Blogs from Morocco, Africa - page 11

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Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Chefchaouen May 8th 2013

We were invited last night to take a trip with the young French couple staying in our hotel. Silvain and Delphine are from Grenoble and are in their late 20s. They have a rental car and were going on a hike to a natural bridge up in the mountains an hour's drive from here, in the Talassemtane National Park. We left around 9:30 and met the guide they had hired at the beginning of the trail. We could go on the mountain trail that came out above the bridge, or the river trail, where we had to cross by wading (we understood we would cross once...hahaha....). We decided on the river trail, and hiked above the Gorge de Farda, then beside the river, then in the river...really in the river....! At times we were thigh-deep in ... read more
Men in Hats
With Delphine and Sylvain
Our guide is on the left


Birthday Hammam experience , dinner with Mel and her folks in Marrakech, reuniting with Kate and Robbie, to adventures through the Sahara desert. After a long yet hassle free travel day from Cairo to Fes (via 1st class train, thank you Marie) I arrived at the Bouland Boush (Blue gate) of the Medina to be met by my Riad host Karim. Karim had previously emailed me to inform me which cab to take when I got to Fes, as there are some pretty dodgy people about. I made it to Karim safe and sound eventually, after trying out a few taxi services. Later Karim told me, that the original taxi driver I called, was going to take me to another Riad, but because he knew Karim decided ( lucky for me), not to do that. So, ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Chefchaouen May 7th 2013

We hiked up to the second mosque on the hills outisde town today....all alone on a trail with wildflowers, olive trees, and the occasional goat. I will go to a private hammam tonight for a bath and skin rub. I have been told the public ones are often dirty, and this one costs only $20 for an hour....so I took the chicken route.... It's hot here today, but still cooler than Seattle! Later: the hammam was wonderful....I entered and was greeted by Zara, who didn't speak much French or Spanish (many people here speak Spanish rather than French), but had me understand that I should strip down to my panties and come in and lie on the heated tile floor. She proceeded to wash, scrub and massage me for the next 40 minutes, and then rubbed ... read more
Spring where the river begins
Rug Washing in the river
Modern washing tubs along river

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Chefchaouen May 6th 2013

We arrived here today after a gorgeous bus trip across the plains and into the Rif mountains... A strangely wonderful moment was Macklemore playing "Can't Hold Us" on the bus radio....! (A Seattle based band...) All along the road were carpets of wild flowers....lots of olive trees and wheat being grown in between. Much of the harvesting, including wheat, is done by hand, although we saw several small combines. Donkeys are used for plowing in most of the smaller fields, and used for transport to and from the fields. The main crop of this area is still kif, and while it is illegal in Morocco, obviously there are ways around the laws. This town was a backpacker hangout for years, but has now become more mainstream. It is touristy, but not overly so yet. Prices for ... read more
Riad Staff
Saying goodbye to Riad Ahlam
Linda Harlow, your Mercedes came here and multiplied!

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes May 5th 2013

We are now in a luxury riad, but still paying 50 euros/night....the staff here is wonderful: much laughter and helpfulness! We spent time on the roof terrace today, then in a rooftop restaurant, and then hiked up to the ruins of the tombs on a hill outside the walls. In between, we walked through the Medina again and visited the largest merdersa, which is one of the few places in the country where non-Muslims can enter a building that is still used for prayer. After our hike up the hill, I returned alone to the Medina, strolling down one of the main passageways, and wandering off into some of smaller side streets and squares. I ended up at the henna square, which we had visited yesterday. It was once the site of the first psychiatric hospital ... read more
View from our Riad terrace
View from our Riad terrace
View from our Riad terrace

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Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes May 4th 2013

It all began well.... We took a taxi to the beautiful train station in Marrakech, and the taxi was less expensive than we'd been told...we met up with Harrie and Ans, a Dutch couple staying in our Riad and who happened to be traveling to Fes on the same train. We got window seats on the train, and pleasant traveling companions....We chatted, watching the scenery go by and having our questions answered by our friendly Moroccan fellow passengers. Then, during our stop in Casablanca, we began our descent into train travel hell.... 1. We were told to leave the train and go to track 4. (two flights down and two up) 2. We told to leave track 4 and go to track 7 and get on the train. (two flights down and two up) 3. We ... read more
Marrakech Train Station
Our first train
Plains

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes May 4th 2013

We first saw them last night as we walked to our riad from the gate of the Medina...cats everywhere! Today, as we stolled the medina and souks, cats prowled the edges of the streets and kittens rolled out under our feet. The Moroccans hold them in affection, it appears...one would sleep in our room in Marrakech, and the restaurant where we ate lunch today had several cats, from an old tomcat to a tiny kitten. There was a sleek grey one that looked like a young Betty. People feed them scraps and most look healthy. We have seen few dogs in Morocco, and only one small puppy today, since dogs are considered unclean by Muslims. We spent most of the day exploring the Medina of old Fes...and didn't get lost! I was here last about 36 ... read more
Dar Hafsa
Dar Hafsa
Dar Hafsa


We left Marrakech around 9:30 am by taxi, with a new driver (the one we had booked had his cousin? take us instead). He turned out to be great, driving carefully and asking politely if we wished to stop at any of the dozens of tourist traps we passed. We did agree to go into an argan oil women's coop, where Lynn bought oil that is maybeargan and had a great 6 minute massage. We arrived in Setti Fadma around 11:30am and were immediately accosted for hotel/guide/restaurant help. We finally escaped and found a hotel for about $35/night. We next set off to do the famed 7 waterfalls hike. There are no signs for the trail which begins somewhere in the maze of riverfront restaurants, and we attracted the attention of a very persistant guide. I ... read more
On our way to the mountains
Argan Coop
Road to Setti Fadma


We decided to spend most of today walking to a remote Berber village about 2 hours by foot from our hotel in Setti Fadma. A village dog came along with us, uninvited... We walked a on a dirt road, along another river, and through many orchards. There were cherry, apple, and olive trees, along with nut trees and small plots of peas and onions. We saw people with one or two animals grazing, including a Berber woman in traditional clothes and jewelry. Later we passed large goat herds. We passed one village, and after another hour on the empty road, we arrived at the higher village. The dog was with us still, but disappeared when the local children leaving school spotted us, and descended in a small swarm the giggle and try their French on us...We ... read more
Bill and the dog setting off
Dog resting along the trail
first village

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech April 30th 2013

Tuesday After a wonderful night's sleep in our Riad, we walked to the Koutoubia mosque, with its minaret the landmark of Marrakech, and then through the gardens surrounding it. Bill once again won the map test, and got us to our friend Mona's hotel in the "new" part of Marrakech. Mona is my piano teacher and a member of Bill's philosophy group, and just happens to be the same time as us! We will meet for dinner tonight. We walked back to Jamaa el Fna square and headed into the souk (market) area...it is full of tiny streets lined with shops and covered with a trellis-like roof in most areas. We weren't pressured too much by the merchants and no one offered to guide us, a big change from Tangiers 35 years ago. We lunched at ... read more
Majorelle Gardens
Cappacino and Micro-cookie
Pouring mint tea




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