La Maison Arabe, a Riad in Marrakech
Nov11

La Maison Arabe, a Riad in Marrakech

When I first arrived in Marrakech with its wide boulevards stalled with traffic, chain hotels, modern buildings and palm trees, I felt disappointed. I could have been somewhere in Florida! But then I passed through the old city walls and a park where camels were sitting in a shady grove, smelled the exotic spices for sale in the medina, observed people wearing traditional jellabiyas, and heard the “call to prayer” from the minaret on...

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Marvelous Morocco
Aug13

Marvelous Morocco

Marvelous Morocco The only sound is the padding of the camel’s feet on sand. I rode under the stars out to the big red dunes to watch the sunrise near the Algerian border. A sandstorm the night before made it impossible to stay in tents as planned, but the morning was calm and clear. Later in the day, a thunderstorm cooled things down a bit. Turns out there is excellent cell phone service and Wi-Fi throughout Morocco, even out...

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Air Travel in Morocco

There are still airlines in this world that care about their passengers. Morocco’s national carrier Royal Air Moroc (RAM) is one of them. Here is the story. I was on my way from Marrakesh back to Istanbul via Casablanca where I had to change planes. A few minutes into the flight the captain came on to advise his passengers that the flight to Ouarzazate would take 15 minutes. Ouarzazate? I nearly jumped out of my seat. Had I...

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On the Hippie trail in Essaouira

One of the things I like best about Morocco is the amazing variety of sights and landscapes I can enjoy within comparatively short distances. That’s why I made Marrakesh my base on my recent visit. One day, I went over the Atlas mountains to the desert town of Ouarzazate. The next day, I headed in the opposite direction to Essaouria on the Atlantic coast. The drive takes about four hours on a very good, and straight, road. I did...

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Roller Coaster to Ouarzazate

I have just come back from a five day trip to Marrakesh, Morocco. Enticing as the rose-colored city is, the desert and the Atlas Mountains had an even stronger pull on my spirit of adventure. On the second day, I set off on a day trip to Ouarzazate, about 150 miles east of Marrakesh. Ouarzazate is a Berber name and means ‘without noise,’ a definition which refers to the town’s other name, “Gateway to the...

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Gateway to the Desert — Zagora, Morocco

Finding Zagora Morocco I have been to Morocco many times, seen all the famous places but I can never resist to return to Zagora. Located in the Draa Valley in southeastern Morocco close to the border with Algeria, Zagora is my personal Moroccan dream. Considering that I’m a history fan, love ancient sites and museums, this is somewhat surprising, because Zagora has none of it. It’s a smallish city which was only...

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Meandering Morocco, part two

For part one “J’Alla, J’Alla. Madam, give me bag. Very heavy. Not for lady to carry.” I watch in embarrassment as he is loaded with tonne after tonne. He just stands there obediently, no sign of resistance, not a complaint, just the odd blink and the occasional neigh. Finally, my mule is fully laden and ready to go!! I follow Ibrahim, my guide, up the winding mountain path, riddled with guilt, as I carry...

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Meandering Morocco, part one

I hold my breath. It’s a battle for survival. Should I dare? I finally decide to take the plunge. I make a dash for it as I dodge crazy motorcyclists and cross the chaotic, traffic-jammed road. I get to the other side and, miraculously, I’m still in one piece. Phew, made it. Just about. Marrakech is hot, humid and humming with activity – an eclectic mix of culture, Berbers clad in brown cloaks, men with long curly...

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Top 10 Marrakech

I haven’t been to Morocco yet. I came close while in southern Spain a few years back, but there just wasn’t enough time. The two hours ferry ride each way would have left me with a brief moment in Tangiers and a race against time to get to my plane in Sevilla. I am left to wonder about sand dunes, northern African Islamic architecture and dreamily riding the Marrakesh Express with Crosby, Stills & Nash bubbling in my...

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The Tastes of Jebel Sarhro, Morocco

After listening to the lyrics of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Marrakesh Express” and The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” over the years, Marrakesh and Morocco, in Northern Africa, were places that stuck in my head. I was curious to check them out. Since my vacations are few and far between, I like them to include both a decent hike or climb as well as discovering somewhere new. So after letting my fingers search the web, I signed up for a...

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