Posts Tagged ‘Safi’

Another Day of Marrakesh, Then One in the Altas Mountains

May 1st, 2008 at 2:51 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

We’re pretty beat. The Lindblad/National Geographic folks have been keeping us very busy, and we’re about to head out again for a final dinner in Marrakesh in a few minutes, so no time for photos right now, alas, nor much verbiage (and I’m sure there will be rejoicing as a result of that).

Yesterday we went back into the Souk, visited the leather workers, metal workers, and a then had a presentation at an herbalist’s shop about a variety of herbs that can be used to treat various ailments, or improve various conditions. These ranged from getting rid of migraines to removing wrinkles. Pretty entertaining and interesting. The herbalist shop also offered various spices and oils for cooking – we’ll be experimenting with those when we get home.

We also visited the Medersa Ben Youssef, formerly a school/college where the Koran was studied, and saw how students lived, and where the performed their ablutions. Shopping followed.

After lunch back at the hotel, we visited the Koutoubia Mosque (outside only, as non-Muslims are not permitted inside), the Saadian Tombs (interesting, but the highlights for many appeared to be a rare (for us) owl and live tortoise living wild on the property, and the Bahia Palace (stunningly beautiful). We also observed that wild white storks have made nests upon most of the tall buildings around, which are mostly the towers of mosques. Storks reportedly bring good luck (in addition to bringing babies).

Dinner was in the beautiful setting of the Beldi Country Club, a few minutes outside Marrakesh. We were entered by Ganoui tribal musicians as we walked across lantern lit, rug covered paths. Excellent ambiance and food.

This morning we had an early start as we boarded one of 25 or so Land Rovers to take a tour of part of the nearby Atlas mountains, home to a number of Berber villages and tribes. Amazing views and scenery, as well as views of daily village life. Most terrifying incident was when Diane was almost taken down by a horde of urchins (little Berber kids) hoping to get some coins from her. The twisty turny narrow roads were pretty harrowing too. We had lunch at a very pretty hideaway in the mountains called La Rosarie – a place filled with flowers (mostly roses).

When it was time to return to Marrakesh, Linda and the kids returned to the hotel while I went with a small group of about ten people to visit the Dar Si Said Museum and look at some historical artifacts. The museum was mildly interesting, but in serious need of upkeep.

And dinner tonight is set for the heart of the medina at the Stylia restaurant, where we are to be greeted by blue men of the desert holding lit torches.

Maybe there’ll be a chance for photos later tonight or tomorrow – we’ve taken hundreds.

Tomorrow we head to Safi to board the National Geographic Endeavour and do some exploring of Safi itself.