Category Archives: Morocco

Client Trip Report: Morocco

2 asilah

Our clients Julie and Ted V. came back from a fantastic trip to Morocco last Spring with small-group tour company Alexander & Roberts (previously General Tours). They’ve written up some fantastic feedback for us. Click here to read the complete text.

Their visit included Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Meknes, Erfoud, Rissani, Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, Ouarzazate, the Atlas Mountains and Berber Country, Essaouira and the lovely Marrakech. Plus of course no trip to Morocco would be complete without a few nights in the Sands!

asilah's painted walls

Stay tuned for more posts on Morocco, coming soon.

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Filed under Morocco, News, Trip Reports

Holiday Recipes from the Middle East: Tahina Salad

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Happy Holidays from Caravan-Serai Tours and Willamette Intl Travel!

Each holiday season our friends over at Caravan-Serai offer an assortment of our favorite recipes from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caucasus. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for updates!

Today’s recipe is another quick and easy salad from the Petra Kitchen:

Tahina Salad ~ Salat Khodra bil Tahina

3 large tomatoes
3 medium cucumbers
1 hot green pepper
1 small onion
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup tahina
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup vinegar
2 garlic cloves

  • Peel and dice the cucumbers and onions
  • Chop tomatoes very finely
  • Mince hot pepper and add to vegetables
  • Crush garlic with salt, stir into dressing of tahina, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt
  • Dressing mixture should be the consistency of cream, if too thick add a little water to thin
  • Pour tahina mixture over vegetables and stir well. Serve with a garnish of parsley sprig

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Filed under Africa, Middle East, Morocco, Travel by Taste

Holiday Recipes from the Middle East: Baba Ganuj

Happy Holidays from Caravan-Serai Tours and Willamette Intl Travel!

Each holiday season our friends over at Caravan-Serai offer an assortment of our favorite recipes from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caucasus. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for updates!

Today’s recipe: Baba Ganuj or Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ganuj

 

2lbs (1kg) eggplants

1 large tomato

1 green pepper

1 medium onion

2 garlic cloves

1 Tbs salt

1 Tbs mint

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs pomegranate molasses

 

  • Roast the eggplant s on a baking dish in medium oven approximately one hour, or until the skin darkens and begins to split, remove from oven to cool
  • When eggplants are cool enough handle, break open and scoop out the insides
  • Mash the pulp with a fork until a smooth puree
  • Add olive oil and lemon juice and set aside
  • Finely chop tomato, pepper and onion, add them to eggplant puree and stir
  • Crush garlic in a pestle with salt and stir into juice and olive oil
  • Add liquid to vegetable mixture and mix well
  • Stir in the mint
  • Serve in a shallow bowl with garnish of tomatoes or parsley sprigs and pita bread

A variation on this recipe is to cook the eggplant on a BBQ, it will enhance the smokey flavor! Enjoy!

Call Willamette Intl Travel at 503-224-0180 to discuss options for travel in and around the Middle East.

To read what a Sample 5 Day Emirates Desert Adventure with Caravan-Serai would look like, click here.

Caravan Serai is a Seattle-based company that specializes in small-group escorted tours to destinations in the Middle East and North Africa such as Jordan, Turkey and Morocco. Expert guides escort guests through fun-filled and tasty itineraries, valuing comfort and safety all the while trekking across ancient paths and historical ruins.

To read more about Caravan-Serai, click here.

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Filed under Africa, Egypt, Middle East, Morocco, Travel by Taste, Turkey, UAE, VOTM

Women’s Travel Group: Morocco

Sita Morocco

Join Women’s Travel Group for a Christmastime adventure in Morocco!

The well-established travel group SITA has partnered with Women’s Travel Group to provide this fantastic opportunity for a women-only trip to Morocco. Flying Solo? Pairing options may be available.

This trip is bookable through Willamette Intl Travel, call us at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com for more details. We can arrange pre-/post-trip travel as well. 8 Days not enough? Extend it with a few extra days in New York or Spain!

Here’s a quick schedule of what to expect:

Day 1: Mon Dec 23. Depart New York for a short flight to Casablanca.

Day 2: Tue Dec 24. Casablanca/Rabat. (L,D). Arrive in Casablanca, be greeted at the airport by an English speaking guide. Drive through to the capital of Rabat. After lunch, enjoy a city tour of Rabat visiting the Kasbah of Oudayas Hassan Tower, the Royal Palace, Chellah Necropolis, Mohammed V Mausoleum, and the city gates. Overnight at the Sofitel Jardins des Roses.

Day 3: Wed Dec 25 Rabat/Meknes/Fes. (B,L). After breakfast, head to Fes via Meknes and Volubilis. Tour the beautiful small town of Meknes and its historic ramparts, stables and the majestic Bab El Mansour gate. Proceed to the well-preserved Roan ruins of Volubilis nearby, from which the lions came for Roman Gladiator fights. Stop in Moulay Idriss, home to the tomb of the founder of Islam in Morocco. Overnight at the Sofitel Palais Jamai in Fes.

Day 4: Thu Dec 26 Fes. (B,D) After breakfast, the English speaking tour guide will take you on a tour of the medina, old city, founded in the 9th century and a World Heritage Site. Take a tour of the University Karaouine, one of the oldest in the world, founded in 859 by a woman. Also visit beautiful fountains, arts and crafts, and the famous tanneries and souks of Fez. That evening, enjoy a dinner with entertainment at the Palais Medina Restaurant.

Day 5: Fri Dec 27 Fes/Marrakech. (B,L). Depart for Marrakech via the Middle Atlas. You will drive through picturesque pine forest, gorgeous hillscapes, and Ifrane, a popular ski and summer resort. Overnight at the Kenzi Menara Palace in Marrakech.

Day 6: Sat Dec 28 Marrakech. (B,L,D). Your English speaking local guide will take you on a tour of historic monuments, including the Koutoubia Minaret, Saadian Tombs, Menara Gardens and the Palais Bahia. In the afternoon, you will be driven to a cooking class at Riad La Maison Arabe (priced separately).

Day 7: Sun Dec 29 Marrakech. (B,L,D). After breakfast, you will visit the beautiful Les Jardins Majorelle, a botanical garden designed by Jacques Majorelle in 1920s from plants imported from all over the world. Then you’ll explore the medina and the world-famous Jemaa El Fna and come face to face with acrobats, snake charmers, fortune tellers, singers, healers, poets and food stalls. Enjoy the evening at a delicious Moroccan restaurant with accompanying folklore show. There is also an optional excursion into the historic Portuguese harbor of Essaouira.

Day 8: Mon Dec 30 Marrakech. (B). Depart Marrakech for New York City.

sita maroc 2

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Filed under Africa, Group Travel, Morocco, News

Casablanca’s Architectural Wonders

As Morocco’s chief port, Casablanca has enjoyed a wealth of tourists, immigrants and traders for centuries. It’s only natural then that the city is a garden of cultural diversity and artistic flavors. Nowhere else is this more evident than in Casablanca’s varied and highly stylized architecture. From the famous Hassan II Mosque to the Art Deco buildings of the new town, the city is a delight to art lovers everywhere.

photo by Laura 0509, creative commons

Hassan II Mosque. Open in 1993, this mosque is one of the few open to non-Muslims. It’s gorgeous lime green and eggshell minaret towers above the ocean. The mosque is the third largest in the world. Tours run frequently through the inner chambers and a tranquil ablutions area.

photo by Khalid Albaih, creative commons

Mauresque Style. Mauresque was an art movement developed by the French that built on traditional Moroccan styles. It was fashionable especially during the turn of the century, and many pre-1930s colonial buildings reflect this. Typical elements include zillij plaster, latticework, geometric designs and arabesque florals, as well as the use of stucco and brass. You can still see these patterns all over the city.

photo by Colros, Creative Commons

Art Deco Style. Casablanca’s Ville Nouvelle was designed by French architect Henri Prost, and his colorful blend of Hispano-Mauresque and Art Deco illuminates downtown. Developed in the 1930s, these buildings are characterized by intricate friezes, stunning tilework and ornate wrought-iron balconies. Some of the best known facades are on Rue Prince Moulay Abdellah—look for Hotel Guynemer and Hotel Transatlantique.

photo by indiepants, Creative Commons

Cathedrale Sacre-Coeur. For a perfect example of stylized Mauresque architecture, check out the old Casablanca cathedral. Designed by French architect Paul Tournon in 1930, it blends a Moroccan casbah look with neo-gothic aspirations. This massive white church lies on the northwest edge of the Parc de la Ligue Arab, and decades ago was converted into a public cultural center.

Interested in exploring the many hidden gems of Morocco? Our agents have traveled throughout the country and sent dozens of clients there. Call us for more details at 800-821-0401 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Africa, Art & Architecture, Morocco