Exploring Chellah - Rabat, Morocco
One thing that you might not know about me is that I'm a huge Latin and ancient Roman fanatic. I geek out when I have the chance to talk about, read, or explore anything to do with the cultures of antiquity. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to discover that our next stop in Rabat was actually once an ancient Roman city of the Mauretania Tingitana Province! I promise not to bore you to death, but this was a pretty powerful span of territory up until the 7th century.
Anyways, enough with the history lesson! We woke up to our fresh breakfast at the hotel...
Then we began our journey to Chellah! Here are some photos of the beautiful sites we passed along the way.
We walked through the fortress walls and were greeted with this scenic sight.
These huge birds now call the ruins of Chellah their home. They have built freakishly large nests on just about every tall, flat surface.
Lauren spotted some eels and turtles living in this little pond.
FYI I bought these pants the day earlier in the Souk for the equivalent of 3 US dollars from a Moroccan thrift shop!
We're so lucky to be able to enjoy the little bit of beautiful architecture that has survived here over the centuries.
Chellah was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2012. Because of its out of the way location in a relatively poor and unpopular tourism region, visitors are free to roam the grounds and touch the walls. There is not much restriction in place here, which is both great for that hands on experience, but also a shame because then the ruins will disappear faster under human touch.
Finally, I found a language in Morocco that I can understand!!
This site was absolutely stunning! We all enjoyed it immensely, despite the intense African heat and sun beating down on us.
Later on in the day, we headed back into the Medina to regroup. We decided on making our way down to the beach to see what the coast is like on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, we chartered a short boat ride on the Bou Regreg River, which discharges into the Atlantic.
Just throwing this equation out there: humid climate + limited baggage space for hair products = curly hair chaos!
I really love this shot and the way the sun broke through the clouds to reflect off the clay and cement homes. The colors in Morocco are overwhelming in the best possible way!
It seems that on Sunday evenings most of the locals in the area make their way to the beach as well!
For the most part the Rabat beach is just like any other you'll find. The one major exception is that the women still have to remain modestly dressed.
A "football" field was drawn in the sand...
By this point of the trip, I had gotten used to the staring. Not many blonde, western tourists come to visit Morocco (BUT THEY SHOULD!), so I cannot blame local Moroccans for at least being curious. One of the best parts of traveling is discovering new cultures and lifestyles. If only people would open their eyes with respect to the rest of the world then we could become more accepting and understanding.
I do have to admit that before going to Morocco, I was biased. I was nervous to travel to a Muslim country because of the media, and I was solely focused on our safety as American women traveling alone. However I cannot emphasize enough how kind, welcoming, and generous the people of Morocco are! Despite a butt grab, cat calls, and lots of staring, I never felt in danger. One of my friends said it best by telling me, "I don't feel any less safe here than being on the streets of New York at night." I am encouraging everyone to visit Morocco! The three of us were welcomed to this beautiful country with open arms. I will never forget my memories from this visit, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to go.
This is my final Morocco post. Sorry it was so long - there was just so much to share with y'all! Next time, I'll be blogging about our time in Spain!