Welcome to Morocco, considered the 'Jewel of North Africa'! Known to the Arabs as "the farthest land of the setting sun!", it is a land so
intrinsically beautiful and rich with heritage, it has attracted seekers of the exotic over the centuries. Even for the most seasoned travellers,
there is much to see and do. On arrival at Casablanca Airport, your airport shuttle service leaves for the tour hotel at 09:00, 11:00, 13:00 & 15:00.
Then relax and settle in. Tonight join your Tour Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Drink.
Hotel: Sheraton Casablanca (D) #19 of 55
*** See sites on my own.
The King Hassan II Mosque, Blvd Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, Tours Sa-Th 9AM, 10AM, 11AM and 2PM. A relatively recent mosque. It's
the largest in Morocco and the third largest in the world, with the tallest minaret in the world. It is one of the two main mosques in
Morocco open to non-muslims. Beautiful interior complete with water features, a roof that opens to the sky, a huge hammam in the basement (not in use),
and beautiful tile work. Worth a trip to the city.
Day 3, Saturday 18th - CASABLANCA - FEZ
After a sightseeing tour of Casablanca, depart for the capital
Rabat to see the mausoleum of King Mohammed V and the Royal Palace. Now on to one of
the kingdom's imperial cities,
Meknes, dating back to the 11th century, its surroundings remaining unchanged for centuries. Make a rare highlight visit
inside the mosque and see Bab el-Mansour gateway before continuing to Fez.
Hotel: Ramada Fez. (BB,D) #47 of 71LP WT
U2 recorded some of No Line on the Horizon at
Riad Hotel Yacout.
And the video for Magnificent was filmed here.
"The No Line on the Horizon sessions with Eno and Lanois began in June 2007 in Fez, Morocco after Bono had accepted an invitation to attend the World
Sacred Music Festival and invited his bandmates, along with Eno and Lanois, to attend. The six of them traveled to Fez and rented out the
courtyard of a hotel Riad, turning it into a makeshift recording studio. The initial intent behind the album was to create
a series of "future hymns", songs that would last and continue to be sung forever.
Recording in Fez at the same time as the World Sacred Music Festival allowed the band to take in the sounds of Hindu and Jewish music, as well as
Sufi singing and Joujouka drums. Bassist Adam Clayton said the music they heard in Fez "had a primitivism... but there was an other-worldly feel,
there was that connection with that Arabic scale." Many of the tracks conceived in these early sessions were unsuitable for radio airplay or for
playing live. Eno insisted that drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. use an electronic drum kit during these sessions. The open-air Riad allowed the band
to hear the overhead birdsong during their sessions, as captured in the introduction to "Unknown Caller", but the birds also defecated on
Mullen, Jr.'s drum kit. "Moment of Surrender", "White as Snow", "No Line on the Horizon" and "Unknown Caller" were written at this time, each
track being recorded in one take. The band spent two weeks in Fez before leaving, and the exotic influences that they explored in Morocco
inspired them to pursue a more experimental sound; the band wished to take more songwriting risks after their previous two albums
presented a more straightforward rock sound. After leaving Fez, the band spent time recording in Hanover Quay Studios in Dublin, New York City,
and Olympic Studios in London."
Day 4, Sunday 19th - FEZ
A day packed with fantastic sights and smells as you tour this carefully preserved university city, which had its golden age in the fourteenth century,
during the reign of the Merinides dynasty. Visit the medina of Fez and walk through its old streets. See one of the oldest universities in the world,
taking time to haggle in the Bazaar and see Moroccan pottery. Oriental rugs are an attraction for bargain hunters - witness this most important
handicraft of Fez. Enjoy a superb Moroccan dinner and a folklore show with drums and belly dancing. (BB,HD)
*** See tannery
Leave the bustle of the city behind and head for the spectacular snow-capped
High Atlas Mountains. Pass through Ifrane before reaching the great cedar
forests of Azrou. Travel up through the magnificent Ziz Gorges, past palm fringed towns to Er Rachidia, built by the French at an important crossroads.
Your destination is Erfoud, on the edge of the Sahara Desert.
Hotel: Belere Erfoud (BB,L,D) #8 of 14
This morning there is the option of mounting camels, 'the ships of the desert', to witness the glorious daybreak in the Sahara. Later, venture towards
the oasis of Tinehir, noted for its silver and jewellery workshops. Take a detour to explore the Todra Gorge - the Grand Canyon of the Sahara. At
Boumalne-du-Dades, encounter the dry rugged Dades Valley, dotted with oases of figs, olives, date palms and with castellated mud houses hugging the
slopes. The route concludes at Ouarzazate, film capital of Morocco, with everything from Lawrence of Arabia to Star Wars being filmed here.
Also Gladiator, Babel, Kingdom of Heaven
Hotel: La Berbere Palace (BB,L,D) #10 of 34
Optional- ERF01 DAY BREAK IN THE SAHARA
We take jeeps from our hotel and travel 50 kilometers to the sand dunes of the Sahara. Here we mount camels, 'the ships of the desert', which take us
to a point where we can witness the glorious daybreak in the Sahara DIR 490
*** visit Atlas Studios
Day 7, Wednesday 22nd - OUARZAZATE - MARRAKESH
Get your cameras ready as you stop at the village of
Aït Benhaddou, boasting one of Morocco's finest kasbahs. Continue via the
spectacular Tizi n'Tichka
Pass before descending past charming mountain villages, dense woods and green fields to the ochre coloured city of Marrakesh.
Hotel: Atlas Medina & Spa. (BB,D) #169 of 356LP WT
Day 8, Thursday 23rd - MARRAKESH
Sightseeing includes an exploration of the fascinating Medina (old town), the Koutoubia Mosque, whose minaret dominates the Marrakesh skyline, and a
visit to the secluded tombs of the Saadi dynasty, hidden behind high walls. After some time to watch the dancers, storytellers and acrobats at the
bustling Djemaa El Fna Square, take a scenic drive south of Marrakesh to the beautiful Ourika Valley. Visit a Moroccan family home to witness a
traditional mint tea preparation ceremony before returning to your hotel. Tonight, maybe consider an optional horse and buggy ride to the magical
Jemaa el Fna Square to enjoy the sights and sounds by night, followed by dinner in a typical Moroccan restaurant? (BB)
Optional- MRR03. MARRAKESH BY NIGHT & DINNER
We take a horse and buggy ride to the magical Jemaa el Fna Square to enjoy the sights and sounds by night. Then we have dinner in a typical
Moroccan restaurant. DIR 565
Day 9, Friday 24th - MARRAKESH - CASABLANCA- SKIP
Heading towards the Atlantic coast, say goodbye to the snake charmers of Marrakesh and drive back to Casablanca. Now you've experienced the traditional
charms of the country, Casablanca is a fasinating place to return to, offering a unique insight into modern Morocco. In many ways, the economic capital
represents the hopes and dreams of the country. Spend your last afternoon at leisure, enjoying this vibrant city at your own pace.
Hotel: Sheraton Casablanca (BB D)
FLY TO PARIS
Jimmy Buffett concert at Olympia Hall!
"Paris Olympia is a music hall at 28, Blvd. des Capucines, in the 9th arrondissement Paris, France.
Founded in 1888 by Joseph Oller, the creator of the Moulin Rouge, the Olympia is the oldest music hall in Paris and one of the most famous
music halls in the world, today easily recognizable by its giant red glowing letters announcing its name. It opened in 1889 as the "Montagnes Russes" but
was renamed the Olympia in 1893."
Day 10, Saturday 25th - CASABLANCA- SKIP
Sadly, your Moroccan adventure comes to an end today. Departure transfers arrive at Casblanca Airport at 07:00, 10:00 & 12:00. (BB)
Go out to Versailles
Or Bruges tour?