Marrakech…the BEST!

(This is the last of my Morocco trip report).

We stopped at Todra gorge on the way to our hotel that night, before heading out to Marrakech the next day.

We enjoyed a drive through the high Atlas Mountains…

Our riad in Marrakech was wonderful and very centrally located, steps from the souk!

Marrakech was my favorite city in Morocco! Some of the places we visited were the Bahia Palace, Jardin Marjorelle, and Jemaa el Fnaa (the huge square on the edge of the medina). And, of course, lots of last minute shopping in the souk!

Our final dinner together was at La Mamounia, a “palace hotel.” It has been welcoming guests since 1923. We walked around the gardens, which were gifted to Prince Al Mamoun as a wedding present in the 18th century.

We were sad to leave Morocco, but hope to come back some day!

Next up, girls’ getaway in NYC! 

“Glamping” in the Sahara!

Our desert safari was absolutely amazing! On our drive there, we went through the “Switzerland of Morocco” in the Atlas Mountains.

When we arrived, Iddir met us with the camels for a trek during sunset to our camp. I will let the pictures do the talking…

Our tent was basic, but it had all we needed, hot water for a shower and electricity for charging devices! We had a delicious evening meal, Berber music around the campfire, and the BEST breakfast of the trip! The Berber people are pre-Arab and have a rich cultural heritage.

And a return the next morning by camel, of course!

We then visited an oasis in the small village – it was HUGE and they are all over Morocco. Families have a plot of land to grow produce and water comes from a well through a viaduct.

We bought Berber carpets, handmade by Berber women. 

Fes = Fantastic Shopping!

On our trip to Morocco, traveling from Chefchaouen (which I LOVED) to Fes made for a somewhat long day, but we had some interesting stops along the way. Our first stop was Volubilis, a Roman ruin dating to 225 BC. It was great to stretch our legs and just take in the views of the countryside!

Another stop was the city of Meknes, where we saw the Bab Mansour gate, the most famous of twenty gates leading into the walls. The Arabic inscription at the top reads in part, “I am the most beautiful gate in Morocco.”

The restaurant in Meknes where we ate lunch and the view out the window! 

In Fes, our riad (traditional Moroccan house) was at the edge of the medina (historic old town with high walls and the market or souk) and here are some photos…

The next day we explored Fes with a guide, which was included in our tour. Some of the places we went were a pottery cooperative shop, a tannery, and the Royal Palace Gate. The king of Morocco has many palaces (and gates) and is well respected because of his efforts to modernize the country, according to our driver.

One thing noticeable about Morocco was the very real presence of police…I never felt unsafe. And there are LOTS of tourists from all over Europe. And we loved shopping the specialty shops in Fes, ie, leather and pottery! 

Next up, our desert safari adventure, ie, glamping!

Morocco =WOW!

What can I say about Morocco? It was absolutely FANTASTIC! I ended up flying economy on Delta via a paid ticket because my dates were not flexible and I needed to arrive/depart from different cities.  ): 

But my son, who works overseas, met me and we spent the week together, and we hadn’t traveled together in a few years, so that made it extra special (and worth flying economy)!   

I researched tours via Trip Advisor and picked one I liked, which was Marvelous Morocco Tours, and they were MARVELOUS! It’s owned by a young Moroccan named Iddir, and has only been in business for a few years. I told him where I wanted to go (again some research) and he emailed back with a customized itinerary. Just the two of us had our own driver, with airport pickup/delivery and all hotels, meals, and tours included for $900 per person, not including lunch, which we thought was a great deal! I highly recommend them – http://www.marvelous-moroccotours.com/ OR email Iddir at marvelousmoroccotours@gmail.com.

We arrived in Casablanca and were met by Rachid in a new Toyota four wheel drive, our “home” for the next nine days. We saw Rick’s Café from the movie, Casablanca, and the mosque there, before arriving at our hotel that evening. Our hotel was right by the water and was sumptuous, as you can see!

The next day was a long travel day to Chefchaouen, located in northwest Morocco. We stopped in Rabat, the capital city, and visited Hassan Tower and the Mohammed V mausoleum. Hassan Tower is part of an incomplete mosque, built in 1195 AD.

Chefchaouen is a small village in the Rif Mountains, which is all painted in shades of BLUE! It’s not only the houses, but government buildings, lampposts and even trash cans! Why is it painted blue? The custom dates back to the 15th century, when Jewish refugees fleeing the Spanish Inquisition settled in large numbers in Chaouen, as the locals call it. They brought with them their tradition of painting things blue to mirror the sky and remind them of God. It was one of my very favorite places in Morocco and we wish we’d stayed longer. We were located at the top of the village, within walking distance of everything. Here are some pictures, including our blue guesthouse, where we had one of the BEST meals of the trip! I will let the pictures do the talking…

 Next up, Fes…

 PS I’ve noticed all these CAPS and exclamation marks! Morocco REALLY deserves it!