Morocco Day 5October 16 in Morocco
Today is an “Optional” day on the tour. The optional tour goes to Volubilis, an UNESCO world heritage site for its Roman ruins and Meknes, also a UNESCO site, the onetime home of a 17th C Moroccan Sultanate – Moulay Ismail. After some indecision, I decided to join the tour for the day. Day started rainy and cool.
After a drive through farmland and rolling hills we arrived at Volubilis. In comparison with other Roman ruins I have seen, these are very well-preserved, down to the details to the Corinthian columns. The primary reason that the ruins are so well-preserves is due to a 1755 earthquaw in Lisbon, Portugal that did damage as far South as Morocco and covered the remains all at one time. Thus the ruins did not withstand the weather elements for all of those years. Excavation started in the 1920s and is on-going, sporadically, today. Several good maps at the start of the walk: one at of showing the extent of the Roman Empire (picture attached) and the other showing the size of the current excavated area in comparison to the much larger portion of the site that is still covered. A very worthwhile experience, especially because we were outside walking for a couple hours!! 😊
Lunch in Meknes and an afternoon of learning about Moulay Ismail, his huge palace and grounds. A sultan in the 16th-17th C, First stop at the beautiful main gate of the palace with massive intricate mosaic designs. The large square across from the palace gates had a great market, seemed to specialize in tagines – all shapes and sizes. And on the pavement in the middle of the square were 2 separate sets of 2 guys with snakes running around them!! One played the music from afar and was a snake charmer. I did not get real close as snakes are not my favorite reptile. A bus ride around the palace and its different section with a stop at the immense granary and horse stables of Moulay Ismail. This sultan was not one of the “good guys” but was a friend of Louis XIV of France and brought French architects in to build the granary. He lived to be 92 so ruled a long time and was constantly preparing for war.
An evening in the riad. We stopped at a grocery store and stocked up on cheese, crackers and nuts for snacks. So cocktail hour in our room with Marsha and Judy, then down to the rest of the folk cocktail hour in our dining room. Dinner was Bstella and very good. Jeannie and I need to learn how to make. Early finish to pack and prepare for 9 hour bus ride tomorrowRead more