MOROCCO CERAMICS EXCURSION 2013 October 28(Casablanca) - November 18 (Casablanca) 21 DAYS
TRAVEL - LEARNING VACATIONS
The amazing history and culture of MOROCCO
Visit the imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes,Fez and Marrakesh Explore the ancient Roman ruins and mosaics at Volubilis Wander the narrow lanes of Chefchaouen with its red tiled roofs and bright blue buildings. Work with the women potters in the hilltop village of D'Har Discover Berber traditional pottery, adobe architecture, Moroccan tile art, and traditional crafts in Morocco. Visit the potteries in Safi -producers of highly decorated and brightly coloured glazed wares. Enjoy Moroccan food, music, gardens. Learn about Moroccan history, culture, customs from our on -board guide and interpreter.
Excursion Highlights MARRAKESH Founded in 1062, Marrakesh was the capital of Morocco several times throughout the country’s changing history and became an important artistic and cultural centre in the Islamic world. Once drawing camel caravans from the south, the oasis was the finest city many traders had ever seen. Nowadays, Marrakesh still attracts travellers, lured by its medieval myths and mystery. The 12 km-long, time-worn ramparts seem barely to contain the teeming life of the city. At the core of the city’s red coloured old Medina lies Djemaa el-Fna, a vast, lively square and to its north the warren of lanes that constitute the souqs (bazaars). Observe the daily life of the locals and vendors from a roof café and dive in the crowd at dusk as the curtain goes up on rows of smoking, open-air food stalls, sample traditional Moroccan cuisine and wander around the square, watching jugglers, storytellers snake charmers and musicians sourrounded by jostling spectators.
Look at traditional crafts such as pottery, leather work, Berber silver and carpets in the souqs and try for a bargain. Visit the most famous monuments such as the Koutoubia Mosque with its impressive minaret, a classic representation of Moroccan-Andalusian architecture, the Ali ben Youssef Medersa (theological college, built in 1565) as well as the Marrakesh Museum with their amazing stucco and tile decorations. Wander through the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) and visit the ancient palace Palais el-Badi (built between 1578 and 1602), watch the sunset from a roof, enjoy the view on the Atlas mountains as they get tinted in purple and listen to hundreds of muezzins calling for prayer. We overnight in a beautifully restored riad, a Moroccan town house tucked away in the narrow streets of the Medina and worlds away from the noise of the city. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the riad’s illuminated courtyard, surrounded by traditional stucco, tile and woodwork art, before starting the explorations of the day.
VOLUBILIS - Roman Ruins
This UNESCO world heritage site, is the best preserved Roman ruin in Morocco and is an exceptional example of a large Roman colonial town on the fringes of the Empire. Originally settled by Carthaginian traders in the 3rd century B.C., it houses some most extraordinary floor mosaics which are preserved in situ. It is possible to get very close to these mosaics for viewing and photography. In one stunning mosaic called Diana Bathing, the goddess was glimpsed in her bath by the hunter Acteon, who she turned into a stag as punishment. The Acrobat is another extremely well preserved mosaic on the floor of a mansion.
The capital, basilica, and 130 sq-metre forum are built on the high point of the city. Volubilis, at first glance, with some imagination, offer the opportunity to see what a traditional Roman city once looked like. We will explore this site with a well informed guide.
One of the most charming towns in Morocco, it is nestled below the peaks of the Rif mountains, and steps its way up the slopes of the valley wall below. The old medina is a mix of Moroccan and Andalucian influence with red roof tiles, bright blue ancient buildings and narrow winding pedestrian-only streets. We will be staying in an historic traditional casa in the middle of this picturesque setting, and there will be plenty of time to wander, imagine ancient times and stop for tea or a meal in an outside cafe.
On the way from Marrakesh over the High Atlas mountains to Ouarzazate, we visit Aït Benhaddou, one of the most exotic and best-preserved ksars (fortified villages) and admire the square towers, used as granaries, and the warren-like courtyard houses and alleys, made of adobe. In Ouarzazate, we visit another UNESCO heritage site and fine piece of adobe architecture, the Taourirt Kasbah. Being used as the Glaoui dynasty’s official palace, it consists of courtyards, living quarters and reception rooms, some of them decorated with tiles and featuring beautiful views on the Drâa River valley.
Our journey leads us along the magical Drâa River, one of the longest rivers in Morocco. We see beautiful adobe kasbahs and Berber villages as well as palmeraies, agricultural villages shaded by tall palm trees, where greens and dates are grown.
We stay overnight in a beautiful hotel in a palmeraie near Zagora, consisting of adobe rooms and Berber tents. Enjoy the fabulous buffet breakfast under a tent roof or by the palm-fringed pool as well as the delicious Berber cuisine and Moroccan wine an the hotel restaurant.
We will visit a variety of traditional family and community potteries in the Drâa Valley and in the Erfoud region. Participants will be able to observe the forming ,decorating and firing processes and engage in some hands-on experience. These potteries are often intergrated into the traditional community grouping of dwellings called Kasbahs. The structure of the dwellings and pottery building in themselves are a feast for the eyes as they are made from the local clay and incorporate architectual details unique to this North African region. The pots are generally for use in the daily life of the people and many are also exported to the cities and overseas, for example tajine cooking pots, vessels for water storage and date storage. The pots are firing using a variety of combustable fuels including palm fronts, brush, wood and sawdust. The kilns are largely wonderful updraft free-form structures built from local clay and they are often integrated into the walls of compounds and buildings. Often large water pots are incorporated into the studio walls, creating a lovely textural oddity.
The pots are formed using a variety of types of simple human powered wheels, large adobe hump moulds, and combinations of a variety of forming methods.There is very little glaze used in this region of Morocco, however, in the villages that we will visit some pots are decorated using slips, applied elements and incised lines.The exception is the village of Tamegroute which produces a line of green and brown lead glazed earthenware.
On our way to the desert, we will stop in the traditional village of N’Koob, boasting the largest number of kasbahs in Morocco. We dine and overnight in a sensitively restored adobe kasbah. After a visit to this exotic town, we continue our journey to the amazing region of Merzouga and Erfoud. Here, we will explore the outskirts of the Sahara desert, the Erg Chebbi.
We overnight in a small adobe hotel next to the dunes. Discover the dunes by walking and climbing them after breakfast and admire the clear sky with thousands of stars at night. Ride on a camel and spend a night in a Berber tent in the desert, experiencing the incredible peace and quiet. Explore the nearby town of Rissani, strolling at the market, where crafts and donkeys, goats and cattle are sold. On our way back to Ouarzazate, we will drive up the pleasant Dadès Gorge, taking you past almond and fig trees, fabulous rock formations and impressive kasbah and ksars. You will have the opportunity to hike in these beautiful surroundings.
CASABLANCAThe city features a blend of French colonial and traditional Moroccan styles – known as Mauresque architecture. Join us on a walking tour to the best examples of this architecture and admire the carved friezes, the beautiful tile work and ornate wrought-iron balconies. Visit the Hassan II Mosque, the world’s third-largest mosque, a blend of up-to-date French design and the work of thousands traditional Moroccan artisans. Stroll in the old Medina and sip a mint tea at the Café Sqala on Casablanca’s 18thcentury fortifications. Have an apéritif at the famous Rick’s Café and enjoy delicious seafood at a harbour restaurant.
ESSAOUIRA With its stone ramparts and turrets and its almost perfectly preserved maze-like medina, Essaouira is a very charming Atlantic coastal town. Most of its architecture was built in 1765, when Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abedallah hired a French architect, Théodore Cornut, to create a city suitable for foreign trade, such as the commercial link between Timbuktu and Europe. Stroll in a labyrinth of narrow lanes inside the town walls, look at the whitewashed houses with their blue doors and beautiful doorways, adorned with tile and stucco, enjoy the tranquil squares and visit the artisans in their tiny workshops. Walk around the snug, fortified harbour,watch the fishermen unloading their catch and hike along the long windswept beach backed by large sand dunes. We will overnight in a beautiful riad in the Medina with view on the water.
FES Being the oldest of the imperial cities, Fès became the country’s religious and cultural centre, shaped by each of the great dynasties and by its populations’s roots in Muslim Spain. The Medina of Fès el-Bali (Old Fès) is one of the largest living medieval cities in the world with a maze of narrow winding alleys and covered bazaars as well as mosques and medersas, featuring tile art, stucco and woodwork.
Special visit to the potteries that produce the marvellous handpainted, glazed ceramics.
Visit the Dar Batha Museum housed in a Hispano-Moorish palace, with ist superb ceramic collection dating from the 14th century to the present, end the day enjoying the special Fès cuisine and overnight in a centuries old riad, looking from your room into a courtyard with orange trees.
Please note that the package does not include airfare (see options below).
Package Includes: 2013 Accommodation in Casablanca: 2 nights, breakfasts, 1 dinner Accommodation in Rabat:1 night, dinner, breakfast Accommodation in Chefchaouen:2 nights, breakfasts Accommodation in Fes, 3 nights, breakfasts,1 dinner Accommodation in Erfoud: 1 night, breakfast, dinner Accommodation in Mersouga or desert tent:1 night, breakfast dinner Accommodation in Dades: 2 nights, beakfasts, 2 dinners Accommodation in Ouarzazate: 2 nights, breakfasts, 2 dinners Accommodation in Zagora: 2nights, 2 dinners Accommodation in Marrakesh: 3 nights, breakfasts, 1 dinner Accommodation in Essaouira: 2 nights, breakfasts A special lunch in the D'har pottery. Transfer from airport to hotel,and hotel to airport in Casablanca Maximum group size of 14 persons Transport in first-class minivan Interpretation, history and culture by local guide throughout the entire excursion On-board professional ceramic artist and tour leader Special guided tours to sights in Fes, Volubilis, Meknes, Marrakesh, Essaouira and others Visits to potteries representing a wide variety of ceramic styles, firing,and decoration. Optional camel trek in the desert. Museum and site entrance fees. Bottled drinking water. back to top
►Special fare flights to Casablanca return can be arranged on request. ►Variable return dates. Extend your vacation and travel to other places in Morocco or the region.
If you must cancel ,the following cancellation fees will apply:
up to May 5
May 6- August 31
September 1-September 14
September 15-September 30
October 1-October 28
Deposit of $200
Deposit plus 35% of the invoice total
Deposit plus 50% of the invoice total
Deposit plus 75% of the invoice total
There is no refund for arriving late or leaving the trip early.
Discovery Art Travel reserves the right to cancel the trip due to low enrolment, or if we feel that the quality of the trip or the safety of travelers would be compromised. In such a case ,we will refund all payments received to date, which constitutes full settlement.
Day 1/October 28- Arrive at Casablanca hotel Royal Mansour Meridien ,welcoming dinner at hotel. Day 2 - Morning visit to Hassan II Mosque, special lunch, drive to the Imperial city of Rabat, dinner and overnight at the Sofitel Diwan Hotel Day 3 - Drive to Chefchaouen, lunch, free afternoon, Wander the narrow lanes of Chefchaouen with its red tiled roofs and bright blue buildings.Overnight at the historic Hassan Riad . Day 4 - Visit to womens pottery in mountain village of Dhar, demos, lunch, optional walking or making. Day 5 - Drive to the Imperial city of Meknes, visit the Roman mosaics at Volubilis, lunch in the hilltop town of Idriss Zerhoun - overnight in Fes at the Riad Jaouhara Day 6 - Fes pottery visitations, free time. Day 7 - Fes guided tour of special sights. Day 8 - Drive to Erfoud with dinner and overnight at Kasbah Tizimi. Day 9 - Visit an amazing fossil place. Guided visit through historic Kasabah.Drive to Merzouga, where you will take 4x4’s to your desert auberge. Enjoy a sunset walk in the dunes and dinner at the Auberge Dunes D’or, or enjoy a traditional Moroccan dinner, stay in a berber tent under the stars. Day 10 - Early return to the auberge by camels, auberge breakfast.Travel to the beautiful Dadès Gorge region. Finish off the day with a delicious meal at the suberb Kasbah Xalaca Dades restaurant . Overnight at the 4 star Kasbah Xaluca Dades. Day 11 - Tingehir, gorge walks, lunch, overnight at the Xaluca Dades. Day 12 - Drive to Ouarzazate. Visit the famous Taourirt Kasbah at Ouarzazate (Unesco heritage site). Dinner and overnight at Kasbah Dar Daif. Day 13 - Travel to Zagora, lunch and visit pottery family in Agdz. Overnight and dinner at Riad Lamane our beautiful hotel located in a palmeraie. Day 14 - Astour large jar pottery visitation, overnight and dinner at Riad Lamane. Day 15 - Free morning. Drive to Ouarzazate Day 16 -Travel to Marrakech ( via Ait benhaddou) Dinner and overnight at the beautiful Riad Moucharabieh. Day 17-First exploration of Marrakesh. Try your hand at bargaining in the souq (market) and enjoy a glass of mint tea in one of the terrace cafes. Overnight at Riad Moucharabieh. Day 18 - Guided tour to some of the most fascinating sites of Marrakesh, such as the Ali ben Youssef Medersa and other examples of Moroccan-Andalusian architecture. Free afternoon. Dinner at a restaurant in Marrakesh or the famous food market on the Djemaa el-Fna. Overnight at Riad Moucharabieh. Day 19 - Drive to the port city of Essaouira, fish dinner, overnight in charming Riad Mimouna Day 20 - Historical tour of Essaouira with emphasis on Portuguese tile art. Day 21 - Drive to Casablanca, via Oualidya for lunch (famous for oysters) and Safi pottery visitation with overnight at the Royal Mansour Hotel in Casablanca. Day 22/ November 18-Breakfast, individual departures
To reserve your space, please send a deposit of $200.
Deposits are now being accepted, and sign up appears to be heavy for this trip. Please reserve a space on this exciting excursion by sending in your deposit using one of the payment options indicated below..
Payment - excl. Airfare
* The excursion price is estimated 12 months ahead of the departure date. Therefore, depending on currency fluctuations, price increases in services, surcharges and taxes, the final excursion price may increase up to a maximum of 5%. This final price will be determined and fixed before the final invoice is sent.
Cheque You can mail a cheque to: Denys James, 182 Welbury Drive, Salt Spring Island, B.C., Canada V8K 2L8
A deposit of $200 is required to hold a space , and deposits received before April 15th, will yield a $100 refund.
A payment of $1000 is due in our office on May 5th.
The balance of the trip cost is due on August 31st..
More Information: Ph/Fax (250) 537- 4906 • E-mail: Denys James.