Thursday, August 22, 2013

Trip to Morocco Part Four

 Arabian Horses in a Rif Mountain Valley
 Linda and Hashim Dine in Larache
Roman Water Conduits at Lixus

Part Four:  Tetouan-Lixus-Larache.

I had read about Lixus (famous for the ruins and beautiful flowers) and had hoped to visit; but we decided to make the excursion with Redouan's wonderful driver, Hashim, after visiting with one of Redouan's older brothers.  
An expert on Roman coins, Redouan's brother was also instrumental in trying to preserve the ruins at Lixus by working with others to add  the area to the tentative list for inclusion as International Heritage site.

We saw the results of another initiative through the Centre for International Heritage Activities in the Netherlands, which partners with Morocco to preserve the site; some positive changes are evident--a wall to protect the 190 acres, paid attendants, and a soon-to-be-completed museum at Lixus.

Our guide through the area knew some French--but in Northern Morocco many more people know Spanish--and Linda and I enjoyed the visit.  We did not, however, get to see the sites murals  you can read about at the linked sites.  And you might enjoy this Spanish-speaking video about Lixus.

Lixus was originally a Phoenecian city the Romans occupied--the area sits on the heights overlooking the Larache estuary and the Loukkos River.     And during the Roman era, Lixus became well known for producing garum, a fermented fish sauce much favored in Rome and Greece.  

And one can still see some fifty of the vats in which the fish bits and other ingredients mixed.  The vats occupy the lower part of Lixus, and I imagine that the breezes atop the ancient city protected folks from the aroma of fermenting fish parts.

After reluctantly leaving Lixus, during which a large black snake crossed our path--in all probability an Egyptian Cobra (I was too excited to take a photograph--we headed to Larache, which sits on the Atlantic Ocean a few minutes from Lixus.

We did not spend a lot of time in Larache, where I discovered afterwards the great French writer Jean Genet is buried.  The three of us enjoyed an exceptional lunch.  Hashim and Redouan insist that the restaurant is the best in the city, and after dining there, I do not dispute the claim.  If you go to Larache, enjoy a wonderful meal at Restaurant Khay Ahmed, which features fish and other fruits of the sea.  

On the way back to Tetouan, Hashim took the "scenic" route though the Rif Mountains and into some beautiful valleys.  Among other things, we drove past a French ranch that specializes in raising Arabian Horses. 

We also tried to visit one of the factories owned by Redouan's company; however, on Friday most all the caretakers had gone to mosque.  This factory and others specializes in distilling oil from, among other things, Rosemary, a product used in many perfumes--Redouan gave us a little bottle; the oil is good, among other things, for baths and headaches.   

On the way back to Tetouan and our "home" in Kabila, Hashim stopped at a cafe in the Rif mountains where we enjoyed an afternoon mint tea.  The Storks enjoy there the mountain air currents and circle with evident delight, a pleasant way to conclude our trip. 

Part Five: Tetouan-Tangiers-Ripon

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