Monday, 11 August 2008

The Road to Morocco.. part the first...

"Morocco is like a tree whose roots lie in Africa but whose leaves breathe in European air"
King Hassan II 1929 - 1999.


I am not sure whether it was watching, with childish delight, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby’s adventures in the film Road to Morocco http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpbLJvdXFww&feature=related (whilst riding my rocking horse and dressed in a genuine Fes from the dressing up box and my fathers red and white stripped beach robe, just so you get the whole picture )or whether it is just the wanderlust deep rooted inside me, but I have had for too many years what my aunt would have called “ a long felt want “ to travel to Morocco and at last I have been .
How to describe the experience? Like a child bouncing about with pent up excitement desperate to tell someone about all the wonders they have seen but only able to say "WOW' I am so overwhelmed with the sheer wonderfulness of it all that I am lost for words.

I loved the heat , it was 55 in Marrakesh when we were there, I loved the bustle of the city and the calm of the wild spaces in the desert. I loved hearing the Muessin call the faithful to prayer. I loved the smells and sights and sounds of the souks, the smiling faces of the people and their unending kindness to strangers and I loved the way they lived life at their own untroubled pace sure in the belief that Allah would take care of them. In Morocco they take time to sit and smell the roses or ,more aptly the mint tea for at this time of year the sun has scorched the roses into pot pourri on their bushes, baked to a crisp in situ on their stems.. Gosh it was great.

Practical details..well we flew easyjet from Paris to Marrakesh, cheap flight ,jolly and efficient cabin crew great with kids. We stayed in two wonderful places DALSAL http://www.villarenters.com/villas/essaouira--villa-to-rent-21022-sum.asp in Essaouira and at a small Riad hotel in Marrakesh http://chouiachouia.online.fr/ run by the charming Monsieur Olive and his staff. I would happily stay in either place again.

Peter Bowles the author translator, composer, and ethnomusicologist often asked of fellow Americans he encountered in Morocco what they thought to find on their travels to North Africa, and he claimed , almost all without exception answered the same thing” regardless of the way they expressed it, the answer…is a sense of mystery. They expect mystery, and they find it.” He should know he lived in Morocco for over 50 years. I don’t know what I was looking for in Morocco, whatever it was it has captured my heart.

I have over a thousand photographs, ah the joys of digital photography, and even allowing for the removal of family ones of small children playing in the sand that is far too many to share with you without reducing you to a catatonic trance. So what to do ? For I am sure its the pretty pictures and not the travellers tales you will sigh over. These do not do justice, the whole place is just so magnificent that nothign will convey it in its true entirety. Here then a few vignettes that caught my eye. enjoy them and then go and visit yourself. There is after all only a fine line between armchair traveller and couch potato.

Our first resting place was the old town of Essaoura..fortifications built by a student of the architect who designed St Malo and once called the port of Timbuktu as it was the gate to the east and the import of spices.. fought over by French and Portuguese and later loved by Jimmy Hendrix....

Music whilst you dine madame? your delight and delectation are the musicians at Essaoura with their home made instruments made from car parts and discarded hose pipe. Eat your heart out Blue Peter.



My friend the camel on whom I trotted across desert sands along the edge of the sea , just him and his brothers and us and a friendly Berber guide. Please note his rather fine rag rug saddle cover. There is a 6 day trip rom here to Agadir by camel..if you lose me you know where to find me...


The local bread shop and the spice stalls

Fishing boats and there catch..





They don't do the place jsutice, they only remind me of small things I saw and that happened so mean littel to you. But none the less they are Morocco for me. Later, one I have caught up with my own tale I shall tell you abit about Marrakech and bore you with more photographs...you can either hold your breath in eager anticipation or change channel. The choice is yours. Meanwhile as the Morrocans say..May you travel with God.




15 comments:

Crystal Jigsaw said...

It looks and sounds fascinating. And you have obviously had a wonderful time.

CJ xx

Fennie said...

Rather glad to be, quite by accident, the first to comment for a feel just the same sense of wonder and excitement, though I suspect, one's sense of mystery might crack a bit in the parched aridity of 55 degrees or the endless rocking bounce of the camel, ragrug saddle or no, and the blinding fierceness of that desert light that no amount of sunglasses could dim. But the sense of timelessness and placelessness and boundlessness must make up for a lot. The sights, sounds and smells as you have so evocatively described them, strong enough to waft down the ether and out again on the ventilation shafts of our Cowarts Academy. So more pics (and words) please and so glad you had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing it.

mountainear said...

North Africa is fairly close to the top of the list of places to visit do my breath is definitely held in eager anticipation of the next installment. Give me more of those wonderful sights, sounds and smells. How exotic and strange it seems for somewhere easyjet-able.

Thank you for the links to places to stay. We'll get there one day.

JJ said...

No, on the contrary, your pictures really have captured some Morocco for those of us that haven't been there. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to seeing some more.

Frances said...

Well, Un Peu, what you have written and photographed and posted here has surely given my hesitating a wanderlust a good, old push! Merci bien.

Isn't it grand when a place you've yearned to see for a very long time actually turns out to be even more magical, for you, than you'd even expected?

I am really looking forward to seeing more of the posts!

xo

Preseli Mags said...

Wow (say I in armchair potato style!) Fabulous pictures of a wonderful trip. I'd love even some of that heat right now (cold and wet here today, as ever). I can't wait for part the second, etc. xxPM

Blossomcottage said...

Thanks for the excellent trip, my lovely hubby wants to go to Morocco and I have been a little to say the least anti, but you have enspired me to give it a go one day. the photographs give a wonderful feel of the the place and i shall certainly look into the places you stayed. My reservations now are the heat, not sure about 55 degrees!!!!!
Blossom

lampworkbeader said...

More, more. I want more! Pictures and comment ...

snailbeachshepherdess said...

You revel in this lifestyle dont you? I so remember the post entitled Camels. But we do need more please Un Peu ...loads more please... its like being given a ride on a magic carpet

CAMILLA said...

Bonjour Un Peu,

Sounds like a fab holiday, lucky you, serious envy here, although 55 degrees may be a tad hot for me, I am of the celtic skin, sigh.....

Wonderful colourful pictures Un Peu, would be interesting to learn more about the food menu's, I presume hot.!

Thank you for sharing with us, look forward to hearing the next instalment and seeing some more gorgeous pics.

Camilla.xx

ChrisH said...

I had a terrible time in Morocco but I did return with some natty slippers (alas, now gone)! I'm glad that you had such a good experience and look forwards to reading more.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Wow, it looks amazing. I too am looking forward to more.

Grouse said...

Oh! UP!!!! Thank you so much for including that clip! As you know, my wanderlust WAS entirely inspired by the road films I watched as a child....wonder whether you can get them on CD?

Another, vivid account of your travels......what fantastic experiences for the children....

exmoorjane said...

oh oh oh oh oh.........it's darn well booked for the summer holidays but not remotely surprised. gazing out at the two foot of snow I simply can't think of anywhere I'd rather be........

Shall return.......
jx

Millionaire Maker Free DVD said...

Thanks for writing this topic, with so many details. Very useful