The time we spent in Morocco was by far the most special. From the pink labyrinth medinas of Marrakesh to the expansiveness of the Agafay desert, we were constantly in awe at the beauty of the country and culture. In Marrakesh, we spent a lot of time shopping for artisan made items at the souks, from rugs made by the Berber people to genie lamps and lanterns. We frequently got lost in the narrow alleyways where locals would whizz by on their scooters, dodging pedestrians left and right. Rubbing my stinging eyes from the exhaust fumes, we hunted for treasure because I was determined to find that one special piece to bring home. Walking by snake charmers, henna artists, and persistent souk salesmen, I was enchanted by the gritty liveliness of the medina. People were throwing water on the streets to keep cool, kids were playing soccer in the alleys, and locals were eating kebabs in a bun hovering near the tiny carts. There was so much poverty next to opulent riads, and trash strewn streets next to ornate mosques used for prayer. I wonder what the Moroccans thought of us tourists coming to their country, not knowing anything about their religion. Although quite liberal compared to most other Islamic countries, the Islamic religion is very integrated into their culture and everyday life. Even the young people who only follow Islam loosely still have never had a sip of alcohol in their life. Women and men don’t form friendships with each other, and you can see a gender divide in the parks, cafes, and mosques. The women stick with the women, and the cafe is very much still a male dominated place. Needless to say, Morocco was full of culture shock and wonder in the most beautiful way. Grittiness meets tradition meets design. I would go back in a heartbeat.