Day 7: Meknès, Volibulous

After another great breakfast in the morning, we took a roundabout way to Tanger. Our first stop was in Meknès. We drove around a little, then I think we went to see the stables of Heri es-Souani. It supposedly held 12,000 horses and had an underfloor, water cooling system.

We went into a place that had an interesting graveyard. I was surprised with the raised graves covered in tile. I was also confused because not all the graves were facing the same way and I thought people were always buried in the direction of Mecca.

Next we went to Volubilis. I had no idea that there is this incredible Roman ruins in the middle of Morocco. Out among the rolling, green hills stands the remains of an entire city. Beautiful floor mosaics unprotected from the elements. Stone walls to climb on. Remnants of olive presses and baths baking in the afternoon sun. Evidence of complex water and sewage systems. Enormous archways and columns standing tall after so many centuries. And we climbed all over it. And stood behind the podiums of the courthouse. It was fantastic. All those things we talked about in four years of Latin classes come to life. It was a great addition to seeing the Colosseum and Pantheon in Rome in October.

I loved the countryside of Morocco. The rolling farmlands, the cows blocking the road. The sheep and goats eating under the watchful eye of their shepherd. I’ve never been much of a city girl and it was obvious from what I liked best.

The too small back roads with all their animal, bicycle and motorcycle traffic were just as stressful to navigate as the city streets. I was actually grateful when we got to the highway again. But soon enough we were back in crazy city traffic and Tour Guide was lighting up a cigarette to calm his nerves. I won’t miss the smoking.

We found Hôtel Rembrandt and ditched the car in a parking garage. Not my favorite hotel of the trip, mainly because I had a hard time getting the Internet to work. I barely got on long enough to confirm with Andalindsia that I would be getting on the ferry tomorrow and when to meet.

We went out in search for dinner. Always late. We wandered around, then decided a view of the ocean would be good. We sat down at a table by the window on the second floor of a restaurant by the beach. But the view of black water wasn’t that great and no waiters had been by, so we left.

I checked The Book. The Lonely Planet Guide had been fairly accurate in their descriptions of places and history and culture. Tour Guide was always amused when I’d read him stories from The Book that were exactly like the story he had just told me. Especially the stories of unsuspecting tourists and the drug trade in Tanger. The Book also told me not to walk down by the beach at night, but I felt fairly safe with Tour Guide.

The Book suggested Number One. It was described as being a pink renovated apartment. They weren’t kidding. And it was right across from the hotel. We’d had a lovely evening stroll for some good exercise before my last dinner in Morocco.

Dinner was home-cooked French/Italian. Not particularly spicy, just comfort food. We had a great bottle of French wine though. I’d asked the owner for a recommendation and he didn’t steer me wrong.

We adjourned to the Blue Room of our hotel, decorated with deep purple, velvet couches. There we had a small bottle of the Saharan wine. Still a decent wine. We talked about how could I possibly be single. This seems to be a common question people have. The basic answer is that my life is awesome. I am strong and independent and don’t need someone to take the garbage out for me. So I’m looking for that person I want to confide my secrets in and bare my soul to. I just haven’t found that person yet. Some day.

Another late night, but that is what vacation is for, right?


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