30.10.07

Medinas, Mountains and Kasbahs

Wow--what a glorious three weeks! I can't believe the time went by so fast and how much I packed into the trip (saw most of the country). I took nearly 400 pictures and was so pleased with the results for the first time I feel like I should put my name on them, i.e. copyright. Although I've only posted a few pictures on here and just over a dozen on Flickr--they are still a good reflection of what kind of trip I had.

Morocco reminded me of my trip to Egypt a few years back but it was much more Western because of being previously under the rule of France. The appeal of Morocco is that much of life hasn't changed since the beginning of time and the idea of 'artisans' still is very much in existence. Wandering the medinas (old medevil markets) you can easily get lost and overwhelmed in the sites, smells and culture (and by the number of cats!). The art on everything is beautiful usually based on words from the Koran , the influence of mosques and uses 'mosaics' absolutely everywhere. In our trip we actually went to a place where they did mosaics and it was interesting to learn how they do it and see the patience and love that goes into their creations (to put the mosaics together, they have to do the patterns backwards on the floor).

In most cities are Medinas and my favorite was in Fes which had blacksmiths, wood-carvers, glass-makers, leather workers and fabric weavers. In the open spaces of many of the medinas they would often have storytellers, jugglers, snake-charmers, acrobats, etc. It was like a carnival gone wild. The most famous of these is in Marrakech.

Besides wandering the Medinas, the countryside and Mountains are absolutely gorgeous. We ended up doing over 15 hours of hiking throughout the trip and it was amazing. Hiking between villages, through agricultural fields we got a first hand look at how life really outside of the city. The villages or Kasbah's (mud huts) were very impressive (particularly Ait Ben Haddou and the people so friendly (French is spoken in Morocco). The children all waved and said Bonjour and begged for 1 dirham (money in Morocco). I wish I could have taken more pictures of the people but many Moroccans unfortunately have a very bad view on photographs and get upset when pictures are taken.

Next to the sublime peacefulness of the mountains I really enjoyed the ocean in Essaouira. Who doesn't like the sounds of the ocean and the fresh sea air? I slept so well and I loved wandering the streets and shopping. The blue and white decor of the city apparently is the Andalucian way of warding off the evil eye which they must have successfully done because the city has such a relaxed and blissful vibe to it.

In the end--A very good trip one that I'll remember for the rest of my life. I'm very glad to be home but enjoyed getting away from everything and escaping to Morocco for a few weeks! So here are some pictures (I would double click on them to see their full size) and please remember there are more pics in Flickr:


Fes




Marrakech- the main square




The High Atlas Mountains---very near the highest peak in North Africa
Ait Ben Haddou-The most impressive Kasbah in Morocco. (Has been used in NUMEROUS movies)
Hassan mosque in Casablanca. You can get a little bit of an idea how big the place was!

4 comments:

sherrie said...

wow these are some great photos of your trip. i especially like the kasbah with the camels in the front. looks like a wonderful trip. glad you are back.

c.w.s. said...

You got great pictures!!!

Angela said...

WOW! That must have been amazing!

Angela said...

PS- Those photographs look straight out of a magazine! Great shots! I especially like the mountain one. Incredible!