Suitcase and World: January 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Memories of Morocco.

Every country I go to has something that makes it special.  For me, there is so much about Morocco that is special and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the time that I spent there.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Homeward bound.

Today, we're headed home.  As always, I'm looking forward to going home and being able to sleep in my own bed but at the same time, I'm sad that the trip is coming to and end.  It's been a wonderful trip and as usual, I leave with a wealth of precious memories.

Our last views of Casablanca was of the Casa Voyageurs train station.  Not exactly exciting I know but most travel days are not.

Soon and I were at the train station there well ahead of our 9:05a departure time.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back to Casablanca.

It was a bright and early rise for us. We had a 9am train to catch but first we had to get to the train station. Everyone met back up in the dining room at 7:45a and headed out the riad back to the place where we caught our taxi two days ago. This time, we got two Petit taxis for 50 dirhams each to take us to the Marrakesh train station. Soon and I piled into one and Aaron and Mildred into the other.  The two drivers followed each other through the streets of the medina.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A medersa, a museum and something Almoravid.

From the Saadian Tombs, Soon and I made our way around back through Bab Agnaou, heading towards Djemma el Fna. Our next destination was the Medersa Ben Youssef which was located stone's throw from our riad.

By now, we had gotten the lay of the land so we knew exactly how to get ourselves back to the square.

Resting spot. Saadian Tombs.

From Bahia Palace, we made our way back through the spice souk in search of the Saadian Tombs. We ended back at the neighborhood mosque two nights ago. signs to tell us where the Tombs were located and the map was absolutely useless. A nice woman pointed us in the right direction, down a narrow alleyway that ran alongside the mosque. Sure....we would have found this place had we just paid attention to small swarm of tourists going in and out of the alleyway:-)

Splendor in the medina. Bahia Palace.

Looking at our cheapie map, Bahia Palace didn't look like it was locate too far from El-Badi so we decided to head there next.  Of course, our map had no street names which probably didn't matter anyway since there aren't any street signs.  They sure don't make it easy for you to find your way around.  So frustrating at times.

We just started walking in the direction that we thought we had to go in.   I kept my eye out for any sign that would indication the direction to go in but no luck.

Royal ruins. El Badi Palace.

Today was our last day in Marrakesh and I intended to make the most of it. I had yet to see the main heritage sites so I told Soon that come hell or high water, I would see them today! Turned out that Aaron and Mildred wanted to go their own way so it was Soon and I going out to check the sites on our own.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Beauty by the sea. Essaouira.

Happy 2012! It may be a holiday back home but there is no rest for us here. Today we made a day trip from Marrakesh to the seaside town of Essaouira!

The plan was to leave the riad at 6:45am in the morning and catch a taxi to the place where we would meet up with the rest of the tour group. Yesterday, Soon and I had walked the path up to where Hassan told us we could find taxis waiting.

As the four of us walked out the door, it was barely daylight. I just hoped it wasn't too early for taxis to be at the wait.

The story of Argan.

Today, on our way to Essaouira, we passed through a region known as the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve which was established by UNESCO to protect about 2,560,000 hectares of endangered argan trees.  The nut of the argan tree (Argania spinosa) is the source of the argan oil that Morocco is world famous for.   Argan oil is unique to Morocco and I had it on my list of things to bring back with me.

Normally, I don't like factory tours but I'm hoping we get one today so I can get a bottle of the precious from the source.  So excited!