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Showing posts from December, 2015

The Tanneries - Fes

We were guided through an alleyway in the Medina of Fes, into a dark shop and up four flights of narrow uneven stairs to a leather shop.  We were handed a sprig of fresh mint and motioned to smell the mint. Nice fragrance.  We were led up two more flights of even narrower stairs and that is when the sprig of mint really started to come in handy.  There was a foul oder that got stronger as we got closer to the second leather shop.  We were in an open air room with the oder wafting in and the sprigs of mint placed directly under our noses.  Here we are, at the centuries old tanneries in Fes.  Now, the oder mind you is from pigeon droppings mixed with cow urine which is an excellent choice for removing hair and fat from the animal skins.


The circular earthen pits contain dyes made up of natural materials such as tree bark, poppies, mint, indigo and saffron.  The skins are soaked in the dye, sometimes in large stacks were the worker will climb in the pits with them and trample on them in…

Stops Along the Way - Morocco

We spent a fair amount of time getting from one place to another in Morocco.  Lots of time looking out the windows and shooting photos with my iPhone.  Here we have a vendor selling beverages, prickly pears and chickens maybe?  Note on prickly pears; there are everywhere along with olive trees, they are loaded, and i mean loaded with seeds.  I only ate one, at the Berber couple's house in the Rif and was spitting out the seeds in a paper towel trying not to draw attention to myself.  Our hosts didn't seem to notice.




The photo below is the view from the roof of one of the truck stops, where we had the best espresso ever!




One place we stopped was called the "Switzerland" of Morocco, the town of Ifrane.  It is a ski resort town in the Middle Atlas Mountains - we only stopped for a coffee and some French pastries.


And there were monkeys on the side of the road too.  We stopped and watched them run around for a bit.











Chefchaouen, Morocco

The "Blue City" was spectacular!  Winding alleyways, cobblestone streets and everything painted in shades of blue.  "There is a picture around every corner", our guide told us.  Fresh goat cheese, yogurt with honey, figs and melon were some of my favorites.  We had our first Tangine with lamb in the Western Market at a local butcher shop on the way from Casablanca.

We spent an afternoon in the Rif Mountains with a young Berber couple and hiked up one of the hills to for a panoramic view of the village of Chefchaouen. For three days we meandered though the streets observing the activities in the village and snapping photos.  At night the village really came alive, people crowed the streets and the plaza socializing and dining alfresco.













Hassan II Mosque - Casablanca

We visited the 3rd largest Mosque in the world at the beginning and end of our 21 day trip to Morocco.  Pictures cannot do it justice - it is enormous.  It can hold roughly 25,000 prayers inside and 80,000 outside on the grounds.  We were lucky enough to tour the inside. It was dark and the carpet was super soft on my bare feet.  While living in Saudi I was never able to enter as mosque let alone photograph one so this was a real treat. Ok, this wasn't actually my first mosque, we toured the interior of the Alabaster Mosque in Egypt back in 2011.  Quite a difference between the old and the new.  In the Hassan II Mosque were were also able to see the sub levels where the baths are located for washing prior to prayer.

View Inside the Hassan II Mosque