Margaret Hinkson


Margaret Hinkson

Happily retired on a tropical island - life doesn't get better than this. Unless I'm traveling.

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Granada December 11th 2019

La Alhambra - the "h" is silent. for Moroccan poets it was "a pearl set in emeralds” for the Emirs who built it this was“paradise on earth” Its elegant architecture rests in a setting both formidable and of rare natural beauty – on a plateau towering above the plain commanding an eagle’s eye view of the city of Granada, the Darro River and the heights of the Sierra Nevada (snowy mountain). Today it is hailed as the Taj Mahal of Spain,with filigree palacesinside a mighty fortress. A place of exquisite beauty beside raw power, the delicate heart within a beast. Its origin as an Islamic Palace started 800 years ago under Mohammed I, Emir (Sultan or governor) of the Nasrids of Morocco who ruled Spain. This was the Golden Age of Islam - precision through science, ... read more
heading up hill to Alhambra with its commanding view of Granada
The Alcazaba. A formidable sight, the immense walls of the Citadel and its commanding location
Tour groups gather at the visitor centre Generalife gardens in Alhambra 6,000 persons daily are allowed

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech November 14th 2019

Three days in Marrakesch. The blog has been all over the place, I know. Tangier to Algeciras made sure of that. I'm doubling back to Marrakesch because it wasn't given full cover, apart from our lovely riad..... Our guest mansion (Riad Tizwa) was perfectly located. Selecting accommodation online isn’t the easiest thing to do, there are so many options available all glowingly described. It takes plenty fact-checking plus imagining what the facts could translate to in reality. I looked for a place where we could walk at will to some of the city’s major attractions, getting there without taxis or transport, free to move when and where we wanted. Tizwa was that. The #1 attraction in Marrakesch is the thousand year old Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site. madīnah al-qadīmah "the old city" lies within high ... read more
The door to Tizwa in the medina off Dar el Bacha
woven handicraft and traffic in the souk
carpets leather goods clothes under sun protection

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech October 23rd 2019

Of all the places we visited, Marrakesch was my favourite. It was our first destination after arriving at Casablanca airport whose long lines of arrivals were reminiscent of Piarco! 25 immigration counters were open yet we took an hour to exit. Good news aside - next year they are dispensing with the documentation that takes all the time at immigration desks everywhere. A six hour train ride brought us to this bustling ancient-modern city and our accommodation - Riad Tizwa - on the edge of the old Medina. The taxicab found our street but a "foot taxi" (i.e a man on foot with us walking behind) took us to the door. Farrida had put me on notice about this and here they were “taking” us the final way, because vehicles cannot drive along the narrow ancient ... read more
Tizwa neighbourhood main street
Entrance to Tizwa in the old medina
welcome to Tizwa riad

Europe » Spain » Andalusia September 27th 2019

Morocco had been such a wonderful experience and we looked forward with great anticipation to our visit to Spain. Things fell apart from the outset. Tangier Ville where we stayed is 40 minutes drive away from Tangier Med where the ferry was leaving from. Its the only shipping service I found on line, but on the ground we had several ticket offices with ferries from Ville. Anyway we got to the BALEARIA ferry ticket office by check in time for the 9.30am ferry. Sorry. CANCELLED. Next sailing at 12 noon would arrive Algeciras at 2.30pm cutting it close but still manageable for our train reservation to Granada departing 3.30pm Patiently we sat and waited. The Immigration check point for departure was confused by our TT passports and spent several minutes consulting, conferencing, telephoning, checking on line, ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Tangier September 22nd 2019

I only just realized this blog entry hadn't been posted... Tangier - before the disastrous departure and Spain - worth sharing the memorable highlights and many many photos. ..... Basically we have had a day and a half to enjoy what we can of Tangier. We leave the riad early tomorrow morning to go to Tangier Med port for our ferry to Algeciras. Several booths here on the seafront promenade are selling ferry tickets to various ports, but they weren't available on line when I was searching. Now instead of leaving from Tangier Ville where we are located, we have a 40 minute drive to Tangier Med which is the main harbour. That's where our on line tickets are for. Riad Hostel Tangier our accommodation is in the heart of the Old Medina. Suddenly the taxi ... read more
Riad Hostel Tangier
In the hands of Omar we took a 2 hour ramble around the Kasbah

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes September 20th 2019

It's been all go go go since I left Tobago.. It can't be only 2 weeks ago! Toronto followed by Marrakech and now Fes. In transit Montreal I left a precious bracelet in the security bin, but I'm hoping it's in the lost and found on my return. I'll start right where I am now - Fes or Fez the very ancient spiritual capital of Morocco. Traveling with friends Robert and Fitz who initiated the trip. For me this is a very new experience to be moving at a pace set by others. I'm letting go in practice. We arrived in Fes after a comfortable but 6+hours long train journey from Marrakech past neat rows of olive trees and orchards of oranges and pomegranates and cactus plants. Olives are widely eaten throughout Morocco, and everywhere there ... read more

Africa » Egypt April 1st 2018

The first free time I had on holiday was in Egypt, on the afternoon of the 8th day. In Luxor. For a self proclaimed solo traveler like myself, proud to travel independently, this was shocking. Yet I had buckled down to being shepherded by some excellent guides, I have to admit. There was just too much ground to cover too much to see, too much information to get during my visit. There was no other way I could have done it. Not by wandering around on my own in an Arabic land. So on my first free afternoon, I could finally do what I love best. I simply walked out into the streets, with curiosity. I roamed the small roads of the Egyptian neighborhood around my Hotel…Ammon is a bit superior from it’s ‘hood having a ... read more
Across the Nile River a minaret and the skyline
Random street scenes in Egypt men seated under shade trees, a cyclist
Random street scenes two young girls wear slacks and a hijab scarf

Africa » Egypt » Middle Egypt February 9th 2018

More mysterious than the Pyramids? Yes really! Welcome to Abydos and Dandara! It's a long drive 172km heading north from Luxor to the ancient Middle Kingdom region. We leave at day break, 6.30am giving me half an hour to have breakfast. Traffic is easier on a Friday, the Moslem day of rest. It takes us 3 hours to get there. At both Abydos and Dandara we will find yet more temples and columns adorned with fine artistry and brilliant colors. They are both acclaimed as outstanding Temple complexes. Their wall paintings and reliefs represent millenia of continuous devotion to the gods of the after life and creation. We've met these gods several times already... Isis, Osiris, Amun, Ptah, RE Horakty, Horus. And the goddess Hathor. These are all represented here again in abundance in monuments equal ... read more
The entrance to Abydos temple
High overhead carved in stone among the unreachable hieroglyphs
Trying to Zoom in for a closer view of the mysterious helicopter hieroglyphs

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor January 21st 2018

LUXOR I'm in Luxor for my last 3 days in Egypt. I'd saved the best for last. Several of the world's most famous and most ancient sites now lay at my doorstep. My hotel was on the West Bank of the Nile, in the Valley of the Kings, the location where the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered a century ago. Despite knowing that I still wasn't prepared for just how astounding and exceptional the antiquity would be. There is so much. I explored them under the expert guidance of Ahmad Almozamel my Egyptologist guide. I was more than eager to get out there so we made an early start, as always in desert lands it is customary to start early to avoid being out in the midday heat (though I love that!) Called LUXOR today, it ... read more
scale model of the temples at Karnak complex showing a series of massive pylon gates
further section of scale model of Karnak temple with the ceremonial lake and obelisks in one section
Karnak temple history

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor December 27th 2017

LUXOR. A SURFEIT OF RICHES. There are people today who have such excessive wealth you wonder what they do with it all. Billionaires. Bill Gates, the Saudi sheiks, institutions like the Queen of England and the Vatican. So much wealth its unimaginable and sickening. If Luxor was a person they would be one. The quantity and quality of antiquity here is unimaginable. There is the East Bank with Karnak temple, the world's largest temple complex. There is Thebes the city of a hundred gates, and Luxor Temple. There are the West Bank monuments with Hatshupset's Temple aligned on a direct axis with the Karnak Temple on the opposite Bank. There are the Colossi of Memnon just sitting casually on the road leading to the monument area. There is the Temple of Ramsis II second only to ... read more
A roadside tent with grass for animals, along the road to Luxor
Saw many white donkeys in Egypt
The courtyard garden at Ammon hotel had a variety of plants which included the Egyptian cousin of our Silk Cotton tree.

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