Location: Morocco, North Africa
Cities Visited: Casablanca, Fes, Chefchaouen, Merzouga, Marrakesh
The Best: Miniature cakes, avocado smoothies, coffee, fruit, roses, camel treks, privacy, Art Deco buildings, handmade rugs, street food, and Arabic music.
The Worst: Frantically deciding how to descend from a cliff and Matt yelling “JUMP!” as three boys hurl huge rocks at our heads for refusing to give them a tip after an unsolicited explanation of Fes at sunset. Also, freezing in the hotel rooms that never had heat but always had blankets I was allergic to. Oh, and all the times we had to pee in the shower cause rooms just don’t have toilets.
The Unforgettable: The first bites of cous cous and tajine- Morocco’s classic, delectable cuisines- and wondering if I really could still be in Africa.
Location: Madrid, Spain
The Best: Riding the metro. Experiencing fabric softener. Huge burgers, not from McDonalds. Tapas with the tapa expert of Madrid.
The Worst: Throwing up after consuming huge amounts of ham and paella after realizing my body had no idea how to digest fats anymore.
The Unforgettable: “HELLO MADRID!”- Matt’s reaction to a girl wearing a short skirt and tights in his first minutes of being off the African continent in over 28 months, and his exit from the Muslim world where knees are never seen. Later, a moment of ecstasy in the form of the tortilla Española.
Cities Visited: Rome and Venice
The Best: A bed & breakfast in Chinatown. Italian accents. Riding boat taxis all over Venice. Shopping for Carnaval masks with my mom. Eating gelato and more gelato, tasting horsemeat, and buying pizza by the kilo. Watching glassblowers make a horse.
The Worst: N/A. Is that a serious question???
The Unforgettable: Seeing my parents get off the train after two hours of waiting and running around the terminal convinced they were wondering aimlessly, lost somewhere in Rome.
Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA!!!
The Best: Making it back in time for my best friend’s birthday! Seeing my brother and old friends. Being home.
The Worst: Bringing home itchy skin lesions from the Gamb, and getting a letter in the mail saying it was likely to be Schistosomiasis, a parasite that enters the body after contact with contaminated river water. Only thing is, I was never in a river. So then a visit to a dermatologist with the conclusion that they are probably blocked hair follicles, 20 of them, in areas where I do not have hair. Treatment- One month of antibiotics with side effects of intense heartburn and uncontrollable gas.
The Unforgettable: Walking into Mall of America with the intention of buying clothes but getting totally distracted by Dairy Queen and its strawberry sundaes. And then Matt, stunned by the sight, grabs my arm and says dreamily, “Look, Tam, roller coasters……!” So of course we ride roller coasters and eat ice cream and leave, without buying a thing.
To see more pictures of Italy, click here.
For more pics of Morocco, check here.
It's been a wild ride, but boy is it good to be home.