What an extraordinary trip we had to Morocco December 4- 14, 2010! Twenty travel professionals were anxious to see, hear and smell all the sights and sounds of this beautiful land. Our experience began at JFK where we met the group and boarded Royal Air Maroc with our fearless leader, Sam Nhairy, President of Morocco Destination Management. We adored him!!
Casablanca was our first stop, but we spent little time there (we knew we would be returning at the end of the trip) and headed to Rabat, the Moroccan National Capital. We enjoyed Hassan Tower, the mausoleum where King Mohammed V lies and Chellah, a garden and tourist hotspot. This special place is the site of the ruins of Sala Colonia.
We loved Fes! With a population of just over one million, it is the second largest city of Morocco. Its medina(shopping area) is believed to be the world’s largest continuous pedestrian zone.
Midelt and Erfoud were our next stops. Both are great spots to visit. One point of interest…. Erfoud is a popular destination for filmmakers because the views of the Sahara Desert are breathtaking.
Marrakech, the capital of the region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz is called the “Red City” and boasts one of the busiest squares in the world. Entertainment is “circus like” and at night, it is filled with open air restaurants. Crosby, Stills and Nash fans may remember the Marrakesh Express!
A city by the sea, Essaouira, is a touristy and windy city in the western Moroccan economic region on the Atlantic Coast. Here, we had open shopping, and enjoyed bargaining with the vendors. We also stopped at a Women’s Co-Op and purchased MANY products produced with the very famous Argan oil. Argan oil has been produced for hundreds of years by Berber tribes in a region which is today known as Arganeraie, the only place where the rare and endangered Argan tree grows.
Casablanca was an important strategic port during the Second World War and hosted the Casablanca Conference in 1943, in which Churchill and Roosevelt discussed the progress of the war. Casablanca was the site of a large American air base, which was the staging area for all American aircraft for the European Theater of Operations during World War II. Why was it so strategic…..maybe because it is Morocco’s largest city and is home to the country’s main port. Humphrey Bogart fans will also think of the famous movie…. “Casablanca.”
The shopping was FABULOUS!! We all enjoyed making purchases of Argan oil, rugs, jewelry, knives and machetes, pointed shoes, musical instruments, beautiful materials and cloths, and SO MUCH MORE!!
We loved this trip and traveled almost 2000 miles and I have more to tell! Morocco is an extraordinary country.
The pictures above were taken by my friend Julie Knabb. Enjoy! There are more on our Facebook page.