Tuesday 22 November 2022

Morocco part 2

 This time last month I was in Morocco, enjoying the beautiful warm weather and exotic sights and sounds.

I left my last blog post talking about our time in the Sahara Desert. After that it was a long drive in the coach to Fes, the oldest city in Morocco.  Luckily, we travelled in a luxury coach and we were able to have two seats each. We drove through the new city of Fes first and although it seemed huge, I didn't notice any building higher than 10 stories.

The streets were so narrow near our accommodation that the bus had to drop us off and we walked to the Riad. From the outside, it didn't seem much but when we went through the door, it was magnificent. This was the dining room where we ate the first night and had our breakfast.

Everywhere we turned seemed to be a picture postcard.

We had a busy day where we drove past one of the King's Palaces (He stayed their during Covid) on the way to a pottery manufacturing place.

We saw how they made and decorated all the pottery by hand.

I particularly loved the water fountains, they actually have them around the town and people use them.

We had a guided tour around the Medina, which is the old market that consists of over 9,200 alleyways and has been operating for over 1,000 years. Luckily, we had a guide or we could have got very lost. Everything you could imagine was for sale, meat, fruit, clothing and home d├ęcor. 
There are lots of different date stands, they even have a date festival every year.

We went to the old tannery where they hand-make the leather, we were given some mint leaves to hold on our nose if the smell became too much, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We were taken to one of the leather shops afterwards, I purchased a new wallet because mine was falling apart. Some people had a leather jacket made especially for them.

Leather Shop

We went to a weaving shop where we saw them weaving and then they showed us how to tie a turban. We each had a different colour depending on what we were wearing.

Me in my turban

Next, we visited a shop that made hand embroidered tablecloths and napkins, the work was exquisite, the back just as neat as the front. They said that they use DMC threads because they are so colour fast and reliable.

We also went to a thread and embellishment shop that was lined with silk threads. Here am I in front of one wall.

Here is a close up of the thread, it is actually wound onto bamboo sticks.

I bought some thread and braid to use as a holiday challenge for the Waverley Art Quilters Group. I think the thread might be hard to use though, you wouldn't want to have rough hands or rough finger nails. I suppose we'll find out when we do the challenge. I went to a few fabric shops but we could only see polyester fabrics, I don't know what they use it for because I didn't see anyone wearing it!

On the way to our next city we went to Volubilis to see the ancient Roman Ruins. I think they were discovered in the 1950's and all the statues and marble has been taken to the museums. They are trying to restore what is left.


We had a guide take us around, I still find it amazing how advanced the Romans were.

Here is one of the floor mosaics that they have uncovered. The man in the centre is Hercules.

Roman Floor

Our next place was the famous blue city of Chefchaouen, which was founded in 1471. I loved visiting this city, blue was always my favourite colour growing up and I think it may be again.

It was another beautiful day and so we went for a walk and took some photos overlooking the town.

Of course our accommodation was gorgeous as usual.

Before dinner on our last night there, we gathered for some afternoon tea and photos. We all brought our door project that we had been working on during our trip.

We were getting towards the end of our holiday and the reality was being felt by us all.

Our last day was spent in the capital city of Rabat, a much more modern town but it still retained the attention to detail that Morocco is famous for.

Doorway in Rabat

Below is a photo of the foyer in the Riad that we were staying in.

The market was a short walk away from our accommodation but it had a much more modern look and there were many more people in Western style clothes and much more English was spoken and not as much bartering for goods.

Rabat market

I had a photo taken with a women dressed up as a water seller. In the olden days they used to wear these outfits and sell water to people, but not these days.

Water seller

Before our final dinner of the trip, we went upstairs to look at the view because Rabat is on the ocean and took some photos of each other.

Me in Rabat

We walked down to the water that night because our dinner was on a moored boat.

Rabat at night.

Our boat restaurant

What an incredible holiday. The next day we drove to Casablanca airport for our long flight home. It was sad to say goodbye to everyone.

If you ever get a chance to go to Morocco, I would definitely recommend it. I don't think it would've been as good if I hadn't been on the tour though. We had a chance to meet local people and have some unique experiences. 

Our tour was run by Rita from Amazigh Cultural Tours. Some of the others in the group had been on tours before and they said that this organisation was superior, every step was set out perfectly. We were lucky to have such a great group on the trip as well, everyone got on so well.

Anyway, it's back to the real world now. In Morocco, I felt as if I was in some sort of bubble and had gone back in time or I was on a film set, it was so different to my life in Australia.
People keep asking me if I am going to design any work based on Morocco and I really don't know, it was a sensory overload. I'll just have to see if the ideas start coming.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Morocco Adventure

I had the most wonderful holiday in Morocco last month. I went on a Textile tour that was organised by Amazigh Cultural Tours Morocco. It was so well organised and we were taken to so many amazing places and stayed in the most gorgeous guesthouses.

Our special guest host was Gloria Loughman and she had designed an applique project of a Moroccan door for us to work on when we had some free time.

We started our holiday in Marrakesh and we had so much fun exploring the markets. It was so different to anywhere that I had been before, I kept thinking that I had wandered into a film set.

Here are some market photos that I took.

Fruit stand





The Moroccan people do most of there cooking in Tagines, the food was usually meat and vegetables and it was always so tender.

It was such a culture shock to walk along the narrow streets keeping a look out for people riding on donkey carts or motorbikes. The motorbike is starting to replace donkeys in Morocco

As we were leaving Marrakesh we were taken to the Yves St Laurent Museum. Apparently, he used to live there. There was so much to see, we could've spent all day there.

YSL House

As well as a gorgeous bright blue house there was a magnificent garden with the most interesting display of Cactus plants. 

There was also plenty of YSL clothing on display.

YSL clothing

There was a lot of embroidery on all the clothes, it made me want to get back into doing embroidery again.

Next we stayed at a French style farmhouse in Ait Oumghar. It was very quiet and picturesque and so different to the noisy hustle and bustle of Marrakech. 

Everywhere we turned seemed to be a photo opportunity.

We visited a women's embroidery group where they showed us a couple of their specialist stitches and we were served a delicious afternoon tea. There was also some free time for us to start our Door project that was organised by Gloria Loughman.

The following morning we set off for the Sahara Desert and on the way we went to Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a walled village that was built in the 15th Century and there was a part that was from the 11th Century. 

Ait Ben Haddou

It is the backdrop for many films including Gladiator, Game of Thrones and Cleopatra. Apparently Morocco has a huge film industry.

Most of us climbed the many, many steps and got to the top where we had a good view of the area.

Here I am at the top, it was a hot day.

I happened to get a photo of this interesting gentleman outside one of the many doors.

We also stopped by a women's association where they showed us how they process the Argan nuts to make their famous Argan Oil. There was also a shop where we could buy some.

Argan Oil Shop

All of a sudden, we were in the Sahara Desert, a place I never thought I'd be. We were welcomed as usual with green tea and fancy biscuits.

Our welcome treat.

We stayed at so many lovely venues. They were Riads, that meant they used to be the home of rich people and have now been turned into guesthouses.

Our Sahara Guesthouse.

We settled into our rooms and then walked out onto the sand dunes to watch the sunset.

Sahara Sunset

The next morning we got up early and watched the sunrise.
Sunrise in the Sahara

It was like a dream come true and a truly wonderful experience.

On the other side of the pool was a covered outdoor area where we could do some more work on our doorway project. We were having such a great time.

We took the opportunity to have a photo with us all showing the silk scarves that we had dyed earlier with Rose Madder dye. The man on the left is Abdou, our wonderful guide who was having some fun with us.

Our silk scarves

We were only halfway through our holiday and so much more to come. I'll show some more photos in my next post.

Bye for now,