“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” ~ André Gide
We were finally venturing from our SE Asia safety net to lands unknown. Mysterious, exotic and perhaps a hint of danger
Once again we were mixing it up with a mixture of “organised” backpacking and luxury holidays. I’m becoming an expert at planning these trips to get maximum bang for our buck… while still appreciating we do like to live it up on occasion.
R&R in Bali is now behind us, as too are the day to day worries of our normal urban work-a-day lives… A t least for the next four months.
We begin this part of our journey in the North African country of Morocco.
Morocco is considered one of the most romantic countries in the world. It boasts a heady mix of European, African, Moslem and Berber cultures along with legendary cities, ancient mud-brick kasbahs, rolling sand dunes, snow-capped mountains and an extensive and largely undeveloped coastline.
It is so colourful that first-time visitors might be excused for thinking they have walked into the middle of a Hollywood movie set. Indeed, Morocco has long been a favoured location for the film industry, due in part to an accommodating local bureaucracy.
It was in fact one of my favourite movies – Casablanca – that brought us here (Incidently the film was not actually shot in Casablanca!)
We have chosen to travel with a small group adventure company tour again. We’d enjoyed our previous trips with Intrepid through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam so much. This time however – mainly due to scheduling – we are booked with Gecko’s on their Backroads of Morocco trip.
The trip sees us travel the backroads from Casablanca to Marrakech.
From Casablanca we will travel by train to Meknes, to explore the beautiful old medina. A little further on we reach Fes, where time seems to have overlooked the ancient streets and alleyways of the old quarter. After two days of immersing ourselves in this splendid medieval city, it will be time travel south to explore the great sand dunes on the western edge of the Sahara.
Todra Gorge provides a dramatic change of landscape and give us the opportunity to explore the nearby Dades Valley. We will then travel along the fabled ‘road of 1000 kasbahs’, visiting an amazing family home at Skoura and the outstanding mud-brick town of Ait Benhaddou. The final destination is Marrakech, where we will spend our last evening in the great square – Jemaa el Fna – the heart and soul of this fine old city.
We are leaving the safety of our shores… at least for a little while, on a quest to discover new lands…