October 1, 2014

Fantastic Summer . . .

So many wonderful things have happened in such a short time. It seems like I've been running from one  thing to another with little time in between. Now that I've had a little time to catch up, I'll work backwards through some of my summer adventures.

The most exciting part was a trip to Morocco and Spain! The whole trip began because my husband had to go to Marrakech for business; so we decided to make a vacation out of it. We spent a week in Marrakech at the Palmeraie Palace and then went to Spain for two weeks. It was a fantastic vacation, much better than I ever imagined. The Palmeraie was a beautiful resort on the outskirts of Marrakech. They had everything you could want, great restaurants, spa, pool, shopping and golf. They took credit cards, the food was safe and delicious and they gave us bottled drinking water, remember this is Africa and we had to get Typhoid shots.

Back of the Palmeraie Palace and lake

Palmeraie Palace has the largest golf course in Africa

Ornamental cutouts in the hallways

Great tile work in lobby

Beautiful pool and lush tropical setting

As beautiful as the resort was, it wasn't the reason I was there. It was time to discover the real Marrakech. I hopped in the hotel van that dropped guests at the Medina in the Old City. Wow  . . . now this is different! What an odd mix of ancient customs and modern conveniences.

Donkeys, horses, cars, pedestrians, camels, bicycles and motorcycles all share the road.

Odd Couple

The Old City is where you want to go for people watching and shopping (haggling) in the souks. If you don't haggle, you will end up paying way too much for everything! The souks (marketplace) isn't for the faint of heart, however, it's an experience than shouldn't be missed. Be prepared to get lost and be prepared to pay a guide to lead you out of the miles of maze like tunnels. At one point during a haggling session for a camel backpack, the Berber salesman stopped and asked me if I was part Berber. Apparently, that was a compliment because I ended up getting the backpack for the price I wanted.

The Medina is quiet during the day but the snake charmers come out at night.

One of the tributaries leading into the Souk.

Storefront in the Souk.

Olive Stall

Dyer's Souk (red dye day)

Natural Dyes, Pigeon poop is used as a discharge agent

Door in the Souk

Changes are happening quickly and you can almost feel the growing pains. We discussed the construction of the New City with a local. He said that it didn't exist until 2000 and now they have high rise apartments and shopping centers. The cost of living has risen considerably and he was having a hard time making ends meet. Needless to say, he didn't like the changes but that's the way most people feel about change everywhere.

My opinion: They could use some traffic lights and rules. Their controlled chaos way of driving leaves a lot to be desired.

No comments :