This weekend students traveled to Marrakech and Ourika for their longer excursion of the program. While the program is drawing to a close end, students were excited to visit such a cultural and historical place. Marrakech is known as the Red City for the color of its architecture. Marrakech was previously a capital of Morocco and during that time a lot of their historical sites were built. The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh words amur n kush, which means "Land of God".
Upon arriving to Marrakech students had dinner at the Djemaa El-Fna, the largest square in Africa. Students at the restaurant took in the views of the square which is chaotically beautiful along with the views of the surrounding High Atlas Mountains. Dinner consisted of traditional Moroccan food: an array of tagines, couscous, pastilla, and salads at a restaurant overlooking the Djemaa El-Fna square. After dinner students had free time to explore the square before returning to the hotel.
To start off their second day in Marrakech students had a guided tour of the city where they visited: El Bahia Palace and the Saadian Tombs. El Bahia Palace is lavish and ornate full of Moroccan tile throughout the palace with endless gardens and the students were mesmerized by every detail.
The Saadian Tombs were only recently discovered in the beginning of the 20th century. The tombs since they were only recently discovered they are very well preserved to what they were under the rule of the Saadian dynasty.
Once students were done with their guided tour, we departed to Ourika but on the way stopped for a camel ride. Students had the chance of getting traditional Saharan outfits for their camel ride. While on the scenic drive to Ourika, an Amazigh village 45 minutes outside of Marrakech. Once students arrived to Ourika, they had a traditional Moroccan lunch with Marrakech tea, which is a little stronger than the standard Moroccan tea.
After lunch most students hiked up and through the Amazigh village and saw gorgeous views of the High Atlas Mountains. The hike was tiring but a highlight of many of the student’s experience. After spending some time at the restaurant and resting we hit the road again back to Marrakech where students had free time and dinner.
The following day was the students last morning in Marrakech where they did their last-minute shopping. After lunch students departed to Rabat and it was bittersweet for them but they created memories they’ll always carry with them.
Your Program Leader,