Textile Center is pleased to co-present a textile arts tour of Morocco September 23 through October 4, 2017, with Noble Journeys and anthropologist and Moroccan textile expert Dr. Susan Schaefer Davis.

TEXTILE ARTS OF MOROCCO
Including architecture, culture & cuisine
Specially prepared for Textile Center
September 23-October 4, 2017 / Extension October 4-7, 2017

Join us on a specially designed journey to Morocco to experience life in this fascinating, exotic country. It will be led by anthropologist and Moroccan textile expert Dr. Susan Schaefer Davis, who 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, a 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 distinguishes 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!

ITINERARY

DAY 01 Sept. 23 Saturday USA – MOROCCO
Overnight flight to Morocco from your home city; meals aloft.

DAY 02 Sept. 24 Sunday CASABLANCA
Arriving at the Casablanca airport, a private car and driver await you, after you pass Security and Customs. You will be taken to the hotel, located in the heart of the city. An optional dinner with others arriving early, at renowned Rick’s Cafe, can be arranged, depending upon arrival times.
HOTEL HYATT REGENCY (Meals on own.)

DAY 03 Sept. 25 Monday CASABLANCA – RABAT
Begin the day with a guided visit to the public market, filled with flowers, baskets and an enormous display of fish, fresh from the port. Continue on to the Hassan II mosque, the largest in Morocco and, the only one open to non-Muslims. 25,000 worshippers can gather inside this gorgeous edifice, filled with hand carved and painted cedar ceiling panels and screens, Carrara marble, mosaics and magnificent chandeliers from Murano. We drive through Casablanca to the home of Halima, a dear friend and colleague of Dr. Susan Davis for many years. She has prepared a delicious classic lunch for us. A lively discussion follows, where you may ask questions on her life and family—and she may have some for you! A 1 ½ hr. drive takes us along the coast into Rabat, the capital city of Morocco. We’ll have a guided tour of the magnificent Mohammed V mausoleum and the Hassan II tower. We continue on to our hotel. Dinner at hotel.
HOTEL CANTOR TERMINUS (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

DAY 04 Sept. 26 Tuesday RABAT – VOLUBILIS – FES
We’ll enjoy breakfast at the hotel with Morocco’s renowned writer, Leila Abouzeid, who will discuss her work and read to us from her most current book. After this enlightening encounter, we drive a short distance to the picturesque Kasbah des Oudaias, a tiny walled enclave in Rabat, right on the ocean. Many expatriates and local notables live in this blue and white village, filled with photo opportunities. We’ll have lunch in Rabat before driving 3 hrs. east to Volubilis, the former breadbasket of the Roman Empire, for a guided walk through the unexpected and stunning Roman ruins. Our drive continues for 1 hour to Fes and we check into our beautiful hotel. Before dinner here, we’ll enjoy the video Susan Davis helped make on Moroccan textiles, working with three museum textile curators – including Lotus Stack from the MIA. You’ll see the variety of woven and embroidered clothing, linens and upholstery used in Moroccan weddings and daily life, and the tools used to produce them. These range from very simple to the complex drawloom that produces intricate brocades, and we will see some of them the next day when we stroll through the medina (old town).
RIAD SALAM (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

DAY 05 Sept. 27 Wednesday FES
Welcome to Fes, the quintessential Islamic city. Founded in 909 AD, it is the intellectual and spiritual capital of today’s Morocco. We begin our day with a visit to a ceramic workshop to see classic Fes style bowls, mosaics and tiles being made, using ancient traditional techniques. Our full-day tour will include viewing the dramatic bronze doors of the King’s palace, unique architecture in the Andalucian neighborhood, a Koranic school for young children and so much more. Enter into the labyrinth of the medina, with over 15,000 tiny streets among the multitude of stalls and shops featuring artisans, cafes, rugs, jewelry, clothing, and antiques. We’ll explore the narrow streets where no cars or trucks may enter–donkeys are the only form of transportation, carrying produce, building materials, water, bolts of fabric, and any other items requiring transport in or out of the medina. We see coffee shops filled with men in their djellabas (classic hooded robes), deep in conversation, carts selling nougat and colorful prayer candles, mounds of fragrant mint and shops where woodcarvings, clothing, and jewelry are sold. The distinctive “clack clack” of looms invites us to seek out weavers nearby. 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 with our recommendations.
RIAD SALAM (Breakfast/Lunch)

DAY 06 Sept. 28 Thursday 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. If you might consider purchasing a rug (or two!), we suggest bringing sizes and color swatches to aid in your decision-making, with no obligation. If you’d like a head start on Moroccan weaving, go to Susan’s website www.marrakeshexpress.org and click on Gallery for an overview of Moroccan rug styles. Free time this afternoon. Please let us know, ahead of time, if you have any special interests—i.e. gardens, music, architecture, etc. Based on timing and logistics, it may be possible to arrange a private outing, with your own guide, to pursue these interests, at an additional cost to be determined.
RIAD SALAM (Breakfast)

DAY 07 Sept. 29 Friday FES – SEFROU – FES
A special workshop has been arranged today, just an hour’s drive from Fes, in the town of Sefrou. We are guests of our friend and colleague Amina Yabis, who will show us the plants she uses for natural dyes, and demonstrate her dyeing techniques. She, and members of her women’s coop, will teach us how to needle weave buttons for Moroccan classic robes, which they also use to create charming woven bead jewelry, which Amina has been invited to bring to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market for the past several years. She also teaches young women to use floor and upright looms—you may try your hand on them as well. We’ll enjoy lunch here, made by Amina, before heading back to Fes for a few hours of free time.
RIAD SALAM (Breakfast/Lunch)

DAY 08 Sept. 30 Saturday FES – MARRAKECH
We have an approximately 7 hr. drive through the countryside to Marrakech, stopping for lunch en route. 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. Dinner at the hotel.
HOTEL MAISON ARABE (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

DAY 09 Oct. 01 Sunday MARRAKECH
Begin the day with a visit to the beautiful Majorelle Gardens, 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 classic jewelry, clothing, carved wooden gates, ceramics, and other 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 like capes and tunics. We go on to the La Bahia Palace to learn what the home of a Grand Vizier was like, with its carved and painted ceilings, gardens, harem rooms and mosaics. At the end of the day, those who are interested will go to a beautiful shop to learn about classic Moroccan djallabas and caftans. There are some items for sale and it is also possible to have something custom made, for both men and women. The fabrics are of high quality and trims are all hand made and of exceptional quality. Anyone not interested will be taken back to the hotel.
HOTEL MAISON ARABE (Breakfast/Lunch)

DAY 10 Oct. 02 Monday MARRAKECH
A quite different activity this morning—a cooking class with Chef Tarik in his delightful private organic garden just outside the city. Here we learn the special preparation of the ubiquitous mint tea, served in cafes, shops and private homes, and several different classic Moroccan cooked salads and tagines. Lunch under the tent, enjoying the fruits of our labors! Past travelers, both men and women, have declared this a trip highlight! We then return to Marrakech for a private visit to a marvelous shop with museum quality textiles, rugs, artifacts, and gorgeous jewelry (traditional tribal and contemporary). Dinner on own.
RIAD MAISON ARABE (Breakfast/Lunch) 

DAY 11 Oct. 03 Tuesday MARRAKECH
Today is free for you to enjoy on your own, to continue exploring or to enjoy the spa at the hotel. (Please let us know, ahead of time, if you have any special interests as we may be able to arrange a private outing, for you, at an additional cost to be determined.) A farewell dinner at the gorgeous Restaurant Dar Yacout, deep in the medina, has been arranged. The view from the roof-top terrace is stunning, as are the handsome architecture and reflecting pool.
RIAD MAISON ARABE (Breakfast/Dinner) 

DAY 12 Oct. 04 Wednesday MARRAKECH – CASABLANCA
Early this morning, we take the 3 hr. drive to the Casablanca airport, to catch our flights back to the U.S. We bid farewell to this remarkable country !

EXTENSION:

DAY 12 Oct. 04 Wednesday MARRAKECH – ESSAOUIRA
Leaving Marrakech, we begin the 3½-hour drive west to Essaouira, stopping at an interesting women’s co-op where they produce and sell products made from argan oil; the argan tree is indigenous to this area and the nuts are gathered to produce natural products. Great photo opportunities as you watch the women cleaning and grinding the nuts on ancient stone wheels. The argan nut is used to produce oil that can be used both as moisturizing beauty oil (high in Vitamin E) and a salad oil. Mixed with almonds and honey it becomes a delicious snack. This oil is now famous in the U.S., with prices much higher than those here! Great gifts to take home. A short drive takes us into Essaouira, a 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 dark 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 thuja wood. There is a tiny market filled with spices and fresh mint for sale and many art galleries, featuring the fantastical art style of the town . 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 DAR L’OUISSIA. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

DAY 13 Oct. 05 Thursday 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. An optional workshop can be arranged with a local expert in the unusual style called “tapestry crochet.” You could use this to create decorative items. Dinner on own.
HOTEL DAR L’OUISSIA (Breakfast)

DAY 14 Oct 06 Friday ESSAOUIRA– 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, another 3-hour drive; a farewell dinner at the hotel has been planned.
HOTEL HYATT REGENCY (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

DAY 15 Oct 07 Saturday CASABLANCA – USA
We are transferred to the airport for our flights home. We bid a fond farewell to this enchanting country.
(Breakfast)

PLEASE NOTE: Content, pacing, accommodations, etc. subject to change due to any circumstances beyond our control. We strive to replace with equal or better arrangements.

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 cooking class
  • Private dye and needle weave workshop
  • Specially arranged visits and lectures
  • Porterage
  • Taxes and services in hotels and restaurants included in the program
  • Country and departure information

NOT INCLUDED:

  • 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

PRICE :

MAIN TRIP: USD $4,528 per person in double-occupancy, $976 single supplement (This price includes a $600 tax-deductible donation to Textile Center. Donation acknowledgement sent when final payment is made.) When final payment is due, on or before June 27, 2017, we ask that travelers write a separate check, or pay by CC, to Textile Center.

EXTENSION: USD $985 per person in double occupancy $570 single supplement Payment to be Textile Center. ADDITIONAL 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: $120 pp in double; $225 single . You may indicate this on the Reservation Form.