He knows no fear!

My travels to Morocco in 2014 – part 1

I have just come back from a trekking expedition in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

This is not the first time that I have been to Morroco as my previous blog shows:

https://britisharmysgtmonkey.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/my-night-the-desert-with-a-berber-tribe/

I was aiming to climb the highest mountain in the Atlas Mountains and also the highest mountain in North Africa.

A map of Morocco showing Mt. Toubkal.

A map of Morocco showing Mt. Toubkal.

The mountain in question was Mt. Toubkal at 4167m. It is located 63 km south of the city of Marrakesh, in the Toubkal National Park, and is a popular destination for climbers. Toubkal National Park was established in 1942, it covers an area of 380 km2. The first known ascent by Europeans was on 12th June 1923 by the Marquis de Segonzac, Vincent Berger and Hubert Dolbeau.

The mountain is not technical for climbing however it is steep and the ascent is hard going. During the winter, the mountain is icy and thus crampons and winter climbing skills are needed.

I flew into Marrakesh airport that is now served by budget airliners from the UK. However, I decided to fly business class as I am somewhat special.

Flying over the desert.

Flying over the desert.

After checking into my hotel I went over the map again to make sure that I knew where I was going.

I was studying my proposed route on the map.

I was studying my proposed route on the map.

I decided to spend a few days here to look at the sights and sounds of Marrakesh.

First on my wishlist was to see the Jemaa el-Fnaa square. It is part of the city’s medina that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Jemaa el-Fnaa square with the Moroccan flag.

The Jemaa el-Fnaa square with the Moroccan flag.

The square and market place is in Marrakesh’s medina quarter known as the old city.

The Jemaa el-Fnaa square during the day.

The Jemaa el-Fnaa square during the day.

It remains the main square of Marrakesh, used by locals and tourists.

The square is full of activity.

The square is full of activity.

Here one can buy fossils, souvenirs, carpets and other tack. Snake charmers and dancers here demand money for souvenir photos.

The square is the centre of Old Marrakesh.

The square is the centre of Old Marrakesh.

Shortly before noon on 28th April 2011, a blast originating in a cafe in the square killed 17 people and injured another 25. It is thought that it was a bomb attack.

Many tacky sourvenirs can be haggled over here.

Many tacky sourvenirs can be haggled over here.

I brought myself 7kgs of fossils although I think some of them are cement fakes.

The souk in the medina.

The souk in the medina.

I also got my auntie a tagine cooking pot for her birthday.

Olive stalls in the market souks.

Olive stalls in the market souks.

You can easily get lost in the medina.

My dinner being delivered to my hotel.

My dinner being delivered to my hotel.

Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in the city. It was completed under the reign of the Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184-1199).

Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh.

Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh.

The mosque is closed to non-muslins.

The mosque is near the square.

The mosque is near the square.

The minaret is constructed from sandstone and stands 77 metres (253 ft) high.

The minaret stands over the city.

The minaret stands over the city.

Next was to visit the city walls. The ramparts of Marrakesh stretch for some 12 miles (19 kms) around the medina of the city,

The old city walls of Marrakesh.

The old city walls of Marrakesh.

They were built by the Almoravids in the 12th century as protective fortifications for the city.

The walls were impressive.

The walls were impressive.

It was now evening time so I decided to go for a swim at my hotel.

Relaxing at the pool.

Relaxing at the pool.

The sun was going down.

Enjoying the sunset.

Enjoying the sunset.

I headed back to the square for dinner.

Having snails for my dinner.

Having snails for my dinner.

The sun sets over the city for the next day I was to head to the mountains.

The sun sets over Marrakesh.

The sun sets over Marrakesh.

I need an early night for tomorrow I was heading to the mountains.

To be continued….

For more information about Morocco please visit:

www.visitmorocco.com

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