July 24, 2022
One last hello from Marrakech and Madrid!
We are coming to the end of our travels together and we couldn’t feel more grateful, but things are also feeling bittersweet as we close out our last session of the summer. The kids are starting to reconcile with their near departure and seem closer than ever.
We had an amazing day at the Marrakech markets where the students got some more practice bargaining and buying gifts for their loved ones (you!) and, of course, some gifts for themselves. Lucien and Duncan scored a proper Moroccan soccer jersey, while the girls nearly cleaned out the local bakery of all of its unique pastries and sweets. Dearing also picked up a handful of trinkets along the way, making sure she spent all her Durham before heading back to Europe. I can’t say exactly what she bought so I don’t spoil any gifts! On top of baked goods, Stella and Clarkie, of course, bought some matching handmade tote bags paired with a free tassel. Eleanor and Cate cashed in for some sweet new Turkish towels to rep at the pool back at the riad. Matthew added to his beaded bracelet collection, and Lexi picked up some new golden jewels.
After the markets and much needed ice cream, we spent the day clocking some well earned relaxation hours. We sat by the pool, tossed the frisbee, chased around the house kitten, Mishu, and kept a keen eye out for the newly hatched baby peacocks and their mama. It was an epic way to spend our last evening in Morocco.
Later that night, we had all finished dinner and thought we were winding down for the night when John ran and jumped into the pool, socks and all, and everyone followed suit…well for the most part. Parks dodged the prospect of jumping in fully clothed, until Dillon, Duncan and Max gave him no choice. They chased him down, grabbed him but all-fours and launched him into the pool. Duncan thought he was going to keep his last pair of clean clothes clean, until he, too, was in the pool with his socks AND shoes. Most would say he slipped, but he would claim otherwise. Dillon pulled Cate in by her ankles, and not long after, Eleanor, Dearing, Lexi, Stella and Clarkie were in, too. Matthew, the last one left, was lounging on a nearby couch, until John, Max and Lucien fireman carried him across the lawn, up the stairs and plopped! him into the water.
We had our second to last Moonup under the starts in the pool. It was pretty awesome.
We spent our last night together roaming Madrid, eating tacos and ice cream, and watching the sunset from the royal palace. Our last Moonup was bittersweet and accompanied by a few sweet tears. These kids are awesome and I know they can’t wait to share about their travels.
We are safely on our way to Atlanta and cannot wait to see everyone so soon!
Ella and Corley
John-Hey mom and dad can’t wait to tell u guys about the trip it was fun
Duncan-Hey mom and dad I loved Moondance so much and can’t wait to tell you all about it
Dillon-Hey mom and dad! Can’t wait to tell you about the whole trip!
Max-Hey mom and dad can’t wait to see y’all
Matthew-Hey fam, thank you for allowing me to come on this trip. Can’t wait to see you!
Cate-Hey Mom and Dad and Clare! I have absolutely LOVED this trip and I can’t wait to tell y’all all about it!!
Stella -Hey family! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to go on this trip! I can’t wait to see y’all!
Clarkie-Hi mom and dad! Thank y’all so much for sending me on this trip I had SOOO much fun and made so many great memories! Love y’all!
Lexi- Hi fam! Thank you so much for letting me go on this trip! It was amazing and I miss and love y’all so much!
Eleanor -Hey Mom and Dad! Thank you so much for sending me on this trip I had the best time ever!!
Dearing- Hey! Thank you for letting me go on an amazing trip I love y’all!!
Parks- SEE YALL SOON!!!!! Thanks so much for send me on this trip of a lifetime
July 22, 2022
Morocco has been a huge success so far!
Once we arrived in Morocco, we had a beautiful drive up the windy mountain roads to the village of Imlil. Imlil is a beautiful and small mountain village on the mountainsides of the Atlas Mountains and the kiddos loved the beautiful Riad we were staying in. We were able to visit our first shop here, involving Max’s excellent yet abstract methods of bargaining. Also at the shop is where Duncan was able to score an intricate and wild jacket and Lexi bargained for an epic purple head scarf. After our great day in Imlil it was time to start hiking to base camp. It was a beautiful hike with even more beautiful weather and landscapes. When we arrived to base camp we settled down and the card games began. Mao was a popular card game led by the master, Lucien. These games led us to a great tasting dinner and an early bedtime for summit day. Summit day was a great success. Stella’s birthday was a huge motivator for the hike and help herself and the group ascend all the way to the summit. Despite having conquered the stomach bug the day before, Dillon was able to make it up with a great attitude alongside another contagious positive climber; Parks. Matthew led the group up being the perfect LOD for the summit and really taking in the views while he led. John was able to hike all the way up to the top with his slides on his back for the perfect lounge shoes when he reached the summit. Towards the top is when our energetic Cate took the initiative to run the last leg of the summit, surprising the crew. When the gang finally reached the top, we were able to hang out for a while and really soak it in, or hang out by hanging upside down from the summit pyramid marker like Clarkie and Eleanor. Although we made it to the top we were only halfway there. This led Dearing to enjoy the less strenuous way down by rock skiiing with Ella and taking every moment they could to have a blast. The gang made it down with energy to spare and smiles on their face ready for the great city or Marrakech. The group is really tight by this point in the trip and everyone is soaking up all the memories we can get. See you soon!
Corley and Ella
July 18, 2022
A final hello from Picos de Europa!
Our romp through the beautiful Picos was incredible. We spent three days trekking under blue skies, making new goat friends, and finishing the warm days with dunks in crystal blue rivers. John turned into an otter anytime we found ourselves near water, even in the shiver-inducing mountain creeks. We walked along the river whenever we could to stay cool on hotter days, thus sharing a trail with cows, goats and horses. Duncan was featured in an epic portrait with surely one of the biggest cows in the vicinity. Matthew has been taking in all of the views and really soaking up his time under the Spanish sun.
We were able to crush it to the top of a peak in the Picos just across from the renowned Urriellu. Clarkie and Stella encouraged each other the whole way up and were so stoked when they arrived to their rooftop lunch spot. Parks and Dillon, on the other hand, sang their way to the top and even got some passers-by to join in on their nothing less than a beautiful rendition of “Country Roads.”
We were lucky enough to do 10 minutes of silence at the summit with no one else around. We listened to the Chova birds soaring overhead and the slight breeze sneaking around the cracks and chutes of the Picos.
On our way down, we almost stumbled right into an epic vulture feast. No less than 30 Griffon vultures were fighting for a seat around an unlucky cow. Lucien narrated the meal, watching through Corley’s binoculars, gawking at the relentless birds battling for a bite.
After a picturesque cable car ride descending the cliffside of Picos de Europa, we hopped in the bus for a drive along rivers and ocean coastlines to the lovely beach town of Llanes. After some showers, we settled into our quaint hostel surrounded by green mountains, hydrangeas, and one mighty palm tree. While we waited for dinner, Cate showed everyone up in pretty much any card game played. She’s a Kemps champ. Dearing and I (Ella) sauced the frisbee back and forth for a blissful 10 minutes until a certain someone joined in and decided they wanted to include the roof in our passing circle. We won’t name names.
Our first full day in Llanes started in an epic canyon river. We suited up in our helmets, harnesses and wet suits and headed down to for our adventure. We crawled through caves and under waterfalls, slipped and slid down moss covered rocks. It’s safe to say we really found our inner seal. Max’s cannonballs in the final pool were surely a crowd favorite capping off our canyon jaunt.
After a good lunch of traditional Asturian food at our guides’ favorite local restaurant, we swapped out our helmets and harnesses for surfboards and gnarrrrrr. Lexi and Eleanor were surfing like pros within minutes, catching every other wave and getting hoots and hollers all evening.
We’re so sad to say goodbye to the mountains and oceans of northern Spain, but can’t wait for our Moroccan adventures ahead.
Ella and Corley
July 12, 2022
Hello Spain + Morocco Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Madrid and are settled into their first hostel of the trip. The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!