A Mountain Drive

Sometimes, it’s nice to just get in a car and take a mountain drive. There’s nothing like the freedom to explore an area at one’s own pace, stopping at scenic viewpoints, lunching at an out of the way café, eating pomegranates while watching the sunset, or hanging out with shepherds watering their sheep. Unfortunately, Peace Corps has very strict rules prohibiting volunteers operating motor vehicles. So, what’s … Continue reading A Mountain Drive

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Ksar El Kebir

In Northern Morocco, within the peninsula that juts north toward Spain, is a small city called Ksar el Kebir, Arabic (القصر الكبير) for “large fortress.” It is located among the rolling hills that lie before foothills of the Rif Mountains. Being inland, away from the sea, the city does not experience the same tourist traffic as nearby Larache or Asilah. Being in the plains and … Continue reading Ksar El Kebir

Gibraltar Is an Odd Place

Gibraltar is an odd place. It’s tiny and most of the space is taken up by a massive rock in the middle of the peninsula, namely the Rock of Gibraltar. “The name Gibraltar is the Spanish derivation of the Arabic name Jabal Ṭāriq (جبل طارق), meaning “Mountain of Tariq” (Wikipedia). It’s a British Overseas Territory, similar to Grand Cayman island in the Caribbean, and like … Continue reading Gibraltar Is an Odd Place

The End of the World

We recently traveled to the end of the world, or at least that’s what it might have felt like 500 years ago, and truth be told it felt a bit like that. Our recent travels in Portugal took us to Sagres, the most southeastern point in Europe and, strangely enough, the title of a song by The Tallest Man on Earth. The peninsula is historically strategic … Continue reading The End of the World

Monkeys!

As perhaps not everyone knows, there are monkeys in Europe. They live within the tiny enclave known as Gibraltar, a peninsular Overseas British Territory abutting with the southernmost point of Spain. It forms one half of the Straights of Gibraltar, or alternatively, one of the “Pillars of Hercules” with the other being on the opposite side of the straight in Morocco, near Tangier. Yesterday, Erika and … Continue reading Monkeys!

Llançà

Our first stop in Spain after a long travel day from Morocco, was the home of our dear friend Candace, Llançà. It’s a small, quiet village near the border of France along the Mediterranean coast. Idyllic? Absolutely! And, she was kind enough to not only host us, but drive us around the beautiful Costa Brava region. Below are images of both Llançà and the general Costa Brava … Continue reading Llançà

Taghouchte

The other day, we went for a lovely drive into the foothills of the lesser Atlas Mountains with our friend Khadija and her brother Said to acquire special water from a spring near a wonderful little village called Taghouchte (tah-ghroosht) that is nestled into an even lovelier oasis next to the mountains. I suppose there are innumerable places similarly wonderful within Morocco, but unique to this … Continue reading Taghouchte

Tizi n’Tichka Pass

I’d heard the rumors about Tizi n’Tichka Pass. I’d heard the warnings. I thought to myself, “I live in Washington State where mountains and mountain passes abound, why should I worry?” But, as the bus left the station and the driver’s assistant, called a grissor in these parts, began handing out vomit bags, I began to worry. Even Google Maps seems to suggest, “Hey, are … Continue reading Tizi n’Tichka Pass

Todgha Gorge

Near the oasis town of Tinghir is Todgha Gorge, both pronounced the “gh” with a slight growl similar to “gr.” It is a narrow passageway made through solid rock over thousands of years. We made a day trip there a few weeks back to explore the area and to experience some naturally occurring water. Sometimes, it’s hard being in such a dry area. We come … Continue reading Todgha Gorge

Chellah

Within Rabat, the capital of Morocco, are the remains of an ancient city called Chellah. Originally Phoenician and Carthaginian, then Roman, then Muslim, the ruins are fairly well-preserved. Eventually, the site became a cemetery, or necropolis, as the Muslims favored nearby Salé. The site also contains a lovely botanical garden and has become a favored site for local storks to make their nests. Below are … Continue reading Chellah