Saturday, June 16, 2018

Moorish Delights of Andalusia and Morocco 2018

Been back in the workshop for 5 days, what a shock
Strong winds and over 40 each day, jet lag and a heavy workload.

I am an early morning person so flying west to east and not being able to wake and be bright in the morning really does my head in. Alarm clocks are not my thing but there is a day to greet!

This tour will be remembered as the Convivial Wildflower year- we ambled along happily and there was the best wildflower display yet both in Spain and Morocco- all those flowers are just icing on the cake.

Many highlights for me, here are a few
-       Madrid exploring in the days before we started, ventured into the crypts under the Cathedral. Beautiful space, there is a 400 year old paining as you enter, so that dated the place for me, but it was so simple in decoration and elegant, we spent the whole visit trying to reconcile that with Spain 400 years ago. Thank you Mrs Google for putting me out of my misery, after consulting her I realized the cathedral and Crypts were only finished in 1997.... explained a lot.

  •   We saw a real live otter swimming near the Roman Bridge in Cordoba. Really, pinch me it is true type of experience. So excited
  •       -The Mesquita- Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba is my all time favourite manmade space, so privileged to visit again and the light this time seemed especially golden and beautiful
  • -       The Alhambra is becoming an old friend, so much work going on in the gardens and renovations and opening new areas. A great new museum has been opened in the weird Charles V building- excellent use for it. I love that each visit in our own small way by paying entrance fees [and very reasonably priced fees at that] we contribute and get such a wonderful experience out of it.
  • -       Love the final taxi ride in Spain and seeing another continent there across the water- amazing
  • -       We were in Morocco during Ramadan, most everyone was fasting during the day, and then a whoop of excitement as evening comes and people rush home to their loved ones to Break the Fast, we all felt it was beautiful to experience. And were very impressed by the families and places that hosted us to be cooked for and served lavish spreads by people who were fasting. What fortitude in the presence of the wonderful aromas. I might not do it myself, but I can admire strength in others.
  • Spain I was so happy to see weeds under the olive groves- usually it is roundup bare, must be a new direction embraced- excellent news.
  • talking of roundup in Morocco you see bee boxes everywhere and one of our group was a honey connoisseur, she often commented on the quality of honey at breakfast.
  • Maybe the excellent wildflower spread in Spain was due to greener policies, in Morocco they were blessed with a good was amazing- we always go at this time to catch the flower season

  • OOH oooh oooh changed the area we stay when visiting Ait Benhaddou and got to wander through an old Kasbah.... just a caretaker you pay a few .... I went completely feral and ran around like a wild thing- I love to explore and it took me half an hour to realize he was not going to hamper us and you could go where ever you liked, just be careful things don't fall down on you. What a buzz!!!
  • finally everything aligned and we got to spend the afternoon with the women of a sheltered workshop in Marrakesh who produce beautiful embroidered items... still need more practice but the stitched edging I learnt will be used here in our workshop one day.
  • Morocco is a bargaining society- hard when you come from the world of the shopping mall and everything is fixed, some of our guests can embrace it and others are like me, stumble along .... I think I need to look for a Youtube of something for people to practice with- any suggestions. all part of the fun of a foreign culture
Can you see the dust- add into your imagination winds to knock you down and an average of 43'C [118'F] .... and you can start to imagine part 
of being home. Our poor gang have had to endure this all the time we have been away. Hoping monsoon comes soon and the winds stop.

Bragging now, 
on the trip JW was saying she talks about us a lot and people don't know you can do trips like ours, 
and now another guest PA has written
Hello Fiona

I have come home with an overwhelming feeling of happiness and wonder over my trip with you and the "gang".  I sent an email to your FB site but apart from private emails I have not seen anything about your Creative Safaris elsewhere on FB. And I so wanted to sing your praises over the net. I want everyone on MY friend list anyway, to know how amazing your tour was.  Do you have another site where any messages will be shared on FB. Also I did not take a lot of pics myself and want to swipe some from your stash of photos if you are posting them somewhere. OTOH you and Praveen are probably just resting, enjoying being home,and especially not having to troubleshoot for the likes of me every day!!!!
I do admire you so much Fiona for being such a good organizer and all round excellent person.

.... spread the word we do great tours...
I know the effort we put in, the research, the contacts and fun and have so many repeat guests.
please mention us around.
Looking forward to it already... few new things to include and tweak.... love the anticipation of a tour.
A very big thanks to our travelling companions, it was you who were at the heart of the experience.

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