First and foremost: A heartfelt thanks to Ismail and Frank. The leaders on any organized trip are, of course, important. I felt that on this they were...
a) Particularly important to the trip's success, and...
b) Especially good at the jobs they were doing.
And credit must also go to the people back at "the office" of Strabo Tours, for even though the trip participants were most directly aware of that Frank, Ismail and our driver were doing for us, it must be remembered that a huge number of elements had to be in place for the trip to proceed so well and so smoothly. So... thank you.
Below: Frank, (in red), a fellow trip participant, and Ismail.
And my thanks and admiration to Strabo Tours for all they did, in the unglamours world of the trip planning, to set so many things in place for us, and for being a pleasure to do business with.
The trip was "a dream come true". I had been looking for "the right" trip to Morocco since at least 2005. To "do it right" isn't easy. For me, it needs to include at least Marrakesh, Fes AND travel into the Atlas mountains, and Erfoud (and beyond), to experience the Sahara. Have a look at a map.... that's some serious driving for someone. And there aren't the trains you might take for, say, London/ Madrid/ Florence.
My carpets... or, to be more accurate, a parcel which should be my carpets... have arrived! My joy will be complete when Frank can say his missing luggage has turned up. As of 27 Nov 13, that news has NOT reached me, alas. Indeed word that it has NOT yet turned up, as of a fairly recent date, has reached me. Sigh.
We had a close look at two of the major towns, Marrakesh and Fes. These are both in the coastal plain, in front of the various ranges of the Atlas mountains.
We also drove among and beyond the Atlas mountains... getting as far as the edge of the Sahara, and spending time in the high inter-mountain plains. Much of this area was strongly reminiscent of Colorado, with occasional patches similar to Utah and New Mexico.
The high country is a geologist's dream. I hope I will be able to say more on this aspect of the trip before time and energy run out, but at the moment, putting some photos from the trip on this page is a priority.
The country's level of "development" fascinated me, as is often the case when I travel. Most of my acquaintances live in a weird aberration of "life". Our lives are "unreal", in time: there's never been anything like our lives in all of human history... and in place: even in this era, there are very few places where people live as we do.
It is thought-provoking to visit "the real world".
In some, not all, regards, many of the people we traveled among live lives not unlike those of the "normal" English or American person of 200 or more years ago. And while I would not like to get appendicitis... or many simpler things... in the "real world", I do always have culture shock, and always need to re-inure myself to aspects of the "developed" world. "bigger" is most assuredly, for me, not every time better.
This website is in flux. Here's the plan: As new photos become available, they may get a moment in the sun below... but to keep the load time for this page moderate, it will evolve to holding just some of my favorites.
Forgive me if I flatter myself, but if you want to mention this site to anyone, http://tinyurl.com/morocco2013nov is slightly easier to pass on than the actual URL.
There is a page called "redistribute" where I am putting photos "temporarily". They may start on that page, not being quite good enough for the front page. And, eventually, they will be moved to more permanent subordinate pages of the main page, as material accumulates.
Sometimes the links to subordinate pages will come from "top" pictures on this page, and sometimes you will have to go to the site map at the bottom of this page to discover subordinate pages.
Oh dear... I was only going to give you little "peek" at Telouet... and then I wrote a page about Telouet, and there is more, oh so much more to do on this. I have, I admit, fallen to temptation, and done a tiny repair to a place where the... coving?... was damaged.
The following magnificent pile of red clay adobe in the morning sun is not at Telouet. It is at Ait Ben Haddou, not far from Telouet. You may recognize it!... It has been used as scenery in many movies, not least as it isn't too far from Morocco's "Hollywood". But it is also a UNESCO world heritage site. (Ever ask yourself what UNESCO stands for, by the way? I saw the full name on a sign at Ait Ben Haddou.)
Films with some scenes at Ait Ben Haddou: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Gladiator (2000), The Mummy (1999, dir. Sommers), Living Daylights (1987 Bond movie), Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
See also the alternative versions of this. What do you think?
Sorry... the left hand picture is required by the authorities before you are allowed to leave the country, but it IS me on one of the camels, and it is my picture... taken just after dawn, the camels having taken us, in the pre-dawn, up to a good vantage point for sunrise over the dunes. Read Revolt in The Desert, TE "Arabia" Lawrence's abridgement of his great opus, Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It will tell you a bit about travel by camel. Ours, thankfully, were not lousy. And they had sweet... or at least laid back... dispositions. No spitting, for instance.
Left hand photo above: © Frank Lavelle, 11/13. (It was taken by one of our tour's leaders a few minutes after the one you can see a little further down the page. My photographic subjects (plus two more village kids who had appeared) are negotiating for their modeling fees.)
I have started a page for Cats, Kids, etc. Here's one of my favorites so far.
Well, I'm glad SOMEONE was paying attention to the teacher, when Ismail "crashed" the kindergarten lesson in the Fez medina!
Our home for two nights. Ah. Umm. I have to add that it was like "camping in the back yard". It was as near as comfortable to a hotel with showers, and other amenities. But fun to "play at" camping!
This page is only it it's early stages. LOTS of photos to come!
Nov 2nd, 2013: Flew into Casablanca (A), just a "bedroom stop"
Nov 3rd: Straight into bus first morning, drove down to Marrakesh (B)... 130 miles, abut 4 hours, including getting out of Casablanca, and into the heart of Marrakesh to hotel.
Thence in stages across Atlas mountains (C) to The edge of the Sahara (D)
Nov 11: Up to Fes (E).
Nov 13: First to Rabat, then on to Casablanca at the end of the day, and out from the airport there to our various homes the next morning.
I created a Google map, which gives the outline of where we went. It is, as usual, zoomable, unlike the static image on the page here.
An unpleasant discovery, along the way to providing you with this! Google wouldn't let me look at the map just now (1 November 2013) unless I signed in with a Google account! New. And unwelcome.
Some of these, though not necessarily all, have links elsewhere, but I hope that all of the pages in my Morocco photo album are listed below....
Photos of cats, kids, etc.
Details of itinerary.
Photos of some of the hotels Strabo found for us.
Photos taken of buying and selling. Often from the medinas of Marrakesh or Fes, sometimes other places.
Town and village life, scenes.
Photos and information about the Glaoui kasbah (fortress) Telouet.
Maps of each day's travel, from Holux M-241 data logger.
Photos from the air journeys. (Many, not all, of London)
Miscellaneous photos, didn't "fit" elsewhere.
Photos to be re-distributed in due course.... a changing "feast".
In addition to those pages, there are a number of pages which are subordinate to one or more of the above. If you followed links assiduously, you will have seen these pages, but, just to be complete....
Ceramics workshops in Fes.
A magnificent mosaic... and a challenge.
This page © TK Boyd 11/13. Click here to contact him.
You are also invited to Tom Boyd's homepage, including Windows software for schools, kids, and others.
I have done a "menu" for you of links to reports with photos on trips to other destinations. (It will open in a new window or tab.)
Page tested for compliance with INDUSTRY (not MS-only) standards, using the free, publicly accessible validator at validator.w3.org. Mostly passes. There were two "unknown attributes" in Google+ button code. Sigh.
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