Thursday, January 18, 2018

two weeks in Morocco

During 2017 I went with 3 friends to Morocco for a couple of weeks, of course looking at textiles wherever possible. Loved the trip and all that we saw - it was a trip for the senses, with sights, sounds, textures, tastes and smells topped with fabulous decoration, craftsmanship and colour.
I've been asked why I hadn't posted pictures, so here goes... Choosing just some pictures from the many is difficult. It will take a few posts...

We flew to Dubai and then on to Casablanca. It's a very busy commercial/industrial centre and port, but the must see, is the amazing Hassan II Mosque. It is the largest mosque in Morocco, built in the 10 years to 1993. Just a few of the details - the minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed to Mecca. It stands on a promontary looking out to the Atlantic Ocean. The walls are of hand crafted marble, the roof is retractable, the big external doors are titanium and a maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer - 20,00 men and 5000 women inside and another 80,000 in the outer grounds.

 Then we travelled on to the capital Rabat, along the Atlantic coast
  ... saw a demonstration in the city centre
 ... saw one of the many palaces. They are all guarded by 3 services - the palace guards, gendarmes and military
 ... saw the Royal mausoleum with its stunning interior and exterior decoration

 and the ruins of a roman temple in front,
 alongside the city mosque

Close up photos of the guards in their colourful uniforms, here on the forecourt and guarding the mausoleum both inside and out, are encouraged whereas it is not allowed at the palace gates. Splendid embroidery on the horse.
The holes in the old mud brick walls are left from the wooden scaffolding during construction. They've not been filled as they serve as expansion gaps. 

Near this complex was a small market area taking advantage of the tourists,
Water sellers traditionally sold cups of water for a few dirham, the water being poured from camel leather bags into brightly polished brass or tin cups. Today these costumed water sellers frequent the tourist spots making money not from selling water but from vacationers who pay to photograph them.

 Also on offer was henna painting. The paint caked off soon after but the stain stayed with me for about a week.
Then to Kasbah Oudaias on the site of the 12th century ribat or fortress-monastery that gave the city its name. Renovated many times over the centuries it has been home to Arab tribes, Andalusian immigrants and some of the country's most powerful sultans. Predominantly residential now, its narrow streets are lined with whitewashed houses, most of which were built by Muslim refugees from Spain. Loved the painted doorways and leafy courtyards.

From there we travelled to Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains. That can wait until next time, but a note to finish on - the place names present some pronunciation challenges when they string 4 vowels together!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

my mad March

It is a wonderful, crazy time in Adelaide each March. There is so much happenning, with the Clipsal Adelaide 500 car race, Adelaide Festival (of arts), Fringe Festival, Womadelaide (world music festival), Writer's Week and more. I haven't booked for anything yet this year, but I did get to and enjoy a few things in 2017 including the brilliant Australian premiere of Barrie Kosky's opera Saul, and the opening concert with Neil Finn in Elder Park below
To add to that I fitted in a few more things -
Walking around the city I photographed a couple of less well known, side views of notable Adelaide buildings - the  the much loved State Library Mortlock Building, and the Adelaide Oval

This leads me to the inside of the Adelaide Oval. I took a tour with several other family members (I gave them all vouchers as Christmas presents) of the oval which underwent a major re-development a few years ago   The tour was really interesting. As the home of the Adelaide Cricket Club there is so much history incorporated from the old complex, the structure is quite amazing and there is so much that  goes on behind the scenes, upstairs and downstairs so to speak. For the more daring there are tours around the top of the 'sails'

There is a new digitised scoreboard but the old iconic wooden one was kept and they still put up who's playing who on it. Inside it was fascinationg -  a cramped rabbit warren with flaps and peep holes, wooden name boards and number for scores, pulleys and several flights of steps, hot and stifling in summer, and cold in winter. It was apparently very crowded with men dashing up and down the whole time. Not the greatest photo as they were doing some work on it before the start of the football season.

The last picture taken from one of the balconies, looks back over Elder Park and the city. The huge complex is used for all manner of events now. They have alternate cricket pitches being grown out the back, and they can transform it from a rock concert arena to a soccer field, football or cricket oval in a couple of days.

We also visited the David Roche Foundation museum and gallery of fine arts. It is the result of a life time of collecting of superb pieces by one man. (see it at )  These are 2 fine needle-work pieces and some beautiful tassels on drapes that David Roche had specially made copying those in places like Versailles Palace.

A little later in the month I visited one of the jewels of South Australia - Kangaroo Island - with my daughter and her partner. It is quite close to home, being about 45 minutes to Cape Jervis and a 1 hour ferry ride, but as always priorities to travel elsewhere mean one doesn't necessarily go there often. It was actually about 30 years since our last visit which Rachel was too young to remember, but coincidently we booked into the same accommodation at Hanson Bay. It was all that I remembered  and more. This was the view from our cabin.

 and here are just a few other photos.
Cape Willoughby Lighthouse and old whale bones

 Don't know why or how come, but spotted these turkeys beside the road.

 Typical scrubland
 and I loved these chomped leaves.
You can't not see a koala. There are concerns that they are over populated which is stressing and denuding the trees. We spotted them in the open, but these photos were taken in a wildlife park, where you have more chance of seeing them up close - and we were lucky.

 Well I'm off!

Another well known spot is Remarkable Rocks - huge granite boulders in strange weatherd shapes.

Nearby is Admiral's Arch

Spotted these pelicans on Island Beach

 Just collecting my dinner -
and these kangaroos seemed quite at home
I could go on but I'll end with this sign from one of the towns!