I don't even know if "better late than never" works for this post. We literally took this trip almost a year ago. My failure to track down photos was the reason for delay. I'm bad at this...
I'll post anyway...last summer we took a trip to Morocco for a friend's wedding. We decided to visit Portugal while we were "in the neighborhood."
Needless to say, we had a wonderful trip!
We started in Porto which was our favorite of the two cities we visited in Portugal. After a few days in Porto we took a train south to Lisbon. Lisbon was beautiful as well but a big capital city. We preferred the smaller, more intimate, romantic feel of Porto which surrounds the Douro River, just down from the wine region. The people were friendly and the food delicious.
We ate at some wonderful restaurants while we were there, the most notable:
In Porto: Muu Steakhouse was amazing, the staff was incredible and we ended up having some wonderful conversation with our German and Spanish table neighbors.
In Lisbon: Senor Lisbon was my favorite, a tiny, hole-in-the-wall place tucked into a side street in an area I certainly wouldn't have ventured to without adamant recommendations.
After a few more days in Lisbon we flew to Marrakesh. What a different world only a few hours apart.
It's difficult to describe Morocco in words. It is stunningly beautiful for sure but so different than anything I've seen before. For me, having never been to a predominantly Muslim and Arabic speaking country, it was far from what I've ever experienced before.
As an animal lover, I definitely had a difficult time seeing the "working animals", donkeys and horses mostly but also the poor costumed monkeys, walking the streets and medina alleys in the 100+ degree heat. Our first day there, we ventured out to the medina (the huge market of winding alleyway) and I saw a carriage horse fall to the ground only to be kicked repeatedly to get him to his feet. I immediately started crying and Collin pulled me aside to shield the sight and to remind me that this is a different country and a different way of life. He than made a concerted effort to lead me away from any streets that may contain animals for the rest of the trip. I was grateful.
In stark contrast to that scene was our hotel and the wedding of our friends. We stayed at La Mamounia. Just Google it. I could not imagine a more over-the-top, elegant, palace-like hotel. It was stunning, amazing, breathtaking, perfection. Absolutely insane really.
The pictures do no justice to the detail and beauty of this magical place. It was certainly a once in a lifetime stay.
The day of the wedding, Collin (and many other wedding guests) got very sick and at one point we didn't know if we'd be able to make it to the actual wedding. But he pulled it together, including a full suit in the blistering heat, and we boarded the bus to the wedding venue.
Let's just say it was a tense ride as he white knuckled the seat in front of him and looked like he was going to pass out or puke the whole way.
When we arrived, my jaw probably hit the ground. It was so amazingly beautiful. We settled into the ceremony site, purposely placing Collin on the end of the row next to the aisle for an easy bathroom bolt. (The setup was on an outdoor patio with the aisle going down to a weeping, flowering tree with guests seated on only the left side of the aisle.)
Long story short, Collin projectile vomited over and across the aisle just before the bride walked down.
Can't make it up.
Thankfully the bride did not see this happen nor did it ruin the aisle for her to walk down. The ceremony went on without a hitch.
Collin felt somewhat better after that fiasco and the wedding planner told us that "no one even saw it!" Well, then half the guests came up to either make sure Collin was OK or congratulate him on his performance. HA!!
As if I thought the ceremony was beautiful...the reception was absolutely indescribably dream-like. Pictures have never done less justice than for this reception. Upon entering the area we were surrounded by walls of candles and hundreds of Moroccan rugs, this is outside mind you.
The setting was an olive tree grove with literally hundreds, if not thousands, of lanterns and candles hanging from the trees. I could not possibly dream up something so beautiful.
We didn't make it through the entire reception, very unfortunate as everything was over the top amazing. They had endless traditional Moroccan food that Collin forwent. So sorry for your loss my friend. It was fabulous.
Loved every minute of it. Certainly one to remember. And the food poisoning/illness make a great story.
Another wonderful trip in the books...last year.
Sorry I suck at blogging.