Goodbye Spain!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

I left Spain this afternoon, and I really miss this place already, especially Barcelona.

I've told some people that I'm going to Barcelona, and some of them discouraged me because of pickpocketing, women wearing skimpy clothes, machos, etc...but really, I totally fell in love. Of course you have to be careful as you would be anywhere in the world, but never be fearful! It's such a colorful place, people are nice and know how to have a good time. It's definitely a place that I can picture myself living in.

I felt so happy for the first time in a while!

Madrid in pictures

Monday, 5 October 2015

Madrid is a nice place, but I feel it has less character than Barcelona, which is still one of my favorite cities in the world. Madrid is a safe place, and not much happened here.

I met an Italian guy here and visited the city with him...but he tried to hit on me in the end, which pissed me off. I gave him a weird look and stopped talking to him. Also, my British friend that was supposed to meet me in Paris isn't going to come anymore because his girlfriend raised concerns. I was never attracted to him, and just missed him as a friend...Sometimes, I feel like I don't deserve to have any male friends. Anyways, fuck them all.

Here are some pictures of Madrid...

Barcelona, day 3

Thursday, 1 October 2015

On my third day in Barcelona, I visited the Gothic Quarter, which is full of medieval alleyways. It shows the real Spanish heritage. I also spent some time at the port, then Las reminds me of the old port in Montreal, except that it's a lot more crowded, bigger, more beautiful here. It's nice to join the crowds and delight in the architectural beauty along the wide walkway. There is so much to see and I feel like I haven't spent enough time here!

That concludes the touristy stuff I've done in Barcelona.  I didn't do much on the last 2 days because I spent it with someone that I thought was really amazing. I will write about it later :)

Barcelona, day 1-2

Monday, 28 September 2015

I arrived in Barcelona yesterday.

So far, I've visited Sagrada Familia, the unfinished church, and Park Guell, the place everyone goes to when they are in Barcelona. Both places are overcrowded; I've never been around so many tourists in my life, except in the forbidden city of Beijing! And everybody has a selfie stick!

Here are some pictures:


Friday, 25 September 2015

I've been in Marrakech for a few days now.

It's probably my second favorite city in Morocco. There is part of it that is almost like any big modern cities, but part of it that is very Moroccan. My favorite part of the city is probably joining the crowd at the main square where there are tons of food stalls, shopping, drummers, dancers, monkey acrobats, snake charmers, fortune tellers, jugglers, old medicine men, etc.

It's actually my last day in Morocco today. On my first day here, I walked passed a coffee place with only men sitting outside facing the was intimidating. As a woman, I wondered if I was allowed to go in. If you do go in, men will stare at you as if you've done something wrong. It's still a men's world here...but I've met Rachida, a very independent woman...she taught me a lot about Moroccan culture. There are women who push and fight, women who drive cars, women in parliament, polygamous marriages are almost completely abolished and you're actually allowed to wear short shorts and spaghetti straps in bigger cities (unlike other middle eastern countries). A few years ago, women only went outside twice in their lifetime; on her wedding and on the day she dies. Now, if a man tells a woman to go back home, other women will stand up for her and tell the man to mind his own business.

A lot of things we have in western countries is taken for granted, but we have to remember it's because there were women who fought for us to have those rights. It's such a young country...the older ones resists changes, but try to tell a younger one how it's done and he does exactly the opposite. It's a fascinating country here, and you feel the evolution when you're travelling from the country side to the bigger cities. It was a great lesson.

To be honest, the hot weather really isn't for me, and I've been sick the past few days...but I will miss desert, the medinas, the mountains and the people!


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

I'm in Essaouira!

My worst nightmare just came true; I found a centipede crawling on my bed. Not kidding.

Other than the centipede, I've been having a good time in Essaouira. It's a charming little town with lots of shops, art galleries, wood workshops, a harbor and fish market and a long beach. People are much more laid back and open-minded; you will see women with headscarves and traditional clothing as well as people wearing more revealing clothes. The medina is much cleaner, and people don't harass you. There are lots of hippies and surfers around.

I went for a wander in the medina today, and ended up at the port. There was so much going on; weather-beaten men mending their vessels and buckets of fish being tossed ashore. Then, I walked to the beach. It's supposedly one of the cleanest beaches in the world. A lady approached me and asked if I wanted henna tattoos. I never liked tattoos, I find them tacky most of the times, but I'm in Morocco and wanted to do it just for the experience :)

I've been approached by a few guys, in a non-creepy way. One said he's seen me a few times (because it's a small place), and wanted to invite me to his show. He said he understands me because probably a lot of people will stare and shout things like "konichiwa", especially because I'm a solo female traveler. People see my pictures and think it's fun...but they forget that it takes someone who is very comfortable being alone, being themselves and being outside of their comfort zone, especially in developing countries. Another guy who approached me, told me about his job and his family, and just wanted to have a tea and a walk. Another also wanted to have drinks and be facebook friends, haha. People are incredibly friendly!


Sunday, 20 September 2015

I'm leaving the desert landscape for the mountains today. I took a bus that goes over Tizi n'Tichka pass that reaches an elevation of 2260m, and continues all the way to a little village called Imlil. Imlil is considered the centre of mountain tourism, and many people start there to attempt Northern Africa's highest peak - Mount Toubkal.

When I got there, I hired a mule up to Aroumd, a remote village perched on a rocky outcrop at an altitude of around 1900m. That place is surrounded my mountains that all parts of the High Atlas. From there, we're also able to see Mount Toubkal, and snow falls at its top.

It is a quiet place with a gentle pace; kids use rubber shoes as soccer balls and mules are the only form of is a place beyond reach of the modern world. When the sun sets, the enormous mountains reflects the sun light; it's both so imposing and peaceful at the same time.

...and waking up to that crisp mountain air is one of my favorite things!

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