Atlas Mountains, Morocco
High up, above the bustling city and medina of Marrakech, in the winding curves of the Atlas Mountains lies a small welcoming town where even the most foreign come together to honor a time old tradition.
We'd been up since the sunrise, hiking for hours, driving along winding roads and chasing waterfalls. It was almost noon when we seemingly, randomly pull over. Our driver instructs us and the other travelers that we are getting out here, smiling an encouraging toothy grin, he points with a weathered hand to the base of a dusty hill. Wide smiles and pointed gestures have become our safe haven for directions in Morocco.
Our guide meets us again, his enthusiastic smile mimicking that of his friend's. We shuffle up the steep hill, glad to reach the top amongst the rust colored dirt and rising temperatures.
We spent half an hour wandering through the tiny Moroccan, Adobe-esch town, through street games of childhood soccer and mini backyard farms amidst the crowing of an occasional rooster. After adventuring through several beautifully, blood-orange colored doorways and arches, we finally find ourselves at the most welcoming simplicity.
There's the religious idiom: "Let's break bread together." Now, I'm not a religious person- at all really. I like to consider myself cultured in my birth-given religion, but- for the first time, I really understood the meaning of that. Here we were, quite the eclectic group- a Swedish girl, a German one, my Philippine friend I'd met living in Milan, two middle-aged Moroccan men, a sweet old Moroccan woman, an Australian guy and myself with my own alloyed heritage. It sounded like the beginning of a joke: "an American girl, two European girls, a few Moroccan men and a Philippine walk into a bar.." but it wasn't.
Despite the heat, the language barriers and any cultural or religious differences eight strangers sat down, somewhere high up in the mountains of Morocco, to break bread and drink tea.