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Essaouira after Meknes, Fes and Casablanca.

Flag Morocco

Tuesday, June 22 2005

10 month, 30 days

Essaouira, Morocco

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

Land Rover 27,784km

Trekking 305km

Ferry 683km

Train 150km

Other cars 4.633km

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm. > journey > africa > morocco > 20050622-essaouira


Map: Journey Tanger, Fes, Casablanca to Essaouira.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

You can loose the feel for travelling quickly. That's what I feel these first days after Spain.

12 of June. Meeting Hasna in Tanger I have difficulties catching the spirit again that prevailed before Tarifa.

Partying in Europe quickly restores the consumer inside, the guy that I was in my life before.

In Spain you can spend as much money in a day as in Africa in a week. And it is enticing to spend. It makes you look rich and beautiful. And most people who come to Tarifa are or pretend to be just that.

I've come for another 3 month, my second half, to Morocco. It takes me a few days to realise not to take it lightly. Like in football, even when you lead after the first half you still can loose the game.....

Hasna wearing El Nijo
Does she like my El-Nino shirt?

And Hasna and I, still we don't know each other too well, but determined we are to give it a try. I am still not sure she likes her El-Nino T-shirt, I brought from Tarifa.

From Tanger we travel south, down the coast. Asilah is beautiful, Larache a rubbish bin. We travel onwards via Souk-el-Arba-du-Rharb to Volubilis, an ancient Roman provincial capital, declared a Unesco world-heritage site just recently.

Moulay Idriss just afterwards is an interesting little town pressed against a mountain side. It is the tomb of Moulay Idriss, the holy founder of the first Islamic Kingdom of Morocco, that makes it a centre for Islamic pilgrimage, It is conservative, by nature, its people unfriendly and they regard the strange couple with suspicion. But as I said I am still trying to recapture my feel for country and people.

Roman ruins of Volubilis, ...
Volubilis and Stork
storks, cigognes love it.

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On 14th of June after Meknes we reach Fes, Hasna's birth place.

Fes, the most complete Islamic town in the world, has much to offer. It virtually sucks me into the medina on all of the 4 days. Endless I can walk around in search for corners noone wants to go.

Hasna on the other side cannot share my interest. Of course not. She has lived here all her life. And the Medina is not the place a modern Fassi would go but for showing it to a tourist or curious relative.

Inside the medina it is the tanneries that I am after. Photographers have got to go for the tanneries.

Architecture of exhilerating beauty. A medersa, which ever
Medina Fes, Architecture of exhilerating beauty.
Tannery, dye worker from top
Tannery, dye worker from top.
The tannery
The Chouara Tannery is the largest in Fes.

Work is hard , but prestigiouse in the Tannery
Tannery work is hard but prestigiouse.
Man in red dye
Man in red dye.

In the 4 days that I spend here (Hasna leaves earlier for Casablanca to catch up with a few things), I see 4 tanneries, most are smaller then the Tannerie Chouara, which is the one above, which is as well the one I was shown together with Hasna by a small boy on the first day.

The police took the boy away 30 minutes after our visit to the tannery, enforcement of rules to prevent harassment of tourists. I prefer a boy to an official guide who never stops littering you with rubbish stories you're not interested in and who shows you as many carpet shops as possible.

Friday it takes me a great many attempts to find the Chouara Tannery again. In the process I visit a few more, none as exiting and vast. The close to midday shots I do not even want to take as I have intention to come back for a better, earlier light shooting. But then I am taken round the whole thing by a nice chap called Farchardin for 1 Euro and a bottle of water.

Many friendly words are exchanged with the tannery workers, proud they are to work here and they're well payed too. "A tannery is a gold mine" goes a saying. The omnipresent malodour of fresh animal skin and dye and urin and pigion droppings (used in the process) though is hard to swallow and written all over some of the workers faces.

The empty medina, in the early Saturday mornig hours
The empty medina, early Saturday mornig hours

Later from 12 onwards the medina starts to shut for the day. People are busy closing their shops and make it in time for the prayer. I listen to the spiritual chants that precede the Friday sermon and watch through the door of the Moulay Idriss Mousoleum from a distance. Next to me a small cat that fell from the roof is dying.

Saturday morning I finally attempt to shooting the tanneries in nice light. Tired after not much sleep (first it is too hot, then there's many midges, best sleep is between 6 and 8, it is too hot afterwards) I get up before 6, easily find my way to the tannery. Where I hang around around 7-ish well before my rendez-vous at 8 with Farchardin.

The offensive smell from the dye is (already) well present and my early morning stomach just cannot take this. Happy to have taken some shots the other day I decide to give it a miss.

The medina still empty these early hours of the day and makes a good alternative target. A bit spooky, the tiny streets with no one around.

Where normally hundreds of chandlers in front of their hole-in-the-wall shops engage you in talk constantly, others and their donkeys rush the merchandises, which ever, from here to there, where busy Fassi shop for their daily needs and manic tourists, who never seem to understand how to dress, follow their guide prevails wide emptiness today. (what an English sentence - I think I keep it that way - you're welcome to correct it)

Emtyness, just cats around.
Noone around, light filters through from the topo

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In Casablanca I rejoin with Hasna and spend the weekend. I like Casablanca. It is relaxed. A big town (4.5 Mio) with all the advantages and disadvantages. Its colonial French architecture reminds you a bit of Marseille. I could imagine living here. On the top of being normal Casa offers several kilometres of excellent beach and all the cuisine you (I) want.

I cannot but take Hasna to the Manhattan Club, a formidable French restaurant. Fish and Steak and a bottle of Bordeaux. I have not been to a great restaurant for a while and have not eaten that well in a restaurant for a while.

To sleep we drive the Land Rover onto the beach where we manage to get it stuck. Deflating the tires will have to wait till later.

Arcades of Hassan II
Mosque Hassan II
Hassan II at night
Mosque Hassan II, where the land meets the sea.

After Casa the ice is broken. We are back in the travelling business, not just physically.

Monday 20th we again turn south, spend the evening in El-Jadida. Hasna prepares an excellent Fish Tagine, well spiced. Elaine an old French/Moroccan born, roughly 70, who joins us for dinner is equally overwhelmed by the "gouts". "Tu ne peut jamais mancher comme-ca dans un restaurant". "You'll never get that in a restaurant.".

Safi the next day. Fresh Sardines for 5DHs (0.5Euros). We have them grilled on charcoal at a local food stall. Hasna: "La vie est belle en Maroc."

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We reach Essaouira late that day. It is the 21st of June, 2 days before the start of the Gaoua Festival.

23rd of June. It is Festival time. The town's buzzing. The craze, that the Gnaoua music creates in peoples' heads, is toxic, contagious. You cannot escape it in these next 4 days. Concerts from 6 p.m. to sometimes 3 in the morning. I am loving it.

Hasna blue shirt, Festival at sunsetlight
Dancers in  the ctowd
Hasna blue
Happy dancers

Hasna and important Moroccan actrice Amina Rachid
Hasna and Moroccan actrice Amina Rachid.

Opening act, Abdelkebir Merchane plays the gambri
Let the Gnaoua/Gnawa Festival beginn. Abdelkebir Merchane.
Opening day, > journey > africa > morocco > 20050622-essaouira

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