Page 5 of buddymedbery Travel Blog Posts

Africa » Morocco June 14th 2015

Too look at all of the photos from the trip, go to: read more

Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet » Erfoud June 8th 2015

Starting our day in Fes, we headed east for a bit to visit Ifrane and its university, then headed south. Ifrane is known as the Switzerland of Morocco. Situated in the sparsely populated middle Atlas region, it sits at an elevation of about 5500 feet and regularly gets snow in winter. It was the site of the lowest temperature ever recorded in Africa (-24oC, -11oF), and has a ski resort. Four our visit, it was just a pleasant high mountain town with plentiful conifers and few people about. The main purpose of our visit was for Robert (OCU President) and Steve (OCU Dean of Business) to meet with some of the administration of Al Akhawayn University. After this brief diversion, and a visit to the carved lion for good luck, we headed south across the mountains ... read more
Morocco 2015 0820 Buddy, Jennie Ifrane Morocco 052215
Morocco 2015 0830 Atlas Mountains Morocco 052215
Morocco 2015 0832 Atlas Mountains Morocco 052215

Today was mostly spent in a trip to Essaouira, a coastal city that has been occupied since prehistoric times. The harbor area is protected from the sea by Mogador Island, and thus the harbor is considered one of the best anchorages along the coast. For a while, there was an industry here producing tyrian purple dye from the murex snails that can be found here in abundance. This bromine dye is exuded by the snail when molested (to my knowledge, there are no laws in Morocco against snail molestation, regardless of age) and thus the snail can be "milked" for the dye. More commonly, however, that snail was simply crushed and the dye extracted, requiring about 12,000 snails to produce 1.4 g of dye, enough for a single garment's trim. The dye in antiquity was so ... read more
Morocco 2015 1635 Essaouira Morocco 052715
Morocco 2015 1648 Essaouira Morocco 052715
Morocco 2015 1651 Essaouira Morocco 052715

Marrakech is a city of wrenching contrasts. Broad avenues and boulevards lie almost next areas of narrow alleys and souks. A square filled with buskers and charlatans and snake charmers and monkey grinders open onto an avenue to takes you within a couple of minute to an avenue with chic shops like Fendi, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. A city of modern large buildings and American-looking suburbs also has a 14th century madrassa. The streets are broader by far than those in Casablanca, and uncharacteristically have well marked lanes, and yet traffic seemed to be worse here than in the larger city. But the souk here in the medina is much better organized than in Fes or Meknes, with shops selling similar goods tending to be grouped near to one another. The alleyways are a little wider, ... read more
Morocco 2015 1526 Marrakech Morocco 052615
Morocco 2015 1565 Marrakech Morocco 052615
Morocco 2015 1567 Marrakech Morocco 052615

Our pleasant stay in the riad near Ait Ben Haddou gave us the chance to expunge several layers of sand and get back to some semblance of cleanliness. We started off this morning much more easily than the day before. Our first stop was the nearby Ait ben Haddou. This 400 year old ksar climbs up a steep hillside, and is built with a mud bricks, similar to adobe, but with a mud stucco rather than whitewash. It requires frequent repairs after any rain. The old ksar was located on the caravan route be tween Sudan and Marrakech. Although 4 families still live there, it is mostly abandoned. It is maintained as UNESCO World Heritage site, but you can see crumbling, particularly in buildings that no longer have any cultural significance to current local residents, such ... read more
Morocco 2015 1354 Ait ben Haddou Morocco 052515
Morocco 2015 1357 Ait ben Haddou Morocco 052515
Morocco 2015 1359 Ait ben Haddou Morocco 052515

Africa » Morocco » Souss-Massa-Draâ » Ouarzazate May 24th 2015

As we stepped off our camels at the Merzouga camp, we had been greeted with an idyllic scene - pretty ornate lamps laid out in front of the camp like lights along a landing strip, rugs covering every square inch of ground between the tents, white tents standing side by side with beckoning flaps. Awakening the next morning we found an entirely different scene. I was the first to try to leave our tent, and could not initially get out even after unzipping the flap. As it turned out, our particular tent had been ideally situated to catch the blowing sand during the storm, and our hosts had stopped a lot of sand from coming in by tying a large rug up in front of our tent, weighted down by sandbags and heavy cushions at the ... read more
Morocco 2015 1216 Merzouga Morocco 052515
Morocco 2015 1218 Merzouga Morocco 052515
Morocco 2015 1220 Merzouga Morocco 052515

Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet » Merzouga May 23rd 2015

As previously mentioned, the Palais du Desert was the one clinker in our hotel experiences. Although the rooms were lovely, and the overall layout was fine, there were simply too many problems, and management seemed both unwilling and unable to fix them. But I shall cover that in my TripAdvisor review. After spending the night, we arose the next morning and headed to Rissani. Risen is the old capital of the Tafilalet region, and in the past was an important way station on the caravan routes. It is also the closest city to the Erg Chebbi, the largest sand desert in Morocco. We visited the mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif, father about 6 generations back of Moulay Cherif, the founder of the current Moroccan Alouite dynasty. It was wiped out in a flood of the Ziz ... read more
Morocco 2015 0934 Erfoud Morocco 052315
Morocco 2015 0960 Erfoud Morocco 052315
Morocco 2015 0984 Rissani Morocco 052315

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes May 22nd 2015

The day started with a field trip. Although there may have been a few alleyways we had not yet walked in the medina of Fes, we headed out of town to two interesting settlements. Bhalil is a small town with interesting troglodyte homes built into the hillsides. The Berbers have lived here for hundreds of years, and many (but not all) of the homes have a cave as a portion of the house. It never became clear to me whether these were enhanced natural formations or were completely carved out for dwellings. They offer the usual cave advantage of evening out hot and cold temperatures. The houses in this town are painted in various colors. Although I have read of a pottery industry here, the only current industry seems to be the production of jellaba buttons, ... read more
Morocco 2015 0695 Mohamed, Lucie Bhalil Fes Morocco 052115
Morocco 2015 0706 Jennie, Nicole Bhalil Fes Morocco 052115
Morocco 2015 0714 Sefrou Fes Morocco 052115

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes May 21st 2015

Fes. Ancient city. Quintessential Morocco. Not to be confused with fez, a hat, usually with a tassel, often red, worn throughout Morocco and many other countries. We ended our day in Fes, and awoke the next morning to something closer to the Morocco which had imagined. Our visit to Fes began with arrival at Riad Fes. This being our first experience with a riad, we were stunned by the beauty and by the service we encountered. It was almost oppressive to our American tastes to have someone catering to our every whim, but we decided we must accommodate and managed to carry on under the burden. Although Fes has two medinas, the larger was the one where we spent time, and our riad was on the upslope edge of the medina, giving us panoramic views of ... read more
Morocco 2015 0553 Art Naji ceramic shop Fes Morocco 052015
Morocco 2015 0560 Art Naji ceramic shop Fes Morocco 052015
Morocco 2015 0571 In the medina Fes Morocco 052015

Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet » Meknes May 19th 2015

The journey from Rabat to Meknes is a short one, only some 150 km, but it is a large distance culturally and architecturally. Rabat is a large, mostly modern city. There is a fairly small medina, but most of the city is more modern Other than the redoubt of the Udayas, there is relatively little of great historical significance as far as extant structures are concerned.. Meknes, on the other hand, is much more rich with historical structures, and is frankly, to me at least, a much more vibrant city for the visitor. Our visit began with a visit to the Royal Granaries and Stables, established by Moulay Ismail (Ismail ibn Sharif). By all accounts, this man who ruled Morocco during the years 1672-1727 was a man who lived large. Known as the "Warrior King", he ... read more
Morocco 2015 0294 Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail Meknes Morocco 051915
Morocco 2015 0311 El Hedim Square Meknes Morocco 051915
Morocco 2015 0319 El Hedim Square Meknes Morocco 051915

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