Discover Hidden Places and Intricate Art In Morocco

Discover Hidden Places and Intricate Art In Morocco

Travels thru the crossroads of time with Intricate Weave

Nomads High Atlas Moiuntains
Travels by Midlife Ladies Travellers Club

My travels in Morocco began 2013, it was a country that since a young women I had felt drawn too experience. It spoke to my soul and what a discovery it has been . In fact, these Hidden Places off the beaten path always leave me yearning to return and experience more.

I have discovered in these hidden places intricate art work, jewelry, handloomed textiles magnificent rugs that now adorn my floors at home in Australia.

Morocco is rich in traditions and as travelling as a solo women I have been lucky to form life long friendships with extraordinary people.

Morocco has shown me that it is a country of hidden depths. That I am lucky to witness a mystical place caught in the crossroads of time between the modern and the ancient.

Pottery

Safi is  a port city on Morocco’s Atlantic coast and is one of my favorite pottery hunting grounds .The centerpiece of their art focuses on decorated pottery of many hues of colour and design. Its created in workshops in the hillside Colline des Potiers quarter. If colour and original thought is your interest in pottery, Safi is the place to go.

I have spent many  hours wandering the hillside watching the pottery process from start to finish. Each part of the pottery  process is worked upon by a different artisan.

Weavers and other Artisans
The variety of traditional hand loomed woven textiles  is rich and diverse from region to region. The journey has been a delight in the discovery of these captivating intricate textiles.  The discovery in the Rif mountains of gaily coloured hand loomed woolen throws with simple tribal symbols was a wonderful addition in my home. The hand-loom thick woolen bed blankets from the fleece of the High Atlas mountain sheep keep the deep cold of the winters away.
I have discovered Gorgeous hand loomed  cactus silk/cotton scarves from the old medina  in Fes and  cotton table runners in Marrakech.

Djellaba Buttons


The Sefrou region is famous for creating some of the finest Djellaba buttons. Sefrou’s Jewish residents first  introduced the craft in to the region. It became a popular way of women adding additional income for household expenses  with the luxury of working from home.
My favorite town  for purchasing of rugs is in Southern Morocco  in the town of Tazenakht.  The  variety , quality and price is second to none.

The Art of Mint tea

The sharing of Mint tea is an expression of  the warmth of traditional hospitality of Morocco. Its woven into the  fabric of everyday life .

The art of haggling with Shopkeepers would not be the same without the tea tradition. Those dainty colourful glasses of frothy mint tea appearing magically on silver trays centered round engraved teapots.

Sitting relaxing  in the courtyard of the Riads amongst  fragrant filled gardens of citrus with  colourful rose petals floating in the fountains. Listening to the call to prayer as dusk descends over Marrakesh. The daily ritual of lighting of the lamps begins  intermingled with the pouring of frothy mint tea by the waiter is an experience not to be missed.

Traveling thru  the snow clad isolated High Atlas mountains we stop at a lone tea house beside the snowy dirt track, the tea  tradition continues.

Off the beaten track

Moulay Boulselham

I would recommend visiting the township of Moulay Boulselham on the North Atlantic coast for a few days if you are a keen bird watcher. In the protected  lagoon , the varieties of bird  life  is extraordinary.

Vila Bea

For accommodation Vila Bea for myself is a real treat to stay, food exquisite , rooms clean  and comfortable. The owners and team cannot do enough to assist you with interesting ideas to complete your day. The views of the rough Atlantic sea from the lounge is mesmerizing , very enjoyable to relax with a  Moroccan wine (from their wineries from the north ) at the end of a leisurely day.

Imouzzer des Ida Outanane Region

This area is a great for place for day treks.One trek I find enjoyable is wandering down the mountain passing thru olive groves, small villages  to the petrified water fall.

Hotel Des Cascades

I have always enjoyed my stay here, the hotel has basic clean outdated rooms. It is lovely sitting in the evening by the fire in the dining room which keeps away the night chill.The staff are very pleasant and helpful.

Nothing can surpass the ambiance of the outside sitting area with a view overlooking the escarpment to the valley below. It is a magical experience to sit there as dusk descends and the lights begin to twinkle from the valley floor below.

The beautiful   gardens and stonework are a visual treat. The hotel is a good base for relaxation and hiking. The Paradise Valley hike is very scenic as the path meanders alongside the river.

Ancient food Gardens

For the horticulturalist there is the ancient food gardens at the village of Inraren. The gardens are centuries old and watered by underground spring water with guidance from centuries of human hands. The garden is farmed by the villagers over 65 acres and very productive. It provides a diverse range of food all year round. Its one of the world’s oldest sustainable systems of agriculture .

ZAT VALLEY

I found a two line reference to the Zat Valley in an old book that I had picked up from a second hand shop.

Studying my map I determined the Zat Valleys location and the best route to visit.

This valley is a Shangri la area and is a little known hidden treasure.

On the day hike through The Hidden valley of Zat it became quiet clear that the people utilize the ancient food garden concept of what we today call permaculture.

That day hike through the Zat Valley was spectacular and left a big mark on my soul.

Lake Tislit

One of my favorite spots is Lake Tislit in the High Atlas mountains.

The enjoyment of this simple guest house on the lakes edge is sublime.

I have witnessed blizzards of unexpected snow, hot sunny afternoons and crisp early mornings.

I have sat gazing at the moons reflection in the depths of the lake.

I have travelled in the autumn and have seen the birch trees leaves turn into to a golden glow.

I have been present to see the nomads wander the lakes edges with flocks of grazing sheep and their trusty mule.

Milika a berber lady runs the auberge who is a very warm kind person with a heart of gold.

The serenity and peace of this area soothes the soul.

There is nice easy hikes around the lake and onward to the second lake.

Nomads

The High Atlas mountains is home to a community of nomads who live a a hard life unchanged in hundreds of years.

The pattern and flow of the seasons thru the years dictates their lives.

I have shared cups of tea with a lady nomad who lives in a cave. And amazed upon hearing that she has given birth to her children in the simple cave with no running water or electricity.

Jewelry

The production of Jewellery in Morocco in the 14th century was carried out by Jewish silversmiths who took refuge in Morocco from Spain after the reconquista in 1492.
Tiznit in Southern Morocco does remain the only link with hand made silver jewelry from ancient times. The techniques that are utilized in their craft are engraving, filigree, relief work and attachment of semi precious stones and beads.


Some interesting ancient jewelry includes the Khamsa’s which are worn on a chain as a pendent. The Khamsa is commonly known as the hand of  Fatima and was included into the Islamic faith.

In current times they are used as door handles (as in the above picture) or as talisman necklace.

Its use is to avert the evil eye and keep the supernatural spirits at bay.

Stay tuned for the next update on the Hidden Places of Morocco from the Ladies Midlife Travellers Club.

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