Morocco Photo Tour: Day 2

Posted in Africa, Morocco, On the Ground

“Come with me/And you’ll be/In a world of/Pure imagination…” Do you recognize those lyrics? They’re from one of my favorite movies as a kid, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Maybe this will jog your memory:

Why am I sharing lyrics from movies made in the early ’70s? Because that’s how I felt when I was in Morocco. It’s a place of pure imagination — one shaped in Western minds by movies and books and legends that trace back centuries.

For a guy raised in the Chicago suburbs whose only international travel experience until the age of 27 was in Canada, a trip to Morocco can seem nearly impossible. I found myself constantly wondering how I got there (the answer? Pompeian Olive Oil — thanks, guys) and overwhelmed by just how different life in Northern Africa is to my daily existence in Los Angeles.

We’ve already gone over my first day in Morocco with Photo Tour: Morocco Day 1 and now it’s time to throw some more photos at you. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me as we continue our journey from Marrakech to Meknes.

I started the day at Sodeon Targa, an olive farm outside of Marrakech. There, I saw grove upon grove of olive trees that would wind up as olive oil branded under many names via the massive Aicha corporation (in the US, you can find it as Pompeian). Many varieties grow on these trees and their rich oils are then extracted and bottled.

IMG_8240If you’ve never seen olives growing on trees before, they start as pure green and grow darker as they age. Here’s a handful of young and old olives:

IMG_8247The olives themselves are all harvested by hand in these groves. The work is painstaking, but preserves the integrity of the fruit.

IMG_8250I took this next photo from the bus on the way to Meknes. This guy was full-on driving his bike at around 30mph as he’s texted. Apparently the texting-while-driving phenomenon isn’t isolated to the US.

IMG_8254Who wants a beer? This Moroccan beer is speciale, but to be honest, not that special.

IMG_8261For lunch, we had a massive array of fairly strange dishes that were meant to be high-end French food but ultimately seemed stuck in a French cookbook from 1954. This dish was some sort of seafood explosion that included smoked salmon, salmon pate, sardines, imitation crab meat, and caviar-covered cucumbers. Yum?


Roughly an hour outside of Meknes, we stopped at a family home in Temara for a traditional Moroccan tea ceremony. Mint tea is included in just about every meal in Morocco and despite a massive quantity of sugar, I loved the ritual of it all. And yes, that’s a decorative rifle next to my tea-pouring friend.


These massive tortilla/roti-looking pancakes are called m’smen and they are flaky, wonderful, and absolutely delicious. Spoon on a little jam and you’re good to go. While these were served as an afternoon snack, they’re traditionally found at the breakfast table (as I soon found out and enjoyed each and every day of my trip).


So much more to come, so stay tuned all week for more coverage of my trip to Morocco!

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