Blogs from Marrakech, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, Morocco, Africa


It was our final day in Marrakech today, and we were sad to leave the friendly staff of our riad! But before catching our train, we scheduled a hammam experience, which is a traditional spa originating in the Ottoman Empire and widely used throughout the Islamic world. I'm sure the experience varies by spa location, but in a word, here's what it was like for us: Intense! The spa room itself was quaint, accommodating only two people at once. Two platforms joined in an L, so Sean took one and I took the other. It was steamy and smelled of oranges. Our hammam technician was swift and efficient! In limited English, she told us "Robe" and gestured for us to remove our terrycloth robes. Sean was in his swimming trunks, and she told me to remove ... read more
If we were Arabs
Freshly-dyed silk threads
One of the monkey men

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech April 25th 2019

Tomorrow I leave Morocco after 20 days in this beautiful and diverse country. The trip was divided into 2 Intrepid tours: north and south. Both trips differed dramatically in landscape and experience. The north provided a wealth of cultural knowledge with the backdrop of many towns and cities, very very old, from Casablanca the commercial capital to Fes the cultural capital, and the north Tangier where the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet, and the Rif Mountains influenced by Spain. The south was a feast for the eyes with the landscape of the countryside - the Atlas Mountains were magnificent and the contrast as we moved from high to the mesmerising dunes of the Sahara, and then on to the Atlantic Coast and the beautiful Argan tree countryside - incredible. The highlight for me was a night in ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech February 2nd 2019

It’s always pleasing to set off on holiday when the weather at home is bad, but it’s a bit worrying when the first snow of the winter strikes the night before you leave. Mercifully, the roads remained clear, and BA cancelled European flights but not our flight to Marrakech. Despite a delayed departure, we arrived almost on time. We watched with a mixture of fascination and horror as the luggage carousel threw suitcases down a two foot drop, round a sharp bend and crashing onto the belt, inflicting visible damage in some cases. Mercifully ours survived unscathed! Aziz, our guide for the trip, met us outside, and in 15 minutes we were at our riad. Well, almost – building works meant we had to walk the last few hundred feet. We were welcomed with a refreshing ... read more
Marrakech spice seller
Koutabia Mosque Marrakech
Street in old Marrakech

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech December 26th 2018

Marrakech was a 7 hour train ride from Fes and is one of major stops for tourists, though I'm not quite sure it lives up to its hype. Another imperial city, it is also a mix-up of various cultures and has your typical sites; mosques, medinas, palaces (the King has many across the country) and gardens. This city never stops - motorbikes and vehicles clog up the narrow streets and the honking and sound of the motors quickly grow exhausting. We took a day trip to Ouarzazate (Where-zeh-za-tee), the Hollywood of Morocco. We first traveled through the Atlas Mountains for a few hours, seeing some beautiful scenery. We then stopped of at Ait Ben Haddou, an earthen village along a former caravan route, where we were forced to use a local guide to see the location ... read more
Ait Ben Haddou

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech December 9th 2018

It is 6.36am. The very first call to prayer started some time ago. I heard it from my bed. The calling woke me and I had no idea where I was / were I am. Then I realised, not through memory but through touch - the bed, unfamiliar, hard, short in length, wide, crisp, in a Riad, in the Medina, in Marrakesh. I get up straight away to hear the callings to prayer that Elias Canetti wrote of when he lived in Marrakesh. On the rooftop veranda of the Riad, I find that I am surrounded on all 4 sides by the amplified call to morning prayer. In my complete ignorance, I follow the sounds from different calls from the minarets across the city by rushing around the roof in complete darkness, scattering cats ahead of ... read more
calling to prayer

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech October 17th 2018

After having our morning coffee in a little cafe in an alley way, frequented mostly by workers in the neighbouring stores and hair salon, we left Marrakech. Next stop Essouira. As much as tourist destinations rub me the wrong way - there are too many other white people and it always feels too much like I’m taking the “safe” route - I must admit that Marrakech is a beautiful city. Yes, secretly I’m a travel snob. The city is clean somewhat orderly, but not too orderly thank heavens. Between Casablanca and Marrakech, the later is definitely the prettier sister. We did visit the famous market, although a bit too late at night to see it in full swing. We went only to see it and not buy a thing - kind of like visiting a museum. ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech October 16th 2018

October 15th, 2018 When you have a heart like mine, you can’t travel without seeing things that make it bleed. I am incredibly sensitive to suffering existing in others. We all suffer, some quietly and some without the luxury of privacy. This post is in honour of the suffering I have witnessed in my life’s travels. This post is filled with love. My travels in Morocco today: Today, on the first leg of our journey to the Sahara desert, we pulled to the side of the highway to purchase grapes from a man a few years younger than my husband who had weathered skin from a difficult life, was missing all of his teeth but had the most gorgeous green and hazel eyes. I couldn’t help but notice what an incredibly gorgeous face he had and ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech September 24th 2018

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life. - Jack Kerouac We are now back in Marrakech for the last night of our tour. I woke up this morning feeling like crap, and unwillingly dragged myself out of bed about 9:30. Susan was feeling better this morning, and she went down for breakfast, which I skipped. She brought me back some yogurt and bread. I slowly got ready, packing up and showering. I felt a bit better after the shower. Our group has been dropping like flies. Practically everybody has gotten sick, to various degrees, even Abdul. Four of the group had to go to hospital for treatment, all with gastrointestinal problems. After Susan got back from breakfast we headed off on ... read more
Marrakech medina Street art
Riad Challa doorway sign
Riad Challa

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech September 21st 2018

People don’t take trips - trips take people- John Steinbeck We’ve had a wonderful second day in Marrakech. We had a nice breakfast served upstairs on the roof terrace of our riad: freshly squeezed orange juice and good coffee; followed by a platter of crepes (French crepes I had with honey), Moroccan crepes (I had with apricot jam), and bread and cake; lovely homemade yogurt; fried eggs, and watermelon. Ready for the day, we met our local guide Abdul 2 for a tour of the local monuments. Today was a free day and I wanted to see the two palaces and the Saadian tombs, so Susan and I arranged a tour with Abdul 2, and we were joined by Nicole and Matt, Linda and Annie, John and Barb, and Wendy (Greg wasn‘t feeling well). We met ... read more
Bahia Palace sign - in arabic and Berber
Bahia Palace tile
Bahia Palace ceiling

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech September 20th 2018

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.- Jawaharial Nehru We enjoyed a nice breakfast at Chez Momo this morning. We were served nice strong coffee and hot milk (the milk served with coffee is always hot), and freshly squeezed orange juice. Then a basket of delicious pancakes, crepes, chocolate loaf, buns with sesame seeds, and bread and olives were put on the table for two to share. What I’ve been describing as “pancakey pastry things” is what the Moroccans call crepes. They are a layered square shaped sort of, well pancakey pastry - very tasty. I like them with apricot jam. They are kind of hard to cut up so ... read more
Sea of taxi in Marrakech
Marrakech gate
Medina doorway

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