And now we play catch-up with a photo-montage sequence. Forgive us, but we’ve been a) sick b) tired c) sick and tired (of blogging) and d) taking time off to recover, sleep, and experience our travels to their fullest. But we are back with verve! Here’s a quick flash of our last month.
We made our way up the coast of Morocco (beginning in Agadir, then moving onto Marrakesh, Fes, Chefchaouen, and Tangier). In the medinas, our senses were attacked from every angle. The sounds of motorbikes, the smell of spices, and the incredible colors in every shop overwhelmed. Through the winding maze of the old market, we felt that we were experiencing life as it was lived hundreds of years ago. Snake charmers, scam-artists, tanners and weavers filled the marketplace. When we passed through the food vendors, we saw a woman choose a chicken to purchase, and the butcher slit its throat on the spot. Now that’s fresh meat…
Marrakesh, Morocco—a view from Djemaa El Fna
Marrakesh, Morocco. A possible suspect for Rachel’s week of dysentery.
Fes, Morocco—the main mode of transporting goods through the Medina
Chefchaouen, Morocco. The tradition of painting the buildings blue started in the 15th century by the Sephardic Jews who fled the Spanish Reconquista. They painted their doors blue to signify to other Jews where the community had settled.
We purchased a few handmade carpets from this artisan in Chefchaouen. He was happy to show us how he makes them.
The streets of Chefchaouen
We flew out of Malaga, Spain into Amsterdam to visit some family and friends. Unfortunately, Rachel was too sick to see much of the city.
However, we did get to meet the new addition to the family, who is beyond beautiful! Now presenting: our new baby cousin Rebekah! You can’t see it here, but she’s got the fullest head of blonde hair we’ve ever seen on a newborn. Gorgeous!
Rebekah’s older brother Yonatan. A special thanks to Marisa and Rogier for nursing us back to health.
While in Amsterdam, we made plans to finally meet our Dutch pen pal, Edith Greuter. Rachel and Edith have been writing to one another since the summer of 2011 after Edith received an RSVP to the wedding by accident. She googled our names, found our wedding website, and contacted us about the mis-sent letter. One thing led to another, and Rachel and Edith found they had much in common. Edith repairs old books, and her husband, Adrien, transports art from museum to museum. The interest in literature and art proved a sure-fire way to keep the emails going.
For Rachel, it was so great to have an ear on the other side of the Atlantic. The emails led to a quick and easy friendship, and soon, plans were being made to meet when we arrived in Holland. It was like we were seeing old friends, only we’d never met!
The Greuters invited us to dinner—a really warm and kind gesture for strangers they’d only known over the internet. Rachel was just getting over her sickness, and was nearly finished with her antibiotics, when the dinner date arrived. She warned Edith that she’d been ill and might not be able to eat a big dinner. Understated.
Adrien had prepared a BEAUTIFUL dinner—fresh hor’s devours, pasta with lobster, salmon, ect., in addition to a homemade tiramisu for dessert. It looked marvelous. We’d been gabbing, getting along wonderfully, but when Rachel sat down to dinner and had her first bite, she realized (that despite being delicious), it wasn’t going to stay down long. A quick sprint to the bathroom saying, “I’m the worst dinner guest ever!” was not how she’d envisioned making her first impression.
Despite that, we managed to have a great time. It will always remain to Rachel the best dinner she never ate.
After Amsterdam we flew to Rome to meet up with the Ephraims for an amazing 10-day trip around Italy. We stopped in Rome, Florence, and Venice.
Rachel and Josh inside the Colosseum in Rome.
Florence at night
The Fish Market in Venice.
One of the greatest experiences we had was taking a cooking class from a local Venetian. Rachel’s dad, Marty, ended up showing the chef a thing or two, and we all enjoyed a delicious lunch of artichokes, shrimp, linguine and clams, soft-shelled crabs, and tiramisu.
A boat ride to the island of Murano to see the glass-blowing factory.
Josh, the philosopher.
Thank you Ephraims for the incredible experience. We especially loved our daily gellatos, all of the art, the delicious dinners, and of course, the wonderful company.
After saying arrivederci to the Ephraims, we headed to a farm in Dozza, Italy to work for a week. The farm is located in a wine-producing region, and they mainly grow grapes for wine and keep goats. Every day we were drinking wine made from their grapes and eating ricotta cheese made from their goat milk!
The view from the farm.
Much time on farm was spent playing with Charlotte (5 yrs old) and Isabel (7 yrs old). Charlotte famously said to Rachel, while helping to collect stray sticks from the vineyard, “Hard work is important, but it is also important to have fun while you work.” So true, Charlotte.
Every 2 years in Dozza, Italy famous national and international artists come to the town to paint the walls of the buildings.
Rachel’s favorite mural
Now we anxiously await the arrival of our friend Nicole. Tomorrow we will travel to Croatia and could not be more excited for the next leg of our travels.