After leaving Fes we had a lovely day's drive through the mountains
of Morocco (alas, no pictures). We traveled through some resort communities
that Ismail told us were the vacation spots for the people of Fes and Marrakesh.
I don't remember any of the names.
After arriving in Marrakesh,
we had the obligatory city tour. Our first notable sight was the
Koutoubia Mosque, built in the 12th century. The tower is a twin
to one in Seville.
building (note the similarity of the tower to the minaret above) houses
. These tombs, the resting place of more than 100 members
of the Saadian dynasty, were walled up from the early 18th century until
they were accidentally discovered during a French aerial survey of the
city in 1917. They have since been restored.
is a lovely courtyard and the interior of the building is elaborately
carved and decorated. The cenotaphs indicate the most prominent of the
tombs, others are indicated by tiling on the floor.
in Fes, we had a walking tour of the medina. I had somewhat recovered
my appreciation for the sumptuous interiors behind the plain or even
Every possible square inch of this "town
riad was elaborately carved, painted or inlaid with intricate marquetry.
in most urban centers with large numbers of tourists, there are many
carriages available to give tours. A unique feature of the carriages
in Morocco is that they were uniformly pulled by stallions. There were
no geldings to be seen. The only mare that I saw in the entire trip
was being hauled with her foal in the back of a pickup truck!
afternoon the group had an optional excursion to an equine extravaganza.
It may seem odd for a horsy person such as myself, but I am ambivalent
about equine extravaganzas. Therefore we declined. Instead we spent
the afternoon exploring the town and the souk (I still had a hope to
find some exotic tack). This street scene is just outside the entrance
to the souk.
is what the souk looks like inside. It is smaller than the one in Fes
but sufficiently crowded. I did find a couple of places that sold tack,
but none that appealed to me. We got lemon-wood spoons for
addition to various goods, there were numerous stalls that sold olives
of every description – both loose and preserved in jars. I had
seen black olives and olives of many shades of green, but this was the
first place I had seen pink olives.
visiting the souk, we walked through the nearby main square, the
The day had been drizzly and breezy. These fortune-tellers and henna
artists had set up shop protected by umbrellas.
We hunkered down for
the afternoon in a cafe overlooking the square. The following pictures
show the ebb and flow of visitors and commerce, but alas, cannot convey
the sound. By the evening, the square had been transformed into a massive
street eatery with many stalls and delicious aromas. As usual we were
too cowardly to partake.
At this early stage
groups gather around snake charmers and other street performers.
Vendors then began to arrive and set up their booths.
Booths are assembled and the
crowds had really begun to gather.
Most of the people were locals rather than tourists – another
advantage to traveling in the winter.
By this time we had drunk quite a bit of hot chocolate. Finding beer
in Morocco generally entails visiting a hotel catering to European clients.
On another day Ismail took us to a traditional shop selling cosmetics and
herbal remedies. We were encouraged to hang around and spend, spend,
spend. As noted above, I'm not a shopper, but I did think the wares
And then there was the carpet shop....
To see what skiing is like in Morocco, click your "back"
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