Saturday, February 24, 2018

this time Marrakech

More fine plaster work, painted woodwork and gardens, splendid mosaics and another fascinating medina ...
The mausoleum of the Royal family
with gold ceilings

The Bahai Palace which is now a museum, was built in 1866-67 with more than 150 rooms, including a harem section, courtyards and gardens. Visitors see only a portion, including council rooms with impressive fireplaces and painted cedar work, and a large riad surrounded by citrus trees


 a painted ceiling
Some scenes from walking around the streets - 
 Numerous herbalist shops
 the street stalls

evidence of  change
 Inside the medina, the alleys were not as narrow as in Fes.
 the metal workers
 the dyers and their dyes
 leather slippers
 olives, preserved lemons and pickled peppers
The Jardin Majorelle, a garden of exotic and rare cacti species from around the world, was established by French painter Jacques Majorelle in 1917, and he painted all the walls 'Majorelle Blue'. It was opened to the public in 1947 but closed on his death in 1962. Bought by Yves St Laurent and Pierre Berge in 1980 it was restored  and reopened. It now houses a very fine Berber arts museum (no photos allowed there)


Next time th last stop - Essaouira

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

back to the travels

A short excursion from Fes took us to see the button makers in Balil, a small village where many of the old houses were built as caves in the hillside - about 23 remain.
Our friendly guide Mohammed took us to his family cave home. His daughter and her family live there now, while he lives above it.
They gave us traditional  mint tea, served with ceremony, and poured from a great height! Then we saw some of the local village women sitting together to make the little buttons which commonly decorate the jelabas of both men and women. They look like little knots, but are made with a crochet hook, and come in many sizes, from about 1/4 inch up.
 Can't help wondering whether the younger generation will continue this tradition?

Travelling on to the High Atlas Mountains and Marrakech we saw

macaque monkeys in a forest area
a peacock and a pea hen in the gardens of our hotel (he didn't oblige and display his tail for me)
 along with a cactus in bloom - not really. They are bouganvillea flowers caught on the spines
a town market
and rising higher into the mountains, panoramic views of the green plains under agriculture,

the roads winding up and down the mountains,

snow on the peaks in the distance

the mighty Ouzid Falls at Azilal with a macaque welcoming committee
  with strangely brown falls after heavy rainfall during the night.

We shared a tasty tagine for lunch with local musicians playing traditional instruments

and travelled on to Marrakech, known for its many palm trees

This is the splendid minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest in Marrakech - no building can be built higher than it, so nothing in the city is more than about 5 stories high.
  We chanced on a wedding procession for the groom

 and found our way to our next splendid riad, hidden once again behind a very plain doorway.

 The rooftop dining area

looked out over the city. More about the city next time.