A Travellerspoint blog

Rick's Town

......Casablanca!

sunny 18 °F

Time to move on toward Casablanca which made famous the movie of the same name.. and from where I chose some of the titles for this Morocco blog.

The city tour takes us to the famous Mohammad V Square and the Hassan II Mosque situated on the Atlantic! It has indoor and outdoor space that can accommodate 105,000 worshippers.

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We also pay a visit to the local Catholic Church...

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A farewell dinner with a view of the city...

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...a farewell group photo to finalize another wonderful adventure.

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...and Rick...partying as the Moroccans do...

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Posted by Linda Fluckiger 09:14 Archived in Morocco Tagged mosque towers hassan casablanca 11 kenzi Comments (1)

Bob Marley was here

and so was Jimi Hendrix....

sunny

The Woodstock of Morocco...a very cool town! Seaside Essaouira has become an artists enclave over the years. The stroll through this medina and fish market is exhilarating. The ancient streets are inviting, as are the different stalls and vendors, cafes and restaurants. That wonderful Gnawa music is all the rage here as are the views and the overall atmosphere of this town. Bob Marley loved his visit to Morocco for the Gnawa Music Festival in 2004, Jimi Hendrix was here in 1969, Yves St. Laurent, of course, fell in love with this town and later purchased the Majorelle Gardens of Marrakesh, Henri Matisse was inspired and completed 23 paintings and 47 drawings from his stay here. Even The Rolling Stones hung out here!

Following is a photo essay of this town, including my first henna tattoo!.......No words necessary...

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It's been a wonderful few days at this seaport town! Even Rick opted-in for a tattoo!

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 16:20 Archived in Morocco Tagged festival essaouira dar louisa taros gnawa Comments (0)

Hammam at the Museum

....a side trip

sunny

We still have half the day to explore more of Marrakesh so after breakfast we venture across the street to the Menara Mall. Not much different than our malls in the US so we decide to check out a new museum of fine art located somewhere in Marrakesh. We get directions and off we go. Once in the vicinity we start to look for the street and realize we have a situation. All the street signs are in Arabic. We ask a police officer who gestures in sign language...something like 3 blocks that way and right...across the street (we think). Off we go. Once we arrive on the third block....(we must be looking like lost souls) ... an English-speaking French woman (accent noted) comes up to us and asks where we would like to go. She points us in the right direction which happens to be 1 block away and across the street! We are thrilled when we arrive! It's a great little museum which just opened about one year ago. It is getting quite a bit of publicity since Will Smith just paid it a visit approximately one month ago. I love the place. We were even served an expresso and got to sit and chat with the owner about the museum. The museum contained artwork depicting everything we have seen and learned about Morocco including a piece titled Hammam. (I know what that is now!).

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Time to head back to the hotel. It was suggested to us to haggle with the cab drivers to catch a ride back to the hotel and not pay more than 30 Dirham for 3 people. Rick goes to bat with the negotiating skills ... only haggling in Arabic and sign language makes things a bit more difficult. He makes the deal...we pile in and arrive at our destination. Being Americans, we decide to tip the driver. 10 Dirham. They don't tip drivers in Morocco, that's why the haggling. Oh well..who knew! He must have thought we were nuts!

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We now are on our way to Essaouira, a seaport town and another adventure I've been waiting for! On the way we, once again, pass beautiful country farms and acres and acres of land. Many scarecrows in the fields...many wearing jilabas. We pass thru small villages where I capture a few pictures of the locals.

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We visit a local family in one village and are invited in for Moroccan tea and to break bread with the family.

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This is also Argon country....Argon trees galore where you sometimes see the goats in the trees eating the nuts. Culinary and cosmetic products are produced here by a women's cooperative. We take the tour and, of course, shop and purchase some of this delicious and beautifying oil. I also bought a Kess here...(that glove that was used in the hammam). Everyone needs one of those, right?

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We arrive in Essaouira, check into our riad and then browse through the medina. This place is so laid back and relaxed...nothing like the other souks and medinas we've been to. I can feel the vibes of the celebrities who walked this town before...and can only imagine what those days were like.

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 16:18 Archived in Morocco Tagged oil argon macma Comments (0)

YSL

Gardens Majorelle and "The Berber Foot Bath"

sunny

Mohammed suggests we visit the Majorelle Gardens early to beat the masses. Great idea since it is ranked one of the five most beautiful gardens in the world. The moment you walk thru the gate you immediately step into a serene atmosphere complete with Koi pond and artist studio. The contrast of colors draws the eye immediately....bright yellow, electric blue and brilliant orange amongst the cacti and flora that share this city space.

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YSL is memorialized in the garden . His LOVE posters are on display in the quaint gallery situated on the garden grounds.

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We head to the Qurika Valley and Botanical Garden to learn about some of the herbs and spices the Moroccans grow and use for culinary and
medicinal purposes. We are treated to a Berber Foot Bath which we all love and a delicious lunch under the garden pergola. What a beautiful day!

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Tonight a group of us decide to hire a horse-drawn carriage ... again ... for another ride to the Djemaa el Fna Square. We want to make the most of our stay here and really get the feel of Marrakesh! So, arrangements are made and off we go.

Do you remember "the monkey incident?" And how I said I learned my lesson with a firm "No!"? Well, as we were walking around the square "taking
in the sites (these people invented the word....bizarre"......a woman walked up to me holding up a photo book and said "henna?" I nodded... no. She stopped me and took my hand and with her other hand started to paint something on my hand. Amazingly, I caught on fast and with a loud firm "No!" I pulled my hand away. She turned and moved onto someone else without the blink of an eye. Had it not been for the expensive lesson I learned a few days before I could have been taken for a few more dollars today. It was an expensive lesson that monkey taught me but well worth it. You pay for your lessons in life and you either learn from them or ....you don't. Many "vendors" and scammers will try their hand at squeezing you for money. I never felt in danger but you do need to be aware of your surroundings and be firm with your responses and your boundaries.

Curiosity certainly draws you in....it is a circus-like atmosphere with snake charmers, people selling teeth!....monkey handlers, food vendors, music, dancers and acrobats, contortionists, boxing matches and all the while... street scammers and pick pockets competing for your money and attention. The maze of narrow alleyways takes you from one experience to another. It is certainly different and exotic. I think I've used all the verbs and adjectives I can think of to describe the overwhelming sensory overload you experience here.

It's dark and late and we decide to head back for some dinner. Once again, I'm loving the experience!

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 08:52 Archived in Morocco Tagged gardens valley bath foot berber majorelle qurika Comments (0)

"Louie, I think this....

Is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.......

semi-overcast

Refreshed from a good nights sleep we have a city tour of the exotic city of Marrakesh today also known as the "City of Ochre". The most obvious landmark is the 12th c Koutoubia Mosque. We visit the Bahia Palace and the richly decorated tombs of the Saadi Dynasty.

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We did a bit of shopping and a little more exploring of this popular Djemaa el Fna Square, an on-going bizarre of entertainment, food and everything else!

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Time to head back to our hotel to get ready for a horse-drawn carriage ride, a wonderful dinner at the Lotus Restaurant and traditional entertainment!

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An elegant belly dancer completed the evening....

Morocco is certainly a trip worth taking...l'm loving it !

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 02:52 Archived in Morocco Tagged mosque restaurant tombs el lotus fna djemaa koutoubia saadi Comments (0)

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