Posted by: travelrat | February 21, 2019

Agadir City Tour

 

DSC_0002Agadir: 29th January 2019.

Today, we did the City tour. This was a private tour; just ourselves, the driver and the guide … the latter in traditional djellaba and head-dress.

In truth, there’s not a lot to see in Agadir, for the city has been completely rebuilt after a disastrous earthquake in 1960.  We were often asked has it changed much since our visit in 2004; I had to answer that I didn’t recognise anything but the hillside with its Arabic inscription ‘God: Country: King’  Later on, I tried to find the hotel at which we stayed on that occasion, but I couldn’t even remember the name.

There was an imposing mosque … we weren’t allowed in, for we aren’t Muslims. Then, we spent some time wandering around the market, where the local people go to buy their food. An illustration of how the art of haggling came about; there’s often a guy in the next stall offering the self-same product.

Market, Agadir

We a little free time to wander on to the beach, and take a short stroll around Bird Valley, home to both local and exotic birds. Maybe it’s a little run down, and the birds look a little bedraggled, but it’s free!  At the top of the hill we visited the Kasbah, a ruined fortification. In fact, Agadir means ‘a fortification’. There isn’t much to do or see; little, if any, restoration has been done on the Kasbah itself … but it does give a tremendous panoramic view of this city.

Kasbah, Agadir

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Posted by: travelrat | February 19, 2019

Amber Fort: Slide Show

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Amber Fort: 26th September 2018

I seem to have got things a little crossed up here. Before I went to Morocco, I posted about Jaipur … before I’d finished dealing with the Amber Fort.

However, I didn’t have much more to say, just show a few more pictures.

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Posted by: travelrat | February 17, 2019

Shopping

Shopping in Taroudant

When we’re shopping in Britain, we have it relatively easy. You browse; you pick out what you want to buy; find out if they have it in your size, and the colour you want, and then pay for it. Rather, that’s how it used to work; these days, you have to persuade the assistant … sorry, the retail management trainee … that s/he doesn’t need your phone number and email address, and that you don’t want details of the easy payment plan, the store card or the extended warranty.

In many countries overseas, it’s a much more protracted process. You and the shopkeeper or stallholder bargain. He will ask for (as a rough rule of thumb) twice what he thinks he’ll get, and you offer half of what you expect to pay and you will, hopefully, meet somewhere in the middle. This probably started because there are many other stalls nearby, selling the same item … and, usually, he needs to sell more than you need to buy. It could even be that how well he eats tonight depends on whether or not he sells.

If you need a few items, and if you have time, the ethical thing to do is buy from different stalls and shops; that way, you spread your spend among a few people, rather than just one. I say again if you have time!!

Shopping in places where bargaining is the norm can be a protracted and time-consuming business, and I don’t think some people realise this. On a recent tour, we had to waste considerable time just waiting around, while the guide looked for a group of young women who had decided to ‘go shopping’

I thought back to Casablanca, where Samir, our guide, realised that we might want to buy souvenirs. But, time was tight; he had to get us back to our ship by a certain time. So, he took us to a fixed-price co-operative.

Casablanca Co-operative

Posted by: travelrat | February 14, 2019

Keukenhof Video

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Keukenhof Gardens: 8th April 2018

Doesn’t time fly? It seems like only yesterday that we visited the Keukenhof Gardens, and, already, it’s Spring again. That is, according to one weatherlady, who thinks ability to go outside without a wooly hat, and ‘enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers’ heralds the arrival of that season.

As the song goes:

‘When it’s Spring again/ I’ll bring again/ tulips from Amsterdam …’

So, I’ll round off the visit we made to Keukenhof last year with a video.

 

Posted by: travelrat | February 12, 2019

Flight to Agadir

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Agadir: 28th January 2019

A fairly uneventful trip so far. Once more, we stayed the night at the Russ Hill Motel near Gatwick Airport, where they offer an accommodation and parking package.  So, a very early start to catch the flight.

Check in and bag drop were fully automated, although a staff member was on hand to show us how it worked, which I thought rather defeated the object.  We’d paid a supplement for seats by the emergency exits for the extra legroom they gave us, and it was well worth it.

Arrival in Morocco demonstrated one of the disadvantages of travelling in … or even with … a group. The interminable queueing for everything.  We’re staying at the Tikida Dunas Hotel, which is purely a resort hotel. There’s an extensive programme of things to do, but we probably won’t be taking advantage of too many of them, having a programme of our own booked.

The hotel is set in extensive gardens, with many swimming pools, and a duck pond. It looks vaguely Japanese in places. The whole affair seems to be a complex of gardens and water features, with the hotel added as an afterthought.  The main disadvantage, though, is trying to negotiate your way to breakfast along a poorly lit path in the pre-dawn darkness.

Hotel Tikada Dunas

Posted by: travelrat | February 10, 2019

Private Tour

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Before I launch into descriptions of the places we saw in Morocco, let me say a word about how we did it.

Most of the tours we took were private tours; just a car, us and the driver and/or guide. And, it left me debating which is the best way to really see anywhere. Back in the dim and distant past, I’d have said the only way was on your own two feet, carrying everything you own on your back. But, those days are long gone, although I still occasionally use the words ‘coach potatoes’ for those people who get transported from place to place in a luxury coach, usually ‘doing’ as many destinations as they can.

I’ve always had a soft spot for local buses or trains; they really get you among the people. I had the feeling that the private tour isolated you from your surroundings somewhat, although nothing like the extent to which a tourist coach does.

The happy medium, I concluded, was the ‘small group tour’ … usually in a minibus, or something, in which the guide talks to you, rather than talks at you. But, that depends on your fellow travellers. I changed my opinion completely in Taroudant, where we spent a lot of time just standing around, waiting for the guide, who had gone in search of some group members who had decided to go shopping!

PT1

Posted by: travelrat | February 7, 2019

Tiout

Tiout, Morocco

Posted by: travelrat | February 5, 2019

Taroudant

Taroudant, Morocco.

Posted by: travelrat | February 3, 2019

Essaouira.

Essaouira! The trip alone was worth it.

Posted by: travelrat | February 1, 2019

Atlas Mountains

Road trip to Imuezzer Falls. No water in them, but stupendous scenery

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