Morocco, Racing, and Another Castle

7 minute read

Another two weeks have gone by since the last post, and they’ve been another exciting two weeks. The main highlight was that me and Patti got to spend four days in Morocco with a friend from work and her family. It was a trip I’ll remember for a long time, and the hospitality we were shown was incredible. It’s also the first time I’ve been anywhere in Africa! In other news, I ran in a race for the first time since moving to Germany, and I also went to see a castle.

Morocco

Ryanair

We took a Ryanair flight from Memmingen, a small town west of Munich to Fez. It’s a small, budget airline airport, with both Ryanair and Wizzair offering flights from there. This was my first flight with Ryanair, and it’s not that much different than the other budget airline I’d flown on before (EasyJet). The Ryanair flight did have a lot more products being sold during the flight (food, electronics, etc.), but not much else was different. It was about 100 euros for the flight there and another 100 euros for the flight back, which was on the high end for that flight. If we had been able to plan earlier we could have gotten tickets at half that price, but we only fully planned our trip about a week and a half before we left.


Our Ryanair flight from Munich to Fez

Food

The food in Morocco was some of the best I’ve ever had in my life. I didn’t get any pictures, but the following are courtesy of Patti.


A big goldfish cracker (actually a pastry filled with seafood)

Sweet chicken with various toppings

Post meal dessert and snacks

Salad and other vegetables

Tea

Moroccan tea is very good, and from what I could tell, is usually served with every meal. There’s also a very specific way to pour it properly, which I wasn’t able to do. You have to pour the tea from a high height in order to create a little foam in the tea (I think that’s the reason), and it’s not easy to do. Therefore I left the tea pouring to the people who knew how to do it properly.

Driving

Going from recently driving a rental car in Germany to being driven around Morocco was quite a shock. It’s way more hectic and busy in Casablanca especially, with many rules of the road not being followed. I think a good word to describe it would be “organic”, in that everyone seems to merge in and out of lanes whenever they want, not in ways that the traffic lines try and describe.

Hicham El Guerrouj

Another interesting element about being in Morocco is that its the home country of Hicham El Guerrouj, one of the greatest (if not the greatest) track athletes of all time. Everyone that I asked knew who he was, and he’s apparently the most famous Moroccan athlete of all time.

Casablanca

We spent two days in Casablanca, and got to see some of the main tourist attractions, as well as being able to see some of the residential and downtown areas.

Mosque

The most impressive building I saw in Casablanca would have to be the Hassan II Mosque. The amount of detail on the exterior details was incredible, especially because of the size of the building. It has decorations almost everywhere.


View of the entire mosque

One of the entrances

I think this was the entrance for the men

And I think this was the entrance for the women

The decorations on the building aren't paint, they're all tiled like this

One of the elaborate decorations

Me and the mosque

Fez

Old City Marketplace

In Fez, there are two main parts of the city. There is the old city, and the new city. In the old city, there is a large marketplace, where you can buy just about anything you could want. It’s also an easy place for pickpockets to target tourists due to the narrow streets, and we were sure to be careful with our belongings. The marketplace itself was a very busy place, filled with lots of colors, noises, smells, and people. We had to get out of the way of a number of large carts being pushed through narrow streets, and once had to make way for a donkey carrying wares.


Some colorful traditional slippers for sale

More colored slippers

Hand woven fabrics

The main entrance to the market

In the above picture, you can also see some of the taxis that are used in Fez. They’re all red, and they vary from new to very old.

We also got to see the leather tannery in the market, where a lot of the products are made. It smelled terrible, but was very pretty, especially the containers for the colored dyes.


The leather tannery

Lichtenstein Castle

This Sunday (May 20) I finally made a trip to the nearby Lichtenstein castle. I biked there and back, and also hiked up and down the hill the castle is on. It’s a pretty breathtaking spot, with an incredible view of the castle and the surrounding countryside.


Trees on the hike up

There was a a lot of fog when I got near the top

The outer wall of the castle

The surrounding countryside

The main bridge to the central castle tower

Great view of the main tower

Some building inside the courtyard

Another view of the main bridge to the tower

A lone statue

Me and the lonely statue

Running

Week 1

(May 7 - May 13)

Monday - Only run of the week.

Tuesday - Travel to Munich straight after work.

Wednesday - Travel to Morocco.

Thursday - Morocco.

Friday - Morocco.

Saturday - Morocco.

Sunday - Traveling to Reutlingen.

New Shoes

I finally got some new shoes, as my old pair of Pegasus had accumulated 1,383.5 kilometers on them (Strava tracks distance run on your shoes). This made a big difference in the feel of my runs the following week, as I think the cushioning of the old shoes was just about useless.


The Nike Pegasus 34

Week 2

(May 14 - May 20)

Monday - Easy run that didn’t feel great after eating so much new food in Morocco.

Tuesday - Rest.

Wednesday - Rest.

Thursday - First race in a long time. It was a 4.5k company race that Bosch put multiple teams in. I came 11th overall, with a time of 16:39 (roughly equivalent to a 17:45 5k). Not super happy with the time but it’s good to see my inconsistent training hasn’t completely ruined my fitness.

Also, the Bosch tent that was set up near the starting line was providing free snacks, including these baked whole wheat buns in the shape of the Bosch logo:


Free snack

For those of you who don’t know what the Bosch logo looks like:


The actual Bosch logo

Friday - Easy recovery run.

Saturday - Rest.

Sunday - Biked to the Lichtenstein castle, hiked up and down, and biked home. No long run, but a lot of slow easy exercise.

Thanks for reading! There might be another post next Sunday, or maybe not, we’ll see how life goes.

Jeremy