A Moroccan Adventure
with JES JOHN + ANDREA LANE
1-13 October 2016
CONTACT Rita Lazauskas @ AMAZIGH CULTURAL TOURS to find out everything you want to know.
Or just READ ON:
ATLAS: Slow Food/Fast Words is a Moroccan adventure – a tour built for those who love slow travel; slow food, slow culture, slow art and slow discovery. Think meandering through the medina, time to sit, time to write, time to think, time to experience fully a wonderful culture and a wonderfully beautiful country.
Bonuses include guided activities and tasks to get your brain swirling and your fingers moving, creating your very own adventure almanac, full to the brim with your take on every new experience.
Street food. Market bustle. Spice piles and wild figs. Flipped flat breads and slow tagines. Shared plates. Dates that melt. Sweet mint tea. Capture the essence of this real food journey with your ALMANAC – snippets of prose. And old style film. Sketches of things that make you laugh. Keep it secret. Or publish your masterpiece. Yours forever. Written, illustrated and stitched by hand.
Director @ (f)route, an artist-made Travel Bureau, Andrea has many years experience in journalism, arts-driven social enterprise, and the creation of ‘much – out of nothing’! With a passion for ideas, food, and art, Andrea has an ability to create and curate experiences worth travelling for.
Jes has a background in many creative things – writing, photography, design, visual art and travel – which has seen her visiting every continent in the world. Last year, she self-published her first book [titled go, do] full of short stories inspired by her journeys, with collected analogue images. Jes also has an extensive background in zine-making, workshop-facilitation, community-activism and co-operative-style arts.
Day 1 – Marrakech
Greet and transfer to traditional Riad guesthouse in the old Medina.
Transfers from Marrakech airport to the guesthouse are included.
5pm Meet in the lounge area for introductions. The tour commences late afternoon to give everyone time to arrive, check in and freshen up after traveling to Marrakech. We take an evening walk in the Medina to get our first sights, smells and sounds of Morocco before dinner and discussion – although many people who have just flown direct from Australia are a bit too tired to take much in on the first night, we will share our first ideas for our travel ALMANAC and hand out your ATLAS almanac kit to get you inspired. Old style tools for old style notes. Snatched thoughts, scribbled maps. Snaps. Accommodation on HB (half board) includes dinner.
Day 2 – Marrakech
Breakfast and orientation briefing on tour details. We will discuss the itinerary and you will have time to ask any questions. As we get into the groove – there’s no pressure to create, just snap and scribble. Begin your map. Capture sounds. Jot words and thoughts. Ideas forming. Notice things. Unwind a little.
9.30am Morning guided tour of the old Medina visiting some major cultural sites such as Dar Si Said, the Tiskiwin Museum, the famous Jemaa el Fna square and the colourful artisanal souqs where every imaginable traditional craft can be found – leather, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, etc. Walk to the food and spice souqs of the famous Mellah (Jewish) quarter. After our tour we will lunch at ‘Dar Cherifa – Literary Cafe’, an historic building in the heart of the Medina before wandering back to the guesthouse.
ACTIVITY: 6-7pm We will meet on the roof terrace to share our first impressions of Morocco, and discuss ideas and aspirations for the coming days and the creation of your travel ALMANAC.
7.30pm Dinner at a nearby restaurant specialising in the traditional Moroccan ‘Tangia’ – a slow-cooked spiced meat dish. Accommodation on B&B
Day 3 – Marrakech
9am Morning visit to the Jardin Majorelle and Berber Museum in Gueliz that houses Yves St Laurent’s famous collection of jewellery and traditional textiles and artefacts where we can take time to enjoy the exquisite cactus garden. Take time at this fantastic complex to absorb the nature of the traditional artefacts and decorative arts that inspired Laurent’s fashion design and can now inspire your own creative response, whether written or visual. Take in the peaceful ambience of the garden and striking colour incorporated into the garden design. After lunch we visit the Artisanal Ensemble to view a variety of handmade traditional crafts with time to do some shopping.
ACTIVITY: But what does that do? – an introduction to taking the best creative travel photos you can – with your camera. 6-7pm on the roof terrace.
7.30pm Walk to dinner at the famous Jemma El Fna square – choose one of the many food stalls or a nearby cafe. The Jemma El Fna is a market with food and entertainment, everything from snake charmers to story tellers and has been going on every night for over 1,000 years. It is a favourite haunt for both locals and tourists and the food is simple, traditional fare at very reasonable prices. Accommodation on B&B.
Day 4 – Ait Oumghar
8am Breakfast. 9am depart for the village of Ait Oumghar near Demnate in the Atlas Mountains, approximately 1.5 hours drive east from Marrakech. We will stop to take a short walk at the unique geological site of Imi-N-Ifri before going to our destination where we stay at an exquisite Guesthouse where the kitchen garden that produces most of the needs of the house. After lunch we can take a walk through the village and visit a small women’s association to participate in some fruit preserve cooking and view the works made by the local embroidery group .
3-5pm cooking with seasonal fruit. Hands on figs. Picking, peeling, scooping & cooking. Handmade recipes files, sketching and photoshoot. Still life + words.
Accommodation on HB to include dinner and breakfast.
Day 5 – Tamdaght
8 am Breakfast
8.30am Depart early for a spectacular drive over the Atlas Mountains via Tizi’n’Tichka the highest pass in the Atlas Mountains. Visit a women’s argan oil cooperative to sample the culinary and cosmetic wares and see the traditional production methods of this oil that is exclusive to Morocco. Take the less travelled route via the beautiful Ounila Valley to visit the historic Kasbah El Glaoui in Telouet, the renowned adobe fortress of the former Pasha Thami El Glaoui that has examples of the finest craftsmanship in Morocco and a history that will make your hair stand on end…plenty of scope to draw inspiration for your work! Lunch on the local specialty tagine with figs and walnuts, before we continue to our destination near the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou. Accommodation on HB to include dinner and breakfast.
Day 6 – Skoura
Today we start with a guided tour of the famous Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, site of many famous films including Gladiator, Game of Thrones, etc. We will be steeped in the history of this ancient place and we will move slowly throughout, taking time to reflect and write, creating artistic entries for our ALMANACS.
ACTIVITY: INSTANT PORTRAITS – we will experiment with an instant film camera, using slow technology combined with ancient settings, to create unique portraitures.
After lunch we visit the Akhnif Lglawi carpet cooperative in Tabouraht to view a range of traditional Amazigh carpets, then continue to Skoura via the major regional centre of Ouazarzate, home of the Atlas Film Studios and gateway to the Sahara, where we can have our photos developed.
HB Accommodation in a traditional guesthouse set in the oasis valley and palm groves to include dinner.
Day 7 – Skoura
8.30am Breakfast. If you are up early you can see our hosts bake the traditional bread (xhobs mechoui) in the wood-fired clay oven at home and eat it hot from the oven for breakfast – a rare experience. After breakfast we take a morning walk through the oasis valley where you will see how the local community village gardens operate using a network of communal irrigation channels amongst the palm groves. Visit the local pottery where a family continues to produce clay ovens and tagine dishes in the traditional way. Drink tea with the family and see a demonstration of their craftsmanship. Return to the guesthouse for lunch.
ACTIVITY: UN-POSTCARD – write a long letter to a friend, by hand and late afternoon we will learn how to cook a fruity tagine and help the family prepare our evening meal. Enjoy our freshly printed photographs and start selecting images for our ALMANAC
8pm Dinner on the terrace with a traditional Amazigh music performance where potters by day become musicians by night! HB accommodation includes breakfast and dinner.
Day 8 – Merzouga, Sahara
8.30am Depart for Merzouga (5-6hrs) via the Rose Valley and Valley of 1,000 Kasbahs where we visit a local rose oil distillery, sample the rose water and a range of cosmetics. Lunch in a cafe en route and visit the Musee de Oasis at Tinjdad which houses a collection illustrating rural and agricultural life in the oasis valleys of southern Morocco. Continue via the village of Erfoud and visit the Fossil Museum and sales outlet. Guesthouse at the dune line on HB to include dinner.
Day 9 – Merzouga
Breakfast – at your leisure…
ACTIVITY: ALL DAY… time to write, time to think…sketch things. Meander through the dunes. Lunch on a local Amazigh treat ‘medfouna’ traditionally baked on hot coals in the desert sands. Relax by the pool and as an optional extra you can take in a sunset camel ride through the dunes!
SLIDE NIGHT: Share your 3 favourite photos on the big screen. People’s choice rules.
HB accommodation includes dinner
Day 10 – Nkob
9am Depart for the drive south of the Jebel Sahro range to the village of Nkob which abounds with mud kasbahs and will provide a truly authentic experience in a rural environment that is not on the tourist map.
Have a free afternoon to wander the streets, check out the oasis gardens or relax by the pool. Sit at a cafe and watch the bustle of activity in the streets…sketch, write…gather your impressions in whatever form to suit your ALMANAC.
HB accommodation includes dinner
Day 11 – Nkob
ACTIVITY: After breakfast we spend the day completing our ALMANAC…write, paste, stitch…and catch up on recipes, take a stroll through the village or relax by the pool.
6pm gather together again in the evening to share the pages of our creative work and review of our special ALMANAC travel diary.
Day 12 – Marrakech
8.30am Return to Marrakech via the spectacular Anti Atlas Mountains through Agdz and the Tizi’n’Tichka pass. Have time for some last minute shopping or experience a traditional Hammam (Turkish-style bath) or massage.
6.30pm Meet for pre-dinner drinks on the terrace, and enjoy the fruits of our labour on our last night together.
Accommodation on B&B farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 13 – Marrakech
Tour ends after breakfast Transfer to Marrakech airport for departure provided.
Or arrange a further extension tour with ACTM!
Suggestions include; the relaxing coastal port of Essaouira, the imperial city of Fes and the Blue City of Chefchaouen.