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September 2017 - Portugal and Morocco

September 30, 2017

We visited Palace Bahia which is beautifully preserved and Palace Badi historic ruins museum. We had lunch and wandered the Souks again. We also visited the Secret Garden a garden found recently and restored. The boys had a wild adventure to Carrefour supermarket on a beer/ wine run. The taxi drive made our guide/driver Yusuf look tame. Drivers in Morocco are CRAZY! We went to Chez Ali a dinner Fantasia show recommended by a teacher friend Saloua from Morocco.

Morocco | Marrakech | Palace Bahia

Morocco| Marrikech | Chez Ali | Fantasia musicians

Morocco| Marrikech | Chez Ali | Fantasia

Morocco| Marrikech | Chez Ali | Fantasia

September 29, 2017

We had a wonderful experience on our Camel Trekkingtour . Our young driver and guide Yusuf was excellent. He spoke excellent English and answered all of our questions as we drove along. On our second day we continued through the Atlas Mtns visiting two beautiful gorges and then drove to the Golden Dunes in the Sahara. We had a 1 1/2 hour camel trek into our camp in the desert and watched the sunset along the way. Their were two other tourists in our train of 6 dromedaries. (one hump camel) We had a traditional Berber meal, chicken/vegetable Tajine for dinner and our camel drivers played drums for us. The stars were glorious.

Morocco | Golden Dunes Sahara Deser

Our third day was another 1 1/2 camel trek and sunrise in the dunes back to the hotel where we met up with Yosef again. We had a long day of driving back through the mountains to Marrakech. We've decided the Moroccna drivers are scarier than those we encountered in Romania and the Ukraine. The roads we traveled through the mountains were narrow with frequent hairpin turns. The guardrails were often missing or hanging damaged over the edge. Yosef as well as other drivers would pass 5 or 6 cars with one of these curves ahead. It was quite a scary drive and we were relieved when we arrived back in Marrakech safely.

Our new Riad Dar Daoud back in Marrakech is inside the Medina (souk) this time. Yusuf got us a guide to deliver us to our riad. We would never have found it alone. It is very cute and neat decorating touches throughout. Everyone is so helpful and speak English.

September 27, 2017

We left Merrakech with our guide/driver Yosef at 8 this morning. The scheduled tour was full so we paid a little extra and had a private tour for the four of us. What a gorgeous exciting day. We stopped in the High Atlas Mountains at Tizi Ntichka (2260m) a panoramic view overlooking Berber Villages/green valleys. We stopped at Kasbah Aitbenhadou where among others the movies Gladiatior and Game of Thrones were filmed. We had a nice lunch before we continued on our drive through the mountains. We drove through the Skoura one of largest Oasis and Rose Valley. We drove into beautiful Dades Gorge via the Thousand Kasbahs route. We had a great panoramic view of Monkey Fingers Valley. Tonight our hotel is in Dades Gorge "La Gazelle". Our dinner, rooms and breakfast are included as part of our tour. We had two different kinds of tagines (traditional meal cooked in a ceramic covered pot) chicken and lamb.

September 26, 2017

We had a 5 hr. train ride from Rabat to Marrakech and are staying in the Riad Rose Meryam near the Medina- Old Town. A riad is like a Bed and Breakfast. A family will rent out rooms in their home. This particular Riad was the original family home but now only one family member stays the night and the other spaces are rented out. The mother cooks the meals and the brother and sister run the business. They both speak English very well and have been very helpful providing us with information. We took a walk into the Medina visiting the main plaza and souks. It was very busy and colorful. The snake charmers were annoying. Otherwise we had an enjoyable time. We enjoyed our dinner served on the rooftop terrace at our Riad. Tomorrow we leave on a 3 day tour with Camel Trekking including a night in the Sahara desert in a tent. Then we'll return to Marrakech for two more nights at another Riad.

September 24, 2017

We had a nice day in Rabat, Morocco. On the train from Sale to Rabat I met a young woman and started asking questions about how to find the Marrakesh train and the souk. Imane is a lawyer and took us under her wing. She called her younger sister to come meet us and show us around the Medina (Old Town). She explained that her family has hosted university students in their home during their exchange studies in Morocco. While we waited for her sister, Imane walked us to the Kasbah and an overlook of the beach and entrance we came through to the harbor last night. Kawtar, Imane's younger sister arrived and took us to the Old Town and then we invited her to have dinner with us. We ordered a variety of Moroccan dishes and shared them around the table. Kawtar also walked us back to the Tram to send us safely back to the marina. Lovely people, lovely day and they would take no money for our private tour of Rabat.