Thanksgiving in Morocco

Community Highlights Africa & The Middle East Thanksgiving in Morocco

This blog is a bit different. I received one of those traveling toys (a stuffed dog named Leo) that elementary school classes do once in a while to teach kids about the world. So we took Leo with us on our Thanksgiving trip to Morocco where we met up with Kayla and Greg. Instead of writing a new blog about it I pasted the letter that I wrote to the students below. Hope you enjoy.

Hi Friends,

Leo here, reporting on my newest adventure. It has been quite the whirlwind. I landed in Southern, Spain only to be packed up into a car to take a ferry to Africa. The ferry left from Algeciras, Spain and arrived in Tangier Mediterranean, Morocco only 90 minutes later. It took longer to load up the ferry than to get across the Straight of Gibraltar. It was a huge ferry filled with trucks and very few passengers. If you look closely behind me, you can see the Rock of Gibraltar.

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Once we landed in Tangier Med, we drove in the car down to a town nestled in the Rif mountain range called Chefchaouen. Most of the old town is painted blue. They call this part of the town and everything within the old walls, the Medina. Inside of the Medina are little winding shopping streets called Souks. The history behind the blue walls varies depending on what you read but it is fairly well agreed upon that the town was originally mostly white and when Jewish refugees moved in after WWII they painted their buildings blue to connect with the sky and God. After time, more people chose to paint buildings blue and now the whole town is blue even though most of the Jewish residents have left. The country of Morocco is 99% Muslim and you can hear the call to prayer 5x per day. People go to pray in the mosques that are scattered about the city. I included a video so you can hear part of the call.

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In one of the pictures in the Medina you can see me in front of a whole wall of chips! These were very popular little stores with the kids in town. Kids are allowed to play and run outside on the windy streets and up and down the stairs. They fly around so fast, I could hardly keep up. There are no cars inside the Medina so it is very safe for kids to play.

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We also took a hike to Akchour and went to the devil's bridge. It is a natural bridge and you can see it waaaaaay above my head in the background of one of the pictures. While we were hiking we also saw MONKEYS. They were eating berries and swinging in the trees. In this same canyon, it is popular to have tagine and bread prepared by the river. You can see a traditional bread oven (the rounded cave looking oven) and a traditional tagine pot (cone shaped) in a couple of the pictures.

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I took a cooking class and learned how to make chicken tagine and other vegetable dishes with eggplant, peppers, and sweet potatoes. I also got to drink mint tea. They pour it from way up high to help bring out the flavor of the mint leaves.

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One day we had an American breakfast on the top of a building with a beautiful view and delicious large_20231124_094109.jpglarge_20231124_094100.jpg

I also saw a high school where students attend school either in the morning or afternoon. You can see the long two story building behind me. Students in public school attend for 1/2 days and private school is longer.

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At night we took a walk up to the Spanish Mosque and watched the sunset over the city. It was beautiful and you can see the city lights in one of my pictures.

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On the way back to the ferry we stopped for one night in Tetouan. We stayed in a Riad which is a special kind of hotel that is an old big house with a central courtyard. People can stay in these old houses and experience what it was like to live in a traditional Moroccan building. This city is mostly white and has some red. It has an older section called the Casbah which is filled with shops and artisans. You can find people making everything you can think of here, musical instruments, furniture, rugs, furs, and much more. You can see me with a loom which is used to make fabrics. I wanted to buy something but it would have made my travels more difficult.

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We went home the same way we came, on the ferry. It was a great trip. I am going to stay an extra weekend with this same family so that I can see some of Spain. So, I will write to you again soon with updates on my Spanish travels. After that, off to Germany.

Sorry for the long delay, it took me 2 solid weeks to get from California to Spain. What a trip!

Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday. I didn't get any Turkey this year but I did get some Pastilla (pastry dough filled with chicken and dried fruits) which was delicious!

Sincerely,
Leo

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Posted Mon, Feb 12, 2024 | Comments