Here's Looking At You, Kid
Land of iconic movies (hello Casablanca), impossible contradictions (snow capped mountains to endless sand dunes to wide beaches) and blended cultures (signs are almost all written in both Arabic and French and most people speak both). Morocco was both a trip to my roots (my maternal grandfather grew up in Casa) and the trip of a lifetime (I can now say I've visited 6/6 of the inhabited continents). We found the house where he most likely grew up in and watched the sun rise over the dunes of the Sahara.
After landing in Casablanca, all five of us strapped in for a two week road trip around the country, Along the way, we checked out old imperial capitals, fantastic natural sites and more leisurely vacation spots. We went from palm trees, to snow-covered mountains and snow monkeys, to Christmas in the desert with camels like a real Nativity scene, to lush oases, ringing in the new year in a small seaside town and galloping the beach. We slept in traditional riads, in tents under the stars, in caves, in UNESCO villages without electricity and a former 19th c. church. We ate fluffy cous-cous, sugar-coated pastillas, sticky honey and almond paste cookies, drank our weight in fresh-squeezed orange juice and always went for a second (or third) glass of "Berber whiskey" (Moroccan mint tea served with lots of sugar in ornamental little glasses).
Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert, Ourzazate
All photos by Alexia Bacigalupi, via @alexia.baci