Author: Bridget McWaid
After a long nine-hour drive though the night, on a warm and crammed bus, all seventeen of us arrived safe and sound to Merzouga. I think it is safe to say that we all would go on that bus ride many a time again to experience our time in the Sahara desert. After arriving to Merzouga at 8AM, we all stuffed our faces with warm bread, fresh honey, berry jam, and steaming sweet mint tea. Following our much-needed breakfast, we took to slumber to rest a few hours before our journey into the desert.
When our allotted rest time was over we all packed up and made our way to meet our fellow camel friends. As soon as the camels were in eyesight, I could feel the excitement all around. Into the desert we rode, though the golden sand and under the bright blue sky. We ended our ride at a luxurious campsite where we dismounted our camels and walked up the nearest dune to watch the picturesque sunset drinking our complementary mint tea. That evening we enjoyed a scrumptious tajine with bread followed by a grand fruit platter. When the sky turned black, the shining stars and Milky Way galaxy were nothing less than magical. I can honestly say that night is my most memorable experience and will be one of my best memories to look back on.
The nest day we traveled to Ourarzazate where we spent the night and then continued on our road trip early the next morning to Todra Gorge; a narrow valley between hills or mountains, with steep rocky walls and a stream running through it. We pulled our van over to the side of the road for a break and liberated our stiff backs with a walk in the cold, refreshing stream. To look up at the parting mountains, bright blue sky, and cotton candy clouds, while walking in the crystal-clear stream was remarkable.
We piled back into the van and continued on to Marrakesh where we spent the night in a hostel in the center of the medina. Although I nearly got drastically lost, the medina was a beautiful intertwinement of roads brimming full with all five senses: bright colors, salivating smells, loud noises, smooth leather, and delicious cactus fruit. Following Marrakesh, the CIEE clan continued on our home stretch back home to Rabat.
From Merzouga, to Ouarzazate, to Todra Gorge, and finally to Marrakesh, the weekend was whirlwind of insanely groovy experiences. I will never forget this weekend and I will forever be thankful for this beautiful adventure.