Spring Break…Part 2

Hi All! It has been a while… After Spring Break that has lasted for two weeks, with the five day the snowstorm break and the four day Easter Break, we spent a dashingly 9 days in school for the entire March…! My brain has definitely slowly recovering and shaken by the madness to be striked by the published timetable of final exams, the impending GRE and the essays. But we left off at Spring Break in the last post, so allow me to reminisce the good times…

I found myself back in the Sahara desert again, fearing of losing all my snapstreaks because of a lack of Internet, and not being able to take photos because of a dead camera. The desert really brings what is important back to you – it takes out the technology in your life, and gives you the brightest night sky that you have ever seen, freezes you to death in night and burns you to barbeque (perhaps since we did not stay that long). Now, my snapstreak somehow survived this whole trip, and the camels led us to a little hotel nearby, where there is wifi and electricity (so I secured the streaks and revived my camera). We got a huge breakfast of delicious yogurt, bread, crepes and pastries, and there has also been a lentil soup with some kind of beans that were really delicious, and we also got our long overdue shower that washed off 99% of the sand on us.

Driving not too awfully away from the desert
Annie looking over Mid-Atlas region. The green stuff shoud be a local golf resort
All the veils sold in different colors in a local souvenir shop

We had a local Moroccan barbeque for lunch (when Syaid announced this when we had dinner the day before, Weiheng got so excited and had to bring up every hour or so when we were in the car). It was also around 3PM when we finally got to eat, and we were all starving! We ended up ordering what is in this next picture, a pound of steak and a pound of lamb. (That place also serves camel meat I believe – I am praying for Michael Jackson and hope he’s not getting slaughtered) It also only took 245 dirhams to feed all six of us – probably around 5 dollars if we average it.

Guess what kind of food this is? (hint: Mark was dared to eat one of the organs on there, and then hated life for probably a hot minute by chugging down a huge loaf of bread and an entire can of beer, and said he was fine.)
Moroccan Barbeque that definitely lived up to the hype

We then embarked our journey to the mid-atlas region, where it is famous of producing argon oil used in a lot of our skin and shampoo products, fed some monkeys, passed through Al-Akhawayn University located in Ifrane (where it was heavily dominated by the French and has the nickname of “The Switzerland of Morocco”.

We loved feeding monkeys and taking pictures of each other

We finally arrived at Fes when it was around 7pm or so. It was really sad to see Syaid go and they have been great to us throughout the whole trip! But we were on our own in the old medina of Fes. The streets and alleies crisscross with each other – we definitely saw why even Google maps don’t really know how this place is structured. We booked an airbnb in what is probably a palace in the past for 80 euros and it looks dashingly amazing

“This is my palace” claims everybody
“Looking at this gorgeous palace that I own”
Blue gate at night

Due to limitations, we didn’t get to stay in Fes for too long, and we had to head to Chefchaouene, known as the blue city, in the early morning in the next day.

A cat in the Blue City

Chefchaouene, compared to Fes, lacks a deeper sense of historical accumulation. It is a town that developed because of this kinda “artificial blue” painted onto their city and the tourism effects that followed, and the town is very heavily populated with souvenir stores and kinda intentionally painted wall. Fes, on the other hand, had their development in the past in the Old Medina, and then there is also the New Medina that we passed through. I saw there is one of the shopping malls that looked really modern.

“the wall” that people take pictures at
Group pic! Both Yeng and I got some traditional clothing over there. Definitely trying to spread the purple pride there 🙂

After Chefchaouene, Casablanca was our last stop, where we got to see the Hassan II Mosque, passed by a local market and saw the cafe recreated from the film Casablanca. Hassan II is one of the largest Mosques in the world, and was definitely beautiful.

From there, we concluded our brief stops in Casablanca and our trip to Morocco, and got back to Ireland for St. Patty’s day. Because of a very late flight, I missed out on all the parades, but still caught the crowd in Dublin and had some ice cream! (Got to see everything on social media so eh).

Around the Temple Bar area on St. Patty’s day

On the following Wednesday we made a brief visit to Cork. We started off by walking to the English Market, and made our way to Cork City Gaol. The English Market is like the Milk Market that Charlotte and I visited in Limerick, except the English Market operates every day. There is also a second level with a coffee shop. It also looks like there is a larger seafood section and they even sell clam chowder! (Not sure about how that compares to the New England ones though)

English Market in Cork! It would really be great if Dublin have something like this regularly.

Cork City Gaol was also really interesting. There was an exhibition of examples of past prisoners kept here (including Constance Markievitz, one of the revolutionary nationalists in Ireland), and what their daily life is like. It definitely made me not want to go to jail in the future, but is sure interesting to see!

When everybody except Beven and Mason are excited to get into jail…
Oops… Still ended up being arrested and a mug shot is taken.

We ended the night with a trad session in An Spailpin Fanach, where Mason and I had our first sip of Jameson! The second day, we went on a trip down to Kilkenny and the Ring of Kerry, where the rule of being played by Irish weather is once again verified (whenever we travel it is rainy and foggy, and it gets all sunny when we decide to stay indoors). Still, the view is very gorgeous, and I could only imagine how good it would look on a sunny day!

At Ring of Kerry


Kilkenny National Park

It was amazing to come out to breathe a little in nature before we have to get back to all the schoolwork! But life has definitely been good during the two week Spring Break. And there isn’t much of the semester left – cannot believe how fast time is flying by!

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