This weekend the Semester at Sea study abroad program docked in Casablanca, Morocco.¬† Below are just ten of the many adventures participants have experienced thus far.
- Touring the Hassan II mosque in our port city.¬† The third-largest in the world, it boasts remarkable craftsmanship in every detail and a picturesque location on the coast.
- Seeing the Roman ruins at Volubilis.¬† Dating back to 17 B.C., participants discussed how with Semester at Sea, they are not only traveling many miles, but traveled back 2,000 years as well.
- Following our guides through Casablanca‚Äôs Habous district – passing city hall, the royal family‚Äôs palace and the souk – only to end up in an incredible olive market tucked into a small courtyard.
- Visiting the Majorelle botanical gardens in Marrakesh and gaining a welcome reprieve from the 97-degree temperatures of the city.
- Enjoying the Medina just outside the gates to our port.¬† A good place to practice one‚Äôs bargaining skills, it also provides a unique look at how the city was oriented during its time under foreign control.¬† The original walls built to section off the local population now encircle one of their liveliest cultural centers.
- Savoring traditional Moroccan meals and learning the etiquette of meal-sharing in our host country.¬† (Use your right hand, and ONLY your right hand when taking food from a communal dish.)
- Marveling at the intricate decor and attention to detail in every aspect of Moroccan architecture.¬† Carved stucco, painted cedar ceilings and mosaic tile can be found on every type of building.
- Spending an afternoon with the storytellers, snake charmers and acrobats in the Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakesh, one of only two squares in the world which UNESCO has named a World Heritage Site.
- Venturing out to the High Atlas Mountains and staying in Berber villages to appreciate the stunning landscape and learn about the local culture.
- Realizing that we can give directions to the mosque, know exactly how much we should be paying for the cab ride to the Corniche, and say ‚ÄúAs Salam o Alaikum‚Äù with only the slightest accent.
Morocco has been wonderful, and we will disembark tonight with deep appreciation for the hospitality we have been shown and the adventures we have had.