Posts tagged ‘Morocco’

Le Berbere Palace

DSC_0020Le Berbere Palace is in Ouarzazate which is considered the “door way to the desert.  This hotel is about half way from Marrakesh to Rissani which is on the western edge of the Sahara Desert.

There appears to be this “palace” and a new Palace which I assume is as luxurious and enjoyable as this one. 

The lobby has an area for tea, a cute fountain, friendly and helpful staff, but more important ‘high speed wireless’.  Unfortunately I could not use wi-fi due to a hardware problem with my laptop but my trusty AT&T cell modem carried me through to the internet.  So that was the good news, the bad news was that my emailed synced and so I spent the next 3 hours dealing with that! DSC_0006

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After catching up on email I felt like I deserved to enjoy the pool area, some sculptures that have been used in some famous (locally filmed) movie productions and some fine dining (buffet style).

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My kind and generous host picked up the bill (it is wonderful to have friends in high places) and so I can’t share those details but I can share that this hotel was previously used exclusively to entertain guests of the king. 

One word of caution, with this hotel, and as with many others around the world, don’t trust their wake up calls. I carry two phones use those alarms to make me and it was just as well I did!  Apart from that minor hitch this is a great, luxurious hotel and the area is historic, interesting.

Le Berbere Palace
Quartier Mansour Eddahbi,, Ourzazate, Morocco
Tel: +212 24 88 31 05/88 21 39/88 29 67
Fax: +212 24 88 30 71
Email: mberpala@menara.ma
Web” www.palaces-traditions.com

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May 11, 2009 at 8:13 am Leave a comment

The Sahara Desert

DSC_0219 The Sahara Desert (Arabic: الصحراء الكبرى‎,) is the world’s largest desert and covers most of Northern Africa.  The Sahara it almost as large as Europe and almost the size of the United States.

We started out from a hotel in the late afternoon, when it wasn’t too hot and rode camels in for a couple of hours till we reach a Bedouin style camp. 

DSC_0545Two of us had come in with our guide and there was a Moroccan couple that had come in with their guide.  With the local cook we made 5 people staying in the camp that night.

The resident cook made it for seven of us staying in the camp that night. 

DSC_0520 The local guides and chef made us feel welcome and we played the drums together for a while and then I went climbing up a rather large sand dune which was a tough workout!

I just made it to the top to see the sun go down and the slide down was really enjoyable after the struggle to the summit!

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DSC_0428Water is obviously precious in the desert and our well served us well and here is our chef lifting the water for our tea!

Arabian tea is sweet, black and refreshing. It is offered everywhere and well worth drinking to keep yourself energized and hydrated. 

DSC_0502After a wonderful dinner we retired early (10pm) and in the morning we rose early to watch the sunrise.  As you can see the desert brings out the best in our planet and it was well worth the lack of sleep to enjoy. 

 

I hope that you enjoy the pictures:

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May 10, 2009 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

Kasbah Hotel Aaluca

IMG_0169A true oasis in a desert.  This fabulous hotel has all the amenities (except a gym) but in the middle of the desert.

This hotel was on the journey from Marrakesh to the Sahara and so it was after a long drive that we arrived. 

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I have never had a camel come to dinner and animals in US/European restaurants would be unheard of but here is was charming, thoughtful and somehow appropriate.

We all enjoyed the trick (drinking water from a plastic water bottle), the photo op, and having dinner with my soon to be “ship of the desert”.

The pool, as you can see has a different aura by day and by night, both refreshing in the heat of the day and with the romance of the night: IMG_0162 IMG_0159   IMG_0165 IMG_0166   

Kasbah Hotel Aaluca
Address: Route d’Errachidia, Km 5 – Arfound, Morocco
Tel: + 212 2 35 57 84 50/51/52
Fax: + 212 2 35 57 84 49
Email: xaluca@xalucamaadid.com
Web: www.xaluca.com
GPS: N31 29’ 208” W 004 12’ 784  – it needs a longitude and latitude trust me!

May 10, 2009 at 7:18 pm Leave a comment

Marrakesh Express

DSC_0007 DSC_0010 I took the train from Casablanca to Marrakesh yesterday and was simple too tired to get this posted yesterday.  Please forgive me! 

Morocco is a Pandora’s Box of delights.  The languages (French and Arabic), the people (warm, friendly and engaging), the culture (few rules but lots of forgiveness) and warm inviting weather. This is a place where I had to let go of my British reserved and my American materialism and embrace the experience from a place of innocence.

The train was pretty well on time.  People were patient although station staff seemed to communicate in an overly aggressive fashion the announcements were pleasant, professional, informative, timely and the sound system audible (which is more than I can say for some European and American train stations).

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The train was clean, fast and efficient.  We never seems to slow down and so most of the pictures are blurry due to the speed but they capture the countryside so I thought that some would be worth sharing.

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And after 3 hours of a pleasant journey we arrive in Marrakesh:  DSC_0037

May 7, 2009 at 6:52 pm Leave a comment

Rick’s Café Casablanca

image Rick’s Café was designed to recreate the bar made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the movie classic Casablanca. And they did well.  IMG_0107

Set in an old 30’s courtyard-style grand-mansion the restaurant is filled with the decorative details reminiscent of the film: curved arches, a sculpted bar, balconies, balustrades as well as brass lighting and plants that cast luminous shadows on white walls. The food is a wonderful mix of international-French and Moroccan.

image Rick’s Café Casablanca was developed by an America Diplomat Kathy Kriger who presumably needed something “authentic Casablancan” to entertain visiting dignitaries. 

Although this restaurant had nothing to do with the movie it is a “must do” for dinner when in Casablanca.

May 6, 2009 at 7:39 am Leave a comment

Casablanca, Morocco

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After one day I have fallen in love with Casablanca and I know that there is so much more to experience.  From the cafes, to the boulevards, to the 3rd largest mosque in the world, this city is full of surprises.

Casablanca (in Arabic الدار البيضاء ) means white (blanca) house (casa) in Spanish but curiously Arabic and French are the most used languages here. Casablanca is a city of about 3.1 million people in west of Morocco, on the Atlantic Ocean.

IMG_0099Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city as well as its chief port although I learned today that another major port is being built in the north of Morocco to relieve the port of congestion and to help limit the city’s growth.  Casablanca is also the primary naval base for the Royal Moroccan Navy.

Casablanca is the economic capital of Morocco by hosting many domestic and international headquarters and industry with the political capital being Rabat. Casablanca retains its historic position as the main industrial zone of the country.

imageThe Hassan II Mosque (Arabic: مسجد الحسن الثاني‎) is the largest mosque in Morocco and the third largest mosque in the world after the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca and the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina. Designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau it looks out over the Atlantic and can house 25,000 worshipers inside and a further 80,000 in the grounds. This is the first mosque that I have had the privilege to enter and it was a wonderful learning experience.

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IMG_0098Not only do you get to enjoy views of the Atlantic from the mosque but also from the boulevards running parallel to the shore.

Definitely worth a visit!

May 6, 2009 at 1:21 am 1 comment


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