And we’re back! After 17 incredible days in Spain, we’re back to our little flat in Océan, Rabat, currently entertaining two host guests: Steph and Bianca, two other exchange students who are looking for a place to live. The most exciting part? We have INTERNET, and I have a working phone as well, which is very nice.
The last of Spain was amazing. We spent our last four days in Madrid, which we absolutely loved. I’ve realized a lot of what we thought of each city was based on how much we lived our hostel. And then how much we liked our hostels is generally based on the kind of people staying a the hostels. Our hostel in Madrid was all around excellent. We made so many friends, and it was a really nice, social environment. The city itself was beautiful as well. We had a lot of fun just wandering around our neighbourhood, which was slightly out of the centre. I loved being out of the centre with all the touristy stuff. We found this amazing shop called Magasand, where they had all sorts of really nice magazines and the most delicious sandwiches. We went there a few times.
A lot of Madrid was spent picking up essentials for Morocco, like a two our trek across the city to get a water filter for our sink (that doesn’t even fit, it turns out). But the city is so nice that wandering through it for things like that really doesn’t feel like a chore. We managed to get to the Reina Sofia, which was incredible. The Reina Sofia the modern art museum in Madrid, and houses Picasso’s Guernica, which was really cool to see. My favourite part was this special exhibit from Richard Hamilton. His stuff is all so completely different, but amazing and somehow uniquely his.
We also did a day trip to Toledo, which was really great as well. We didn’t quite fall in love with the place as much as a lot of people I know, but it was still really beautiful. Something about all the tourist groups and overpriced restaurants serving identical meals all over the town make it lose some of its charm. But we still had a great day visiting the famous Cathedral and monastery. Toledo is really cool because at one point or another it has been a Jewish, Muslim, and Christian town, and unlike in other places that housed multiple religions, the different buildings have remained in tact and haven’t even been refurbished to suit different needs. There’s churches, mosques, and synagogues all mixed together; the only place I’ve ever visited with the same sort of preservation was Jerusalem.
Back in Morocco, things have been going great. It’s definitely harder to describe living here than it was just visiting. Last time our biggest job was to take everything in, whereas now we’re trying to set up a life for the next four months. The most exciting thing that happened today was probably discovering a toaster oven in a little shop in the medina. A huge victory for us, after spending too much of our Internet time googling “no bake” recipes.
Even after three days, living here definitely comes with its highs and lows. On our first night back we had a run-in with Larry, the lizard that apparently lives in our apartment. Mack called me over to her room after discovering what appeared to be a dead lizard quished behind her door. After an appropriate moment of panic mixed with disgust, we decided to lift it with the fly swatter and throw it out the window. As Mack approached it with the swatter, the lizard moved its leg. We both jumped back, and when we looked back at the corner, Larry was gone. There have been no sightings since, but we’re definitely on guard.
We’re incredibly happy here. It’s taking some getting used to, but Morocco is going to be great.