Visit the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech. After lunch, head to Casablanca.
01.08.2016 - 01.08.2016 36 °C
Hotel - The Hotel and Spa Le Doge - Room - the Lartigue Suite
Before we went to bed last night, I gave Phil a teaspoon of Huile de Nigelle (Black Seed Oil) that is supposed to stop snoring, but more importantly, help with his congestion and coughing at night. Well, it didn't stop the snoring (may be it was a bit ambitious to expect THAT after only one dose) but his cough is much better and he didn't have a coughing fit during the night. He took another teaspoon full this morning and has hardly coughed all day - so just maybe it might be doing him some good. We certainly don't want to be infecting our new tour group with this virus. It's a shocker. Phil has had it since 21 July and has had some dreadful coughing fits - going red in the face and being unable to get his breath. It was really scarey.
We were up early this morning, had breakfast and met Abdou out on the street at 9.30 am. Before we left Marrakesh, we visited the beautiful Majorelle Gardens. The Majorelle Garden is a twelve acre botanical garden and artist's landscape garden. The edifice was designed by the expat French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 20s and 30s. The garden hosts more than 15 bird species that are endemic to North Africa and has many fountains and a collection of many different cacti.
The garden has been open to the public since 1947. Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge bought the garden in 1980 and when Yves Saint-Laurent died in 2008, his ashes were scattered in the garden. It is very cool and peaceful strolling through the garden. There are huge bamboo trees that keep the garden cool.
We met another Australian couple in the garden - Sue and David Earle from Forbes. They are flying home from Casablanca tomorrow.
We then drove to Casablanca and stopped half way so Abdou could have a break from driving and his morning nos nos. Casablanca is about 187 kms from Marrakech.
The landscape is very dry and barren.
On arrival in Casablanca, Abdou drove us to see the Hassan II Mosque down by the seaside. It is the largest mosque in Morocco and the 13th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest at 210 metres (60 stories high) , topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca.
Work commenced in 1986 and the mosque was finally consecrated in 1993. It is the only mosque in Morocco that non Islam people are allowed to enter.
We then drove by Rick's Cafe, but Rick wasn't there!
Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco and has a population of about 5 million. It is a very modern looking city but lacks the Medinas (old walled cities) of the other towns we have visited during the last ten days.
We drove through the modern streets and then turned down a very narrow street (I am amazed that Abdou didn't scratch the car) and pulled up in front of our hotel - Le Doge. It is just lovely. Very art deco.
The staff were friendly and welcoming and we were taken upstairs and given a welcome Morrocan whiskey (mint tea) and a pastry. We have been upgraded to a suite and wow, wow, wow.
Our room is called Lartigue but the manager told us it is really called the Lover's Suite. OMG! It is really nice and very, very roomy which is good, as we have to repack our bags and move all the shorts and tee shirts to the bottom of the bag, and the warmer clothes to the top, for cool, wet Ireland.
We had an early dinner in the sumptiously decorated dining room - Moroccan spring rolls and smoked salmon and blinis for me and rib eye fillet for Phil and salmon for me. Totally enjoyable.
After dinner, we thought we would take a little stroll around the block, but the conceirge advised us to take the hotel security guard with us. That is a first! I felt like a celebrity! It was such a pleasant evening, with a cool sea breeze blowing.
Early to bed as we have a 5 am wake up call booked. A lovely last night in Morocco.
Post Script - during our ten days in Morocco, we have been on half board, which means breakfast and dinner provided by the hotel/riad, prepaid in Australia. It has worked brilliantly, as opposed to our half board trip in America from New York to Miami which seemed to cause our guide no end of trouble as we were the only ones in the group on half board. In Morocco, we ordered off the a la carte menu every night, and nothing was denied. All we had to pay for was our drinks. And from a safety issue, it was probably a good decision, not that we ever felt threatened - we didn't. And we had a great choice of food, and most nights we ate Moroccan. Very sensible way to go.