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  • A. Denise Beltré

Morocco: An Accidental Journey

At 25 I was living in Spain’s Valencia, enjoying the seaside region’s delights. I worked in a University as a bilingual administrative assistant, ESL tutor, and Spanish teacher. It was a wonderful time in my life between University studies.

One day, I bumped into one of the Spanish Professors, and we began to chat about Spring Break. He asked what my plans were. I told him that my bestie and I were planning on going to Southern Spain to discover more of the area as we’d only been to Sevilla and Granada. “So you’ll be in Andalucia? Well you should join us in Morocco!” We would meet the Professor and his group of 30 students at their hotel in Algeciras, a popular entry point to Tangiers. We would take a ferry across the Straight of Gibraltar, and into Morocco. The University would kindly pay for our accommodation, food, ferry tickets to and from Morocco, and all excursions. Happily stunned I accepted.

A couple of months later, we were heading out with a group of Spanish students to a 7 AM ferry in Algeciras. As we crossed the Straight of Gibraltar, I felt the excitement growing. This would be my first time on the African Continent! We arrived around 8 AM, and a group of men selling their various wares waited for us on the pier. We spent the day touring the city, walking through the spice market, visiting an essential oil shop, and of course bargaining in the Medina.

Everything was new! The bright colors of beautiful traditional robes hung side by side to attract the eye. Amazing spices such as Saffron and Turmeric were piled high in lovely mounds and shapes. The bustle of the people bargaining for lower prices, and the curious looks of the locals as we passed by them speaking Spanish.

The highlight of the day was a meal in a Riad. The tortoise shell walls, wood-beamed ceilings, and traditional band playing as we sampled course after course of delicious Moroccan food created a beautiful atmosphere for us to enjoy.

Morocco stole my heart during that first trip. Of course I returned! But that—that is another story!

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