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Weekend Trip to Africa

We came for the adventure; we stayed for couscous.

This April, a group of CEA students and staff traveled down the continent and across the border into Africa to visit Morocco. With only four days to traverse the country, our schedule was packed, and every minute was spent actively exploring the foreign land. From Friday to Sunday, we saw a total of five cities; Tangier, Chefchaouen, Meknes, Fes, and Asilah.

Beginning at 5am on Friday morning, the CEA buses departed from Seville and made for Punta de Tarifa, Spain’s southern most point. From Tarifa, we were loaded onto a ferryboat and spent a rocky two hours heading towards Africa, riding the Atlantic-Mediterranean border.

 Chefchaouen pores over the mountain side.

Once we entered Morocco, we made our way to Chefchaouen, often referred to as the “Blue City.” The medina, the oldest part of the city, is comprised by architecture painted only in shades of indigo. Many religious and historical theories try to explain why the city is completely blue, though many say it is simply because blue is easy on the eyes.
 Stray cats in Chefchaouen, Morocco
 
 CEA Students Gather in Chefchaouen

Heading down the continent even further, we arrived in Fes. This Moroccan city is made of winding alleyways and hidden streets, packed with merchants of every kind. Most commonly, the people of Fes sell scarves and leather. Here, a vendor is demonstrating to CEA students how they use the traditional machines to weave scarves.
 The Business of Weaving in Fes

Leather has a huge market in Fes due to the famous tannery within the city. Though visitors can view the process from above, onlookers can only watch for a few minutes and only with fresh mint leaves held beneath the nose, to mask the overwhelming smell of carcass.
 The Famous Fes Tanneries

Our group stayed overnight in Meknes, a smaller city in Morocco. Here, we toured the Mosque and other historical landmarks within the Medina of Meknes.
 CEA students visit the Meknes Mosque

In the center of town, many street performers, artists, and vendors filled the main square and surrounding markets.
 Meknes Markets

Here, students indulged in Moroccan traditions, such as henna. We also as participated in touristic traditions, like photographs with live animals and watching snake charmers.
 Monkey Pose in Meknes
 
 Henna Hands in Fes, Morocco

For our last stop in Morocco, we explored the town of Asilah, situated on the coast of Morocco along the Northern Atlantic Ocean. Asilah is known for its artisanship and murals covering the city streets.
 Murals in Asilah

Here, CEA students rode camels, ate honey-dripping desserts, and swam in the ocean.
 CEA Students ride camels in Asilah, Morocco

Though our time was short in Morocco, we all came back with our skin covered in henna, baklava in our backpacks, tapestries in our luggage, and the desire to one day return.
 Final Destination: Asilah, Morocco

Abigail Kirn is the Spring 2015 MOJO in Seville, Spain. She is currently a junior at the University of Michigan

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