Morocco, A Visual Journey

May 28th, 2018, 04:39 PM
  #41  
 
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Your photos are gorgeous. Makes me want to visit even more. I cannot wait until you get to Fez and Marrakech.
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May 28th, 2018, 05:07 PM
  #42  
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Thanks, tripplanner! Fes is coming up soon enough...hopefully in the next few days Iíll be able to post them. Itís definitely a visual journey!
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May 28th, 2018, 05:08 PM
  #43  
 
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Hi TP! Having read some of your TR's I think you would find a lot to enjoy in Marrakech.
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May 30th, 2018, 12:00 PM
  #44  
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Wow, you weren't kidding when you said the theme was color! It seems like India in that regard. In fact the blue of Chefchaouen reminds me of the old residential neighborhoods in Jodhpur. And I like how you managed to frame your shots not just for good composition but also to avoid other tourists, making the mood more purely Moroccan.
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May 30th, 2018, 12:35 PM
  #45  
Ian
 
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Originally Posted by progol View Post
Itís definitely a visual journey!
Exactly. It is a stunning country with so much contrast.

Following along with you . . .

Ian
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May 30th, 2018, 03:27 PM
  #46  
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rje, the experience is reminiscent of India with the intensity of color and texture - and Chefchaouen did remind us a little of Jodhpur because if it’s blue. Chefchaouen is BLUE and hits you over the head with it! I think Jodhpur is a little more subtle!

Ian, thanks! Glad you’re following along! The contrasts are amazing, and get increasingly so as the trip went along.
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May 31st, 2018, 01:52 AM
  #47  
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And a few more photos from Chefchaouen - it's beautifully sited in the mountains, which also adds to the vibrancy of the color...


A view of the mountains while walking through the town


Love the fountain!


Another view with the mountains



From the Kasbah



And the classic Welcome to Morocco! Here at the lovely Riad Cherifa!

Last edited by progol; May 31st, 2018 at 02:20 AM.
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May 31st, 2018, 03:29 AM
  #48  
 
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Absolutely marvellous pictures Progol. The colors of the charismatic culture brought out in its raw vividness.Thank you.
There is no single definite characteristic to Morocco,its pluralistic society, the diversity of the spirit and the landscape adds to the overall experience.Quite easy for anyone to lose their way in the delightful country..A culture that is well embedded in the warps and wefts of this ancient land. May its stay the way it is.
Following you!! Any details of the culinary adventure that you experiences there? Sure must have tried the Moroccan Lamb Tagine or a cup of Maghrebi mint tea offered by the rug dealer, a ploy to get you to buy his wares......ha ha !!... all too familiar.
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May 31st, 2018, 03:51 AM
  #49  
 
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Rje as you rightly pointed out,as in Jodhpur, Chefchaouen too is cobalt blue. It truly stands out against the starkness of the surrounding landscape. One reason I'm told is the copper sulphate mixed with paint repels termites. Its also the color of Lord Shiva ( or 'Neelkant", one of the movers & shakers in the hindu pantheon) is blue. So the followers have painted the town blue.
A good possibility that the townsfolk of Chefchaouen worship the Smurfs
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May 31st, 2018, 05:41 AM
  #50  
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Thanks, inquest, for your wonderful comments! Morocco is indeed a country with vast contrasts, and these photos don't even begin to hint at the diversity! We were lucky to have the most warm and open man, Salem, as our driver. He taught us much about the culture and invited us into his family home. He is a Berber, and what was especially eye-opening was learning that the country is 70% Berber, a pre-Arab culture that is itself very diverse.

Our culinary experience was also rather diverse, but not always that remarkable. We did have numerous tagines - chicken with preserved lemon was probably the most successful -- but our best (more upscale) meals were in Fes at Dar Seffarine and in a small local-style restaurant nearby, where we had the best chicken pastilla and grilled meat. We ate with Salem in several grill-style restaurants, but our favorite meal (though not the best) was in a large tent at a local event, where we sat on the floor among other local folks and ate grilled chicken and lamb that we purchased there. Photos to come later

We had Moroccan (Mahgrebi) tea everywhere! It was the thing!

Speaking of tea, did anyone notice the teapot handle cover? This really amazed us -- these covers represent the black African slaves that were brought to Morocco who served royalty and wealthy families; and so our tea is being "served" to us by these "slaves", too!
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May 31st, 2018, 06:18 AM
  #51  
 
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"A good possibility that the townsfolk of Chefchaouen worship the Smurfs "
Best explanation I have heard!

Love the photo looking out to the mountains. The colors are so incredible.
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May 31st, 2018, 06:32 AM
  #52  
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[QUOTE=yestravel;16738651]"A good possibility that the townsfolk of Chefchaouen worship the Smurfs "
Best explanation I have heard!

Missed that one! That's a good one!
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Jun 1st, 2018, 04:45 AM
  #53  
 
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I'm sure Salem was indeed a boon and made a big difference. Often hiring a local adds deep insight and a sense of fun into the journey, apart from contributing to the industry.The perspective is completely different and something even google can't replace. Fascination, as one travels, only grows when you discover more about the background which only a local can offer.

Progol, I would not like to disrupt your sequence & thought process with my silly questions about food. Will look forward to it when it arrives during your rendering .So please do continue to enthral us with your beautiful photo narrative.

I did take a look at the handle on the tea pot,in the photo, after you mentioned it. An interesting frame story.In fact I did become a 'slave' myself to the Mahgrebi Mint Chai,for I would brew and have pots of it every day, back home.Those cookies look yummy as well.
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Jun 1st, 2018, 10:31 AM
  #54  
 
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Wow, love the blues. Such beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing!
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Jun 1st, 2018, 11:34 AM
  #55  
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inquest, thanks again for the thoughtful words. I can't praise Salem enough, truly. He was a lovely companion for both of us, with (as you say) deep insight and a sense of fun. And he spoke so many languages (including Japanese, as he lived there for a long time!). Our trip was greatly enhanced by having him. No worries about the food questions - I'll answer them to my best of my knowledge with the limited experience we have had. Glad you enjoyed the history of the tea pot handle cover; some places have stopped using them because of their meaning, but they are still used. Of course, mint tea was one of the most wonderful traditions we experienced - every riad and other accommodation would bring out a pot of tea, glasses, and a plateful of cookies, just like that. Most made it with fresh tea, although a few might've removed the tea leaves. I did like it when the tea leaves were left in. I could use a pot of mint tea right now!

althom- thank you again! Glad you're enjoying the blues (I can hear the music in the background now! And I'm thoroughly enjoying your photos in Patagonia -- a very different visual experience! It really looks like an amazing trip!
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Jun 3rd, 2018, 02:50 AM
  #56  
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And back to the trip.... time to leave the color blue behind and discover a whole new set of colors and textures... we are off to Fes today, but making a few stops along the way.

The first stop: Volubilis, a World Heritage site, beautifully sited on a foothill of the Jebel Zerhoun mountain, a fertile agricultural region. An important town, that was the home for multiple civilizations. Founded in the 3rd century BC as the Mauretanian capital, later becoming one of the most remote cities of the Roman Empire. But it's the sense of the place that is remarkable - it was clearly once an important city, the extent of the city clear from the remains of the buildings and the many mosaics that are there. I'm thrilled when we get to visit the ruins of ancient cultures, and this one was special. We hired a guide at the site, but found him to be pretty limited. We had no idea what was true or not, but he gave a rote presentation of the site. Still, the site itself is fantastic to visit.







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Jun 3rd, 2018, 03:12 AM
  #57  
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The day we visited was stellar - but it was also warm and dry. The mosaics are impressive to see, but we are told that to get the full impact, we should be there after a rain.










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Jun 3rd, 2018, 03:18 AM
  #58  
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And just a few more....






and what ancient goddess is this?!
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Jun 3rd, 2018, 04:54 AM
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Love the photo of you among the columns.

I know you've mentioned having a driver with you helped ward away some of the hasslers. Did you had him with you in the city centers or did you wander on your own? How pervasive and persistent were the hasslers when you were alone?
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Jun 3rd, 2018, 05:07 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by tripplanner001 View Post
Love the photo of you among the columns.

I know you've mentioned having a driver with you helped ward away some of the hasslers. Did you had him with you in the city centers or did you wander on your own? How pervasive and persistent were the hasslers when you were alone?
Thanks for the compliment, tripplanner! I'm a bit partial to the photo myself!

We had guides with us for part of the day in Fes and Marakech; only city-licensed guides are allowed to to take you around. Salem is not a city-licensed guide, so he didn't provide that service for us. He was hired as our driver by the small company I worked with directly. If I were to go back, I would work directly with Salem and his company (Moroccan Family).

And as to the pervasiveness and persistence of hasslers when we were alone --- constant! Especially in Fes and in Marrakech. This was one of the difficult aspects of the trip. The hustle is aggressive, with people (generally young men) sometimes attaching themselves to us, following and talking with us about something they want us to see/buy/do. At times, we actually did go along with it, and naturally (!), we would be asked (or told!) to give them something for their services. Sometimes, it was uncomfortable, other times, we just went along with it. But it was pretty constant. Saying "No" barely stops anyone! It was very wearing after a while. It's why I commented at the beginning of this trip report that my feelings about the trip were complex. I hope this answer helps.

Last edited by progol; Jun 3rd, 2018 at 06:06 AM.
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