News of the Paris attacks and the ring leader of Moroccan origin came out just a few days before we boarded the ferry for Tangier. Here are some photos and stories that try to refocus away from that recent dark news and reveal how lovely Morocco is.

Interior of Marrakeck riad revealed.

Interior of Marrakech riad revealed.

Morocco, or then Barbary, was the first to formally recognize the USA in 1777. We visited the first US real estate on foreign soil at the US Legation in Tangier. tang4 It’s now a museum but still US soil. Nice to think I got a US holiday without getting on a plane. While in Tangier we experienced more Americana. We stayed at the hotel where the Beat author William Burroughs wrote his most famous book, The Naked Lunch. tang2 We took the night train from Tangier to Marrakech. Loved being rocked to sleep in the sleeper carriage. trans9
The road east of Marrakech was California central valley straight and flat, with orchards and aqueducts either side. These orchards were olive and almond, watered by the snows from the High Atlas Mountains serrating the horizon. Demnate is a quiet little town surrounded by olive orchards in the foothills of the High Atlas.
We saw no other non-locals as we strolled the medina market. A nice feeling. Breakfast was in a stall overlooking the bus yard. Demnate is famous for its olives. Breakfast was an omelette with berber herbs and flat bread dipped in olive oil. Never have I tasted such fresh, sweet, flavorful oil. Yum. While we ate we watched the vans get loaded and depart for who knows where. trans7 From Demnate the roads shrink and curl their way over the High Atlas and down into the Sahara. There was a tinge of longing to jump in the back of one and see where we ended up.
The thieves of Demnate: After breakfast we followed paths where the streets end into the orchards. There we found children “stealing” olives. One would climb the tree with a long stick and beat branches causing a shower of olives. The rest gathered up the harvest. Erica asked the girls why they weren’t in school. One pointed to their haul in the bag and said “l’argent”. debnant
The High Atlas mountains are something to behold. We squeezed 7 in a collective taxi outside the Marrakech medina and headed up to the mile high end of the Ourika valley where we were squirted out. We walked another mile and were suddenly alone.siti8 We walked to where the canyon closed in and our only way forward was straddling the aqueduct sit5 or taking this footbridge,

sit064

to a village with no cars, electricity, modern anything.

sit7
We traveled to the the fishing port of Essaouira.esharb7 At sunrise all the activity is around the fleet of 15′ fishing boats and their captains. esharb3

esharb8  Down from the port kite surfers share the beach with camels. es8Many fond memories from Morocco.

Sunset over the Muslim cemetary, Rabat

Sunset over the Muslim cemetary, Rabat

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