Friday, 22 May 2015

Morrocco adventures.

Thursday saw us leave Sevilla and drive to the resort town of Tarif in Spain to catch the ferry across to Morocco. Our coach drove onto the ferry and then we all had to take our suitcases and walk through customs, bags x-rayed and board the ferry for crossing the gilbatra straight.
The ferry ride only took 45 mins to cross into Tanjar, Morocco. Once we landed and got through customs we had to drive 2 1/2 hours to Rabat, Morrocco's capital city.  On arrival into Rabat after checking into our hotel, we went for a walk to the main avenue. My first thought is this Morrocco, it is not how I imagined it. I expected Morrocco to be more colourful, with spices and exotic buildings. What I was met with were unfinished buildings and a slightly modern feel to everything. On walking through King Mohammed 5th avenue, we were lucky enough to stumble upon an arts and craft fair.
The exhibit of Moroccan culture, was also unexpected, honey, kaftans and leather shoes were on display, as well as some carpets.
I did manage to buy some art work on leather, that I can frame, reminded me very much of zen doodling.
Rabat is very much a commercial city. Rabat had no charm what so ever.
Friday we departed Rabat to drive to Marrakesh, before we departed we did the city tour of Rabat.
City center of Rabat.
Rabat like most cities in Europe have a large walls surrounding them.
We walked inside the  city walls, this is called a Kasbar
Some graffiti on the walls inside the Kasbar, the buildings are painted  blue and white, a little like Sorrento 
Lots of homeless kittens
The Shrine where Mohammed the 5th and his brother and one son are entombed. The shrine is constantly guarded by soldiers, the guards sit on the horses and both guard and horse are changed over every 1 1/2hrs. A very opulent area.
This visit to the shrine took 1 1/2 hours
The gates were opened when we entered.
The coffin with King Mohammed the 5th, centre coffin.
Photo opportunity with one of the guards.
After our visit we then went to the Royal palace for a tour, the king is presently doing a tour in another part of Africa.
The royal palace
After this tour we departed for Casablanca, another city of Morocco, I was looking forward to going to Casablanca, again expectations were not met, also a very commercialised city.
Ricks Cafe, this was built by an American woman who loved the movie "Casablanca" apparently Casablanca the movie was not filmed in Casablanca, but in a Hollywood studio.

We had lunch along the Atlantic Ocean beach front in Casablanca.
Some afternoon delight.
We then visited Casablanca mosque, we could not go inside, prayer meeting was at 1330 hrs and it was also Friday, prayer day.
Believe it or not this mosque can hold 100,000 people
The minuet stands 600 feet tall.
After our visit we drove to Marakech, where we will spend two days.
Our hotel in Marrakech, quite a lovely setting.

That night we attended 1001 nights meal and entertainment at the Marakech casino.
This meal was very different, we had Harissa soup, then a chicken pie with an almond and honey topping very unusual sweet and savoury together. Followed by a chicken tangible, orange sorbet and some pastries with mint tea,
Mint tea tea making in Morocco is an art. The Moroccans love to drink mint tea and to make this you need a special concoction of dried herbs, mint and sugar. The tea is quite refreshing, but very sweet as it is made with lots of sugar. Subsequently Moroccans have a high rate of diabetes and rotten teeth.

In Marrakech we visited the souk markets, not much on offer.
Some colourful characters, you can have your photo taken with them for a price and if you dare to take one without their permission, they will follow you ruthlessly through the markets until you give them money. 
The souk markets.

In the afternoon we visited the Berber village, argan oil is produced from a tree and creams made in this small village.
Women in the Berber village preparing the nuts.
The above area is set up to demonstrate the cosmetics made from the Argan oil.
Some interesting works of art in the Berber village.
Rudimentary housing in the Berber village, where we had honey, freshly baked bread and mint tea, served by the Berbers.
The houses are mud bricked base with very small windows, dirt floors and basic cooking area.
What we see as harsh living conditions is quite comfortable for the Berber people, this house was quite large, with a number of rooms, where we sat to have the tea, rain fall does get into that area. 
They did have a beautiful view from their top baloney.
This concludes our tour of this part of Morrocco, tomorrow we head to Fez.

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