Granada

 

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Alhambra again

 

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Sevilla, Spain

 

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So I had a chance to go (back) to Barcelona, this time with a dear friend, and it was beautiful. Healing and redemption and life and broken pieces put back together, yay.

 

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I tried to capture a photo that would do the Sagrada Familia some amount of justice. I failed. Seriously, if you are ever in Barcelona, don’t let the long ticket lines dissuade you. This was so worth it.

 

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A riad (dar?)

 

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I started noticing that my ring matches stuff in Morocco. Like the Oudaias in Rabat!

 

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… and the Mediterranean!

 

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On International Women’s Day, the Moroccan rail company (ONCF) handed out cards and roses to every woman who bought a train ticket!

 

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Amman at night

 

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We happened to be in Jordan right after ISIS burned the Jordanian pilot. These signs were all over Amman. “Life your head high, you’re Jordanian.”

 

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Mount Nebo. Checkin’ out that Promised Land.

 

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Floating in the Dead Sea was an interesting experience! I was surprised by how narrow the Dead Sea was. Probably not a smart idea to float across, though…

 

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Desert sunset. Wadi Rum, Jordan.

 

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Petra, Jordan

 

 

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“A rose red city half as old as time…”

 

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We’ll always have Paris

 

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A stop along the way from Ouarzazate to the Sahara

 

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wind and sand

 

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We spent a night in this tent in the Sahara. There was a windstorm and I was a big baby and thought our tent was going to collapse. But it held up!

 

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On a bus heading way way down south to Essaouira

 

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Essaouira, Morocco

 

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Annnnddd more Essaouira!

 

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Hungry street cats hoping the tourists will drop some tajine crumbs
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Got to spend Easter with an awesome friend and her cousins in southern Italy! They fed us and fed us and fed us. It was basically food heaven.

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Rome!

 

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Taroudant, Morocco

Ceuta/Sebta

If you’re Spanish, it’s Ceuta. If you’re Moroccan, it’s Sebta. If you’re Spanish, it’s a Spanish exclave in North Africa. If you’re Moroccan, it’s an anachronistic attempt by Spain at holding on to a city that is really part of Morocco, a last vestige of colonialism.

It’s a half-hour drive from Tétouan to Ceuta, and grand taxis travel back and forth frequently between the two. We went through a border crossing that felt like crossing from the U.S. into Canada, i.e. you know you’re technically entering a different country, but you don’t really feel like you are. The border guards stamped each of our passports with a Moroccan exit stamp.

We stopped at an ATM to withdraw some euros, found a small cafeteria for lunch and made absolute fools of ourselves trying to order in Spanish. How does this work? There’s no menu anywhere. Do we just point at what we want? This is tapas, right? What’s the Spanish word for menu? Menu? No, it’s not that. Carta, right? Carta? No, they don’t have a carta. I think we just pick out a bunch of these little sandwich things and tell him which ones we want. And then we go sit down? What’s that- potatoes? Scalloped potatoes? Let’s get some of those, too. It took us forever to figure out the system and order, but the food was cheap and delicious, and our waiter was patient with our cluelessness and even gave us a plate of paella on the house. 

Ceuta felt to me like a cross between Madrid and Tétouan. It felt strange. I wasn’t quite sure how to process it. The biggest difference was the inconspicuousness. There were so many people who looked like me! It felt weird! But weird in a good way. Freeing. I took off my jacket and walked around in a sleeveless top all afternoon and no one bothered me. I walked by a cafe without feeling twenty men’s eyes on me, following me. What a glorious feeling of blending in.

Before heading home, we stopped at a grocery store to pick up a motley assortment of things hard to find in Tétouan. Fresh spinach, mushrooms, a candle,  tortillas and salsa, wine, guiness, tampons.

I’ve  heard of other Americans having problems at the Morocco-Ceuta border. But we walked right by four chatting border guards on our way back into Morocco, until one of them realized and called after us, “Hey, wait! Come back!” A Moroccan entrance stamp in each of our passports, and we were on our way home in a grand taxi a few minutes later.

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"Morocco, that way -->" 2014-10-26 11.56.52