Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Cold Land with a Hot sun

As we sit in the Medina of Fes, there were a few things from Spain that we didn't have a chance to update you with; so here's a quick flashback:

We took a day trip south to the beach town of Sitges. A great escape it turned out to be to get away from Barcelona. As the sun came out, the ocean turned blue and we kicked off our shoes to chill in the sand. What started as a cool day, ended with us sitting in the warm Mediterranean sun sipping on Sangria...or at least Kate was.

Kate enjoys the view in Sitges
Personally, I still counldn't think about a beverage after the Czech incident!! But after a little convincing, a large beer ended up at my seat. SUPLISE!!!!!
A little later in the night, back in the City, I realized we may be missing out on one of the wildest construction spectacles in a long time: The Sagrada Familia. If you don't know about it, here's a quick rundown: It started being built in 1889 and it won't be completed for another 25 years! What a sight it was!!! Maybe we'll go back when it's done.

Gaudi Church in Barcelona

Off to Morocco we go.

A great British couple we met at the Riad Amira told us of a saying about this Country: It's a cold land with a hot sun, in the winter months. Couldn't have said it better any other way! Marrakech gets quite warm, as opposed to Fes, which has been comfortable.
Marrakech is a historic city; not doubt. It was surprisingly touristy with the locals associating tourists with $$$$$. Kind of unfortunate as you cannot make eye contact without being asked to buy their stuff, but I mentioned that earlier. Other than that and the really bad air quality, the city is wonderful!!

CocaCola in Arabic

Main square in the Marrakech Medina
We love the food here, safron, cumin, citrus, all blend together so well. The Souks in the medina have some great products, so the mind was busy taking it all in.
Our Riad was started by a young couple from Spain who have a nice thing going, so it made for a great place to escape the city every now and then. The rooftop is very chill, and gave a nice view of the Atlas mountains, a mosque, and the fighter jet demos in the far distance.


It was bound to happen: a less than pleasant travel day; but I don't think quite up to par with PJ & Blut's in South America. A 7 hour train ride from Marrakech to Fes turned into 10 with no AC on the first day of a weeklong holiday for Moroccan residents. It was like a sardine can; packed, hot, and no airflow. Fortunately, our compartent had younger travelers so it made for good company. We are sure it'll happen again.
The city of Fes actually reminds us of Golden/Boulder/Denver! Foothills on either side with a large city in the valley.

Above Fes
Our Riad strange at first, but it is turning out to be one of the best places we have stayed.

Riad Ghida bedroom
The staff at the Ghida is very accomodating and they make a heckuva Tajine Chicken. Recommended to us by some of the kindest Aussies staying in the same place, we decided to use a guide to show us around Fes. (SEE YOU IN APRIL!!) Fes is LARGE, and its historic Medina district is confusing compared to Marrakech's and the vendors haggle even more. We thought it would be a good place to try one. Rashid looked like a Moroccan version of Danny DeVito! GREAT! Since he has a car, we were able to cover a lot of ground and he brought us to some spots that otherwise we probably wouldn't know about. Some highlights were The Jewish cemetary, hilltop city views, Tannery (but strange at the same time), and the ceramic tile/pottery factory. It was money well spent.

Mosque in the Medina


Also, what would we do without the internet? In countries where they wash clothes by hand and hang dry, a lot of locals appear to use these caf├Ęs as a way to call friends and family with Skype!! And they're everywhere!! So, if you have Skype, let us know and keep it signed on...you never know if you might get a call.

We love hearing from everyone, so speak to you all soon. Enjoy the new photo galleries on the right.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Africa

Kate and I have made it to Marrakech, Morocco. Our first stop in Africa. This city is quite the spectacle to say the least...pictures will not do it justice. Typing on an Arabic designed keyboard is tricky, so this will be quick, but fortunately an hour of internet is 7DH, or just under 1USD
There are plenty of tourist trap spots, but also plenty of similar looking spots to check out the locals who don't hassle as much. Maybe hassle isn' the right word, but more offer their services or products.
The women dressed from head to toe with little more than their eyes visible is somewhat intimidating especially at night, just because it is so different from our normal clothing choices. But the people here are very friendly and crossing the streets is very exciting!!



Here we are doing the snake thing, because, why not!! Kate loves them

Off to Fes in a couple of days...catch up later

Monday, January 21, 2008

Futbol y Football

It´s been a few days into our trip and already we are ready to come back to the states.
NOT!
Barcelona is a very nice city; full of nifty allies, classic Euro architecture, and a lot of people. We think it is busier than Manhattan...except on Sundays when just about everything is closed.

We were walking through one of the mort popular streets the first day there, and I popped my head into a doorway of a store and was shocked to see what reminded me of a hilarious scene from Bittersweet Motel; Kate too. Some of you will know what this is from, others, don´t worry bout it.

Since everything was closed, we had to wait until dark to have our fun. The best part about this Sunday was that Kate and I were able to go to a FC Barcelona futbol match and then cruise on over to a local Irish pub to watch the Giants-Packers game. The stadium, Camp Nou, is huge; about 100k, and they love their futbol. After the game at the pub O´Hara´s we met up with some guys who were also at the futbol game. Note to self and others: folks from the Czech Republic can drink a lot. I am not sure if they really made it out skiing today, but I know it wouldn´t have been pretty.
Unfortunately, the pub closed at 2:30am so we didn´t get to watch the 2nd half, but that´s alright. Let´s just say Kate was able to plan a few things for the next couple of stops of our trip today.
Tomorrow, we are off to Sitges, a nice beach town south of the city.


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GO GIANTS!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mapped Out


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