TEXTILE ARTS OF MOROCCO
Including architecture, culture & cuisine
MAY 24 – JUNE 5, 2019 / Extension JUNE 5 – JUNE 8, 2019
Specially prepared for Textile Center by Noble Journeys
Join us on a specially designed journey to Morocco during its beautiful Spring season to experience life in this fascinating, exotic country. It will be led by anthropologist and Moroccan textile expert Dr. Susan Schaefer Davis, author of the newly released book Women Artisans of Morocco: Their Stories, Their Lives, published by Thrums Books and available in the Textile Center Shop. Susan will share her years of experience living and working there, and introduce us to her friends and colleagues.
Morocco is a country of continually changing contrasts, with intriguing architecture, beautiful mosaics, rich cuisine, complex history, and a natural beauty that will entice you into further exploration. Excellent highways, specially chosen accommodations, delicious meals, unique activities and a superb local guide combine to make this a most memorable journey.
Exotic spices, local people dressed in long caftans and djellabas (classic robes), artisans using techniques from ancient times, donkey traffic, and modern cars can all be seen in the winding narrow streets. The variety of landscapes includes stark, high mountains, lush green oases, the rugged Atlantic coast and the dense cedar forests that are home to Barbary apes.
The country is safe, its people welcoming. Their separate history and different ethnic mix distinguish them from other Arab lands. Due to late colonization, traditional ways of life exist undisturbed, though signs of modernization can be seen. As the number of travelers is limited to 16, space will fill quickly and we hope you can take advantage of this unique travel opportunity. Join us now!
Main Trip: $5,595* per person in double occupancy / $1,015 single supplement
Extension: $1,195 per person double occupancy / $340 single supplement
*Rate includes a $600 tax-deductible contribution to Textile Center.
For more information, call 612-436-0464
~ ITINERARY ~
DAY 1 – Friday, May 24 USA – MOROCCO
Overnight flight to Morocco from your home city; meals aloft.
DAY 2 – Saturday, May 25 – CASABLANCA
Arriving at the Casablanca airport, pass through Security; collect your luggage (there are free luggage carts), pass through Customs and go into the arrival hall, where our representative will be holding a sign with either your name(s) or Noble Journeys. Meals on own. Meals indicated below by (B)reakfast, (L)unch, (D)inner.
HOTEL HYATT REGENCY
DAY 3 – Sunday, May 26 – CASABLANCA to FES
After breakfast, we drive to the beautiful Hassan II mosque (right), the only one open to non-Muslims in the country. A short drive takes us to the home of Halima, one of Susan’s long-time friends and colleagues. She has made us a delicious classic Moroccan lunch, our first taste of this intriguing cuisine. A 3 hour drive takes us through rolling fields to the unexpected Roman ruins of Volubilis (left), once the breadbasket of the Roman empire. We arrive in Fes later that day, the quintessential Islamic city.
HOTEL RIAD YACOUT BLD
DAY 4 – Monday, May 27 – FES
Welcome to Fes! Founded in 909 AD, it is the intellectual and spiritual capital of today’s Morocco. We visit a ceramic workshop to see classic Fes style bowls, mosaics and tiles being made, using ancient traditional techniques, and we’ll spend time in the labyrinth of the medina (top of page), with over 15,000 tiny streets among the multitude of stalls and shops featuring artisans, cafes, rugs, jewelry, clothing, and antiques. And we’ll visit the last existing drawloom in Fes, to watch tapestry textiles being woven. Enter the extraordinary world of the tanneries, with men working in the vats as they have for centuries. The surrounding rooftops are spread with drying skins in a myriad of brilliant colors. Lunch in the medina; dinner on own.
HOTEL RIAD YACOUT BL
DAY 5 – Tuesday, May 28 – FES
Continue sightseeing this morning, including a visit to a rug merchant, with an excellent choice of designs from all over Morocco. Susan will use these rugs to give an illustrated introduction to Moroccan weaving styles, describing the colors, textures, images and stories behind the hand-woven pieces. Free time this afternoon. Lunch and dinner on your own.
HOTEL RIAD YACOUT B
DAY 6 – Wednesday, May 29 – FES to BENI MELLAL
A special workshop has been arranged today, an hour’s drive from Fes, as guests of Susan’s friend Amina Yabis (right), who will show us the plants she uses for natural dyes, and demonstrate her dyeing techniques. She, and members of her womens’ coop, will teach us how to needle weave buttons used on Moroccan classic robes, which they also use to create charming woven bead jewelry. After lunch here, made by Amina, we begin our 5 hour drive towards Marrakech, along the High Atlas Mountains. We stop for the night near the town of Beni Mellal.
HOTEL TAZERKOUNT BLD
DAY 7 – Thurs, May 30 – BENI MELLAL to MARRAKECH
We have a 3½ hour drive through the countryside to Marrakech. We’ll keep our eyes out for any traditional weekly markets or celebrations in villages along the way. We arrive in Marrakech, founded in 1062, but probably with Neolithic origins. It is one of the world’s most distinctive cities, with the High Atlas Mountains as a backdrop, great medina and ancient monuments. It has been referred to as “Marrakech the Red” due to the soft reddish color of most buildings in the city. Lunch in a local café before sightseeing. Check into hotel and have dinner there.
HOTEL ATLAS MEDINA BLD
DAY 8 – Friday, May 31 – MARRAKECH
Begin the day with a visit to the beautiful Majorelle Gardens (left), re-created by the late French couturier Yves St. Laurent, whose private villa is adjacent. The Berber Museum, located within the Gardens, is a beautifully curated collection of the designer, filled with Moroccan classic jewelry, clothing, carved wooden doors, ceramics, and other museum-quality artifacts. We continue our sightseeing with a visit to the medina, so different from that of Fes. Workshops and stalls are filled with traditional crafts of the country—jewelry, carpets, leather, and ceramics—as well as delicious dried fruits, nuts, and colorful produce. We enter the ancient square of J’maa el Fna, filled with acrobats, storytellers, snake charmers, musicians, soothsayers, trance dancers, and water sellers in traditional costume. Enticing aromas from the many food stalls add to the rich texture—the colors and pulse of Morocco.
After a classic lunch in the medina, we’ll visit a group of handicapped women who are proud they can support themselves with their embroidery on both traditional linens and on clothing. We’ll enjoy a visit to the new Yves St. Laurent Museum, featuring his work, sketches, and photographs by the many famous photographers who created looks for fashion magazines. Dinner on own
HOTEL ATLAS MEDINA BL
DAY 9 – Saturday, June 1 – MARRAKECH
We drive a short distance out of Marrakech to enjoy a unique cooking class in a chef’s organic garden, which will include lunch – a highlight of many travelers! We’ll return to town to continue sightseeing, and we take you to visit a marvelous shop, better than a museum, displaying museum quality textiles, rugs, artifacts, and gorgeous jewelry (traditional tribal and contemporary).
HOTEL ATLAS MEDINA BL
DAY 10 – Sunday, June 2 – MARRAKECH
Today is free for you to enjoy on your own, to continue exploring or to enjoy the spa at the hotel.
HOTEL ATLAS MEDINA B
DAY 11 – Monday, June 3 – MARRAKECH to OUARZAZATE
We drive about 4 hours south, crossing the majestic High Atlas Mountains. Just outside the tiny village of N’Kob, we’ll change to a smaller bus to take us up to the village, home to a group of women weavers featured in Susan’s book. She will introduce us to these artisans and their work, enjoy lunch there, and learn about their lives. We return to our original bus and drive to the nearby town of Ouarzazate, home to the Moroccan film industry, and spend the night in a charming hotel, with dinner.
HOTEL BERBER PALACE BLD
Day 12 – Tuesday, June 4 – OUARZAZATE to MARRAKECH
After breakfast we’ll drive to the nearby village of Zawiya Tidgheste, to visit more of Susan’s local friends, their work, the women’s center and more. They have also created a charming small museum, featuring artifacts collected from the past inhabitants of the village. They prepare lunch for us before we drive back to Marrakech, about a 4 hr. drive. We’ll enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.
HOTEL ATLAS MEDINA BLD
Day 13 – Wednesday, June 5 – MARRAKECH to CASABLANCA
Those not taking the Extension to Essaouira leave around 5 a.m. for the 3 hour drive to the Casablanca airport for those who have a return flight home this day. B
~ EXTENSION ~
DAY 13 – Wednesday, June 5 – MARRAKECH to ESSAOUIRA
Leaving Marrakech, we begin the 3½-hour drive west to Essaouira, a picturesque fishing village on the Atlantic coast. This charming town was always an important port—the Romans treasured the rare purple dye extracted here from the murex shellfish. It also became a haven for artists and musicians from all over the world, who still come here today, and Orson Welles filmed “Othello” here. We’ll enjoy an excellent grilled seafood lunch, overlooking the beach, before our walking tour of this unique town, where the clear blue sky accents the white washed shops and homes trimmed in blue, meant to repel the evil eye.
From the stone ramparts of the Scala de la Ville, with its 16th century Portuguese fortifications, to the bustling fishing harbor, Essaouira is a visual delight. Many wood carving workshops are located here, specializing in the use of the local fragrant burled thuja wood. We’ll also visit an interesting school teaching handicapped students to make very attractive silver jewelry; this is a great place to purchase gifts to take home. Dinner at the hotel.
HOTEL VILLA MAROC BLD
DAY 14 – Thursday, June 6 – ESSAOUIRA
You have the entire day to explore on your own, shop, relax in a café to watch the world go by—or book a classic hammam (Turkish bath) and a massage. Dinner on own.
HOTEL VILLA MAROC BL
DAY 15 – Friday, June 7 – ESSAOUIRA to CASABLANCA
We leave after breakfast for the approximately 3-hour drive north, along the Atlantic coast, to a charming restaurant for lunch, in a gorgeous garden in the tiny town of Oualidia, located on a picturesque lagoon. We then continue on to Casablanca, about a 3-hour drive; dinner at the hotel.
HOTEL HYATT REGENCY BLD
DAY 16 – Saturday, June 8 – CASABLANCA – USA
We are transferred to the airport for our flights home, bidding fond farewell to this enchanting country. B
TRIP WILL INCLUDE:
- Accommodations as indicated, or similar
- Meals as indicated, with soft drinks, coffee/tea/bottled water included
- Private transport with bottled water on board
- Airport arrival transfer to hotel; hotel transfer to airport for departure
- Study Leader: anthropologist Dr. Susan Schaefer Davis
- Special English speaking guide throughout the trip
- All sightseeing and entrance fees
- Private dye and needle weave workshop
- Private cooking class
- Specially arranged visits and lectures
- Taxes and services in hotels and restaurants included in the program
- Country and departure information
- Any meals and/or drinks not specified
- Travel insurance
- International air fare
- Items of a personal nature (telephone, laundry, wi-fi, alcoholic beverages, etc.)
- Tips to guide and driver (recommendations provided)
You must be covered by travel and medical insurance that is valid overseas. We strongly recommend that you obtain travel insurance as well, including coverage for trip cancellation, loss/ theft of baggage, delay, emergency evacuation, etc. Noble Journeys and Textile Center are not and cannot be responsible for these expenses. Please contact us for further information.
EXTRA HOTEL NIGHT(S):
For those wishing to come in a night or two earlier, we can arrange accommodations at the Hyatt Regency Casablanca hotel and airport transfer: $180 pp in double or twin; $270 single . Price includes breakfast and transfer from airport. You may indicate this request for extra night(s) on the Reservation Form.
A non-refundable deposit of $1,635 per person for main trip, is due on or before TUESDAY, OCT. 30, 2018.
Final payment is due, on or before TUESDAY, MARCH 26, 2019. We ask that travelers write a check, or pay by credit card to Textile Center. Please note, THERE WILL BE NO REFUND OF ANY PAYMENT MADE AFTER MARCH 26, 2019.