2008 Morocco Tour Group Journal

Day 13    Nov. 22, 2008
Submitted by Meredith Miniat mminiat@gmail.com
After a night in the square with our mouths open at the food vendors and the local entertainment, Saturday was quiet. We started out in the morning with a very nice breakfast and wonderful coffee.

This was to be the next to the last bus ride of the trip…Tom and Yunus were outside of our real 5 star hotel waiting for us with smiles on their faces. Were they smiling because this was the next to last time they would have to see us or were they smiling because they were happy to see us….I will take the happy to see us! We had a quick tour of the city of Marrakesh which is very cosmopolitan and clean compared to Casablanca.

Marrakesh has a hotel with at least a thousand rooms not far(by bus) from the 16th century wall and the new palace that is being built for the brother of Muhammed VI. After this little sightseeing tour of the city we were
the picture by Carol Ries               waving goodbye to the bus until this evening. Walking shoes were a must on this trip!

We had a wonderful explanation of the items and herbs used in a spice factory. The room was filled with jars of spices and herbs and aromas that made you feel good all over. The men in our group even had a special odor of their own put on their hands. Ah!!!!! I think that the most purchased item was the bar that you put in your closet to keep the moths away…it will last for 10 to 12 years wrapped in cotton…and it really smells good.

he picture by Carol Ries 

From the spice factory we went across the little alley and into the Musee of Art. It was a palace that has been renovated and they kept as much of the original tile work as 

possible. It truly is a beautiful monument to the way the palaces were built and speaks to the craft and talent of the Moroccan people. So here is this wonderful building and inside is history and work of local artists. From the daggers and jillabas to the ceramics, you see the story of the people…then you have the modern art displayed by the locals depicting the history…could have taken home at least 3 pieces of art if I had a van.

Dick and Judy Wood were my companions for the day and we walked the souk and of course bought more items to put in the van going home. Oh…I forgot that there is no van, but an airplane. Not a cargo plane either! Darn! Will have to use that extra bag that I brought! We had a great time in a store where I finally earned my stripes as a Berber barterer. Didn’t know I had it in me?

 After that experience, we headed to the square for lunch and landed on the terrace of the Les Terrasses de L’Alhambra. We beat the crowd and were able to enjoy the view…the smell from the sewer being repaired was not, however, conducive to a great lunch. Once the incense was gone…so were the smiles on our faces.

Dick hailed a horse and buggy and we headed back to the hotel. While we were crossing the square, we happened to notice the snakes and the monkeys that we didn’t see the night before…glad we were in the buggy. Harry and Carol had the special experience of meeting a snake and a monkey in or should I say on their person as did some others from our group.

We had enough time to take a nap this afternoon before we were to meet to go to the final night of the tour. The dinner was

the usual tagine, but what made this evening different and the food special was the fact that we were saying “so long” to some of the group that were leaving early in the morning. We had wine, food, music and very special friends to make this last night as a group one to remember. The setting was what you think of when you think of Morocco. The lattice work on the ceilings, the women in their garb and the music and dancing as well as the low tables and vibrant colors added to the Morocco Mystique.

We were riding the bus as a group for the very last time…I said a fond farewell to the back row of the bus and smiled as I remembered the conversations that took place in the back of the bus. The friendships that were formed, the laughing that made the miles disappear. We said “Shukraan” to Tom and Yunus and Haji and gave Meli hugs.


The memories of this trip are some of the best. The people were welcoming to us and very gracious. Did we have some difficult moments…sure but we were in a country that is still struggling to modernize. When you see the smiles on the children and see that they are dressed in clean clothes, you know that they take pride in who they are. Is the country as a whole ready for the traffic and the congestion of modern day life as we know it…I don’t think so. Not yet anyway!

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