Location: Marrakech, Morocco
Everyone woke up with excitement about the day ahead as expected. The crew on Argo boarded buses at 9:00 for the 3-hour road-trip to Marrakech. The 3 hours went by fast as our group isn’t familiar with quietness, so interesting conversations weren’t scarce by any means. We arrived in Marrakech and were greeted by our tour guide, who immediately took us on a tour of the Bahia Palace, which was built in 1880. The architecture was amazing and true to the Islamic culture. The intrinsic engraving work on the walls, the complex patterns, and vibrant colors was mind-blowing, almost overwhelming to us westerners who might be used to stucco walls and concrete pillars. After the tour and overload of historical information, the group enjoyed a plush Moroccan lunch to decompress and process what we had just observed. Everyone enjoyed Tajine (Moroccan dish of either chicken/beef with vegetables, similar to a crockpot), the a la mente (delicious mint tea), and other side dishes. From lunch, we walked through the main Medina, which is the cities biggest market. Shops and products were lined in any available space selling a range of things like clothing and jewelry to exotic animals, including songbirds, chipmunks, and falcons. I’m pretty confident that whatever you wanted to buy, you could probably find a way in Marrakech. Free time followed the tour, which ended in the massive square of the Medina, where snake charmers, henna tattoo artists, and storytellers gathered. People broke up into smaller groups, some went to find food and try more of the local cuisine, others to explore, and some to get their fix of shopping. At seven, we met at the buses and curiosity, and maybe a little anxiety, ran rampant about the sleeping arrangements and campsite, for all we knew at the time, we were driving into the mountains of Africa and were going to pitch some tents in the dirt. That didn’t turn out to be the case. “Camping” was epic.