The Romans and the Saints

Trip Start Nov 29, 2009
Trip End Dec 20, 2009

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

6 Dec - Moulay Idris

            The first stop of the day was the fascinating Volubilis! This was a Roman Ruin that flourished during 45 A.D. and was the capital of the Roman province of Mauritania Tingitana.  Coming from such a baby country such as the United States, it was amazing to see something so old!  At the beginning there were guides who spoke nearly any language waiting for people to hire them, but we came armed with our guidebooks.  Two of the professors on the trip gave a little talk before heading over, but we could see it in the distance and we just wanted to go and play!  There were columns, arches, mosaics… everything you would have imagined it to be!  My only wish is that I wore a hat, even though it was December it got warm!

            Next stop was the pilgrimage town of Moulay Idris.  Moulay loosely translates to our definition of saint.  We went to the entrance that had a big sign forbidding non Muslims to pass, so in order to get a view of the mosque we had to go up the mountain the city rested upon.  On the way up we saw many children who greeted us with "Bonjour!" the French greeting for hello.  Donkeys also filled the streets, understandably so because I wouldn't want to bring goods up this hill!  We passed a beautiful minaret of the Sentissi Mosque which was round and Persian inspired.  All the other minarets I saw in Morocco were Square.

            On top of the mountain the view was breathtaking.  The city filled up one mountain and a valley swooped down below into a forest covered mountain right next to it.  We sat up there for awhile, a man tried to sell us cookies with baracka, and a couple people gave presentations.  If I didn’t get to wear the awesome Berber hat during my presentation, I would have been a little jealous!  I really liked being in this town because it offered something a little different.  It was extremely touristy, but it was a town designed for Muslim pilgrims from throughout Morocco.  Still, as everywhere, everyone selling me something could tell me their asking price in English.

            On the way to Fes we stopped at a lake.  It had this manmade feeling to it, but who knows how things work there.  People did some yoga poses and we bought pomegranates from one of the stands.  Oh how I wish they didn’t cost an arm and a leg in Chicago!  We made it to Fes, checked in, at Pizza, and played some 'Never have I ever’ with the group.  Some people wanted to go out, so we went searching.  We found out the place Brittany recommended was closed so Griffin asked someone at a store.  He knew a place, so we decided to follow him.  Andre asked in Spanish if there were prostitutes there and he said no.  I am pretty sure we were the only women there who weren’t prostitutes.  Oh Morocco!
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