Culture

Pena National Palace

High atop the tallest hill in the Sintra Mountains sits the storybook Pena National Palace. It’s an amazing sight to behold. What used to be the remains of a defunct, simple Hieronymite (followers of Saint Jerome) monastery was severely damaged in the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 and left in disrepair until it was renovated into an elaborately decorated royal palace by…

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Reason 513 Why I Love Morocco, especially after being abroad: There is a camaraderie, a genuine friendliness among people, even toward strangers. Just asking a question at the airport in broken Arabic gets a warm smile and friendly touch on the shoulder.

Morocco’s Southern Coast

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Reason 1,242 Why I Love Morocco:

The Marrakech medina is actually just many little medinas within one enclosure

Most neighborhoods, whether in a big city or small town, still adhere to a medina mentality, meaning most daily needs are within only a few blocks. Each small area typically has a butcher, a green grocer, a dry cleaner, a hammam, a baker (or community oven), a barber/hairdresser, at least four cafés, a pharmacy, hardware store, tailor, a dry goods shop, and endless small convenience stores. What’s not in a shop, is usually at a nomadic stand that shows up every morning. Often, there are also shops for clothing and shoes, doctors’ offices, gyms, and small restaurants.

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Reason 318 Why I Love Morocco: Many people I meet for the first time while walking around insist I stay with them next time I’m in town.

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Reason 1,843 Why I Love Morocco: No matter what you need, there’s always a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy.

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Reason 317 Why I Love Morocco: Sometimes, when people in larger, northern cities find out you work in the south, where their families are, they call in favors and get you a 30% price reduction on new eyeglasses.

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Reason 248 Why I Love Morocco: Sometimes, when you show up early for the bus, the bus drivers take you to breakfast.

Comfort

Desert Qanats