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Mark and Alison Nolting in Morocco - "Toes in the Sahara Desert"

- Thursday, January 04, 2018

Morocco! Contradictory and beautiful - a land where medieval and modern blend together to delight the senses. Mark and Alison Nolting and their two sons, Miles and Nicholas, spent the Christmas and New Year holiday in this magical country. Enjoy their pictorial trip report.


First day in Casablanca


Mega mosque


Imagine Miles and Nick feeling small


Habous area


Dinner in the medina at Sqala



Arrived Marrakech


Marrakech square Djemaa el fna


Walking into the souks in Medina



Sardines .. whiffs



                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Mellah area with spices


       Palais Bahia



Jardins majorelle - Yves st Laurent home



Arriving at our hotel - in the Medina and kasbah



                 Traditional hamman spa - haha Mark and I had the scrub down!   The hotel entrance - Riad La Sultana


Departing to Ait Benhaddou today



Out and about in Gueliz having lunch at Grand Cafe de la Poste



On the rooftop of fashionable El Fenn looking towards Atlas Mountains where we going next 


A handsome Seville orange in the garden of La Mamounia



The two tag alongs did 8 hotel and riad inspections today


Stunning views enroute to High Atlas




                                                                         Our wildlife sighting - mountain goats              Tagines viande on the menu tonight                                     Berber figs




                                                                       F inally here at the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou




                                                                  Many movies made here including Game of Thrones




                                                                                        Entering a Kasbah                                     Given the key to the door


This was a major stopover for the camel caravans bringing salt, gold etc from    Niger & Mali and meeting the spice and silk nomads from the North




Today we visited Quarzazate and Skoura Oasis



Kasbah Taourirt was an old Pasha home




Feeling like we in a movie with all the film studios around




                                                                                            An old German canon given to the Pasha - boys and their toys.

                                                                                       The local guide Aziz gave a great tour



Down in the Skoura Oasis valley



Winding down olive grove road to Kasbah Dar Ahlam





                                                                                                              Another inspection                                               Great guest relations who grew up in the oasis



                                                                                           Overripe dates for picking                                                                  Piscine at Alkababba



                                                                                                     Deux piscine at Dar Arhlam                                                            Invitation for Moroccan tea



Setting sun on New Years Eve





Ringing in the New Year with a show at our Riad Ksar Ighnda



Absolutely brilliant time visiting Tinghir, Erfoud, Merzouga and our Sahara desert camp




Valley of Roses



Fertile valleys around every mountain pass  



                                                                                               Berber girl portrait                                                    Berber Mums posing at the Gorge near Tinghir



A nomadic Berber and her herds 




                                                                            The donkey taxi                                                           Choosing our camel to ride into camp



                                                                                                   Full moon rising as we arrived                                           A half hour later and the mood was epic




Some desert harmony




Our caravan of camels to do the sunrise ride and we watched the moon dipping down too



                                                                                                                                 Desert Bandits!





Well worth the 7 hour winding drive to have the classic pose the next morning!



Possibly fennec fox?



Our final countdown - in Fez



The Meeting at the Palace gate - late in traffic so missed our appointment by a few minutes with King Mohammed VI


The Bab Bou Jeloud - Blue Gate entrance into old Medina




Medersa Bou Inania - where they stayed and studied in 13th century. Merenid architecture



University of Al Karaouine - oldest university in the world dating back to 9th century


                                                      Fondouk Nejjarine museum - the merchants stayed here overnight to barter                      Selling walnut bark - use as a lip balm






                                                                                                               Ceramic workshop Art Naji                                                      Serrafine souk - pounding brass and copper



                           Silver teapots - mint flavor rules 


The souq has three tanneries - the Choura is oldest



                                                                                                                                                                                                   A new appreciation for Medina doors




                                                                                                         Escargot soup - smelt so delicious                                          Saffron couscous - off to dinner at Riad Fez



Nourdine was our guide for the day - very interesting with all the history facts


Buying cherimoyas - delicious sweet and juicy fruit from Peru. The favorite of our guide





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