Tuesday, January 13, 2015

May 2014 Trip to Morocco, Part One

Linda enjoys fresh orange juice in Marrakech

We returned this May to Morocco where we spent over two weeks, mostly in Tetouan, last summer.  These pictures provide a look at our adventures our first full day.

This time, however, we started our trip further in the south, beginning with Marrakech where we stayed in a beautiful hotel and took the shuttle into the city and the celebrated marketplaces.

There, we explored the various souks (marketplace and individual areas and stalls), and I enjoyed my
first Mint Tea of the summer.  I also, despite Linda's most sane lack of enthusiasm, got close to a Egyptian Cobra.  Well, when in Marrakech, I guess. 

On our next full day, we did something new:  a guided tour arranged through the hotel of Morocco's famous Ouzoud Falls, one of those special places where taking a bad photograph requires a complete lack of imagination.

The falls draws huge numbers of people, and not just tourists, for Ouzoud Falls earns recognition for one of the top ten falls in the world.  I think the falls is the second highest in Africa, after Victoria Falls.

A guide, really a great guy, other than our driver took by a sometimes daunting route to the base of the canyon below the falls. 

Along the way, our attentive guide also took us to a secluded area along the river where, sitting in plastic chairs, we got to soak our feet in the chilly water.  He also knew the names of the plants and provided other and interesting information.
We enjoyed lunch at a hotel sitting over the pool of water at the base of the falls.  Here the Mint Tea tasted especially wonderful.  And we watch Moroccan boys jump from the side of the canyon into the water. 

All the way down into the canyon and then back up to the falls, I could not help but wonder about the walk back up the canyon to our starting point on an increasingly hot afternoon.

As matters turned out, we exited in comfortable fashion, the way most all the people enter the area around the falls.  I thoroughly enjoyed the long way in and the Moroccan monkeys who entertained everyone on the way out. 

After hanging out at the hotel complex for a quiet day, we decided to take another tour, this time of some highlights of Marrakech, which included the beautiful and rather famous Majorelle Gardens.  The extensive gardens too French painter Jaques Majorelle forty years to complete.

Of all the places we visited on the tour, Linda and I  enjoyed the gardens best.  

But we also stopped at the well-known Manara Gardens that feature an enclosed
body of water used now to irrigate the many olive and other trees in the area, using a system centuries old.  And a few centuries ago, the reservoir featured military boat engagements and other similar activities. 

We also took in the Sasdian Tombs and the beautiful Bahia Palace.  These ancient buildings make the head spin, for the art work is more than a little stunning, from the ceilings to the floors. 

After the tour we remained in the Medina's huge square,  Djemma El Fna, we had walked around on a previous visit.  I love sitting in one of the restaurants' upper floors while eating and watching all the activity below.

We enjoyed the huge Medina or Old Town and the many, many shops, many many that sell identical items.  When I did not walk with a guide here and in Fez, our next stop, the merchants called me Ali Baba, which cracked me up.

Neither Linda nor I opted for a camel ride.

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