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mosaic road
Melbourne, Australia
Recent Activity
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A little while back I had an amazing two days in Tangier, a true port city of Morocco. It is quite a unique town and sets itself apart from the rest of Morocco. The Straits of Gibraltar teem with a variety of fish and there are many seafood cafes. One evening I came across a hastily set up street stall, randomly positioned in a back street, selling fresh off the boat seafood. Not a huge array but just caught. I am unsure what that huge prawny thing is, if anyone can help me out. Is it a langoustine ??? Continue reading
Posted 4 minutes ago at mosaic road
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Argan oil is a much sought after luxury product across the world. The argan tree bears fruit which is eaten by the goats who climb the trees or eat the dry black nuts on the ground. When the nut is excreted, it is collected and then a very labour intensive process takes place in a woman's co-op involving cracking the nut, roasting, grinding, extracting and dry pressing. It is either then used in cosmetic products or in a culinary manner. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at mosaic road
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Beside the freeway to Essaouira there are a couple of big argan trees full of goats "put" up the there as a tourist attraction. A few opportunistic men loiter and collect money from people who stand gaping, open mouthed on the side of the road. The goats seem happy and doze off high amongst the branches. They are not tied there and don't make any attempt to get down. I think in reality that goats grazing in the fields do climb argan trees of their own volition to eat the argan nut but this en masse group perched roadside so... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at mosaic road
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This is not the first thought you want to have when you get out of the car for a day at the beach but this came into my mind last week when we arrived in Essaouira. It was a grey overcast day and the wind was almost gale force. This Moroccan seaside town on a swathe of Atlantic coast is famed for its gusty wind but hope springs eternal and I was wishing for a calm day. So to warm up or at least fortify a little we headed to a lovely rooftop cafe, Taros with its wonderful views and... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at mosaic road
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I have had a lifelong love of baskets and owned many, too many to count, in every shape and size. How fitting that I should end up living in a country where basketry is a big cottage industry. Recently I visited Essaouira, a beach town also known for its baskets ,woven from reed or palm leaves. It can take up to six hours to weave one basket and then a seamstress takes over to add patterns or sequins. Every basket is different depending on the style and taste of the lady finishing off the product. They are usually lined with... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at mosaic road
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The Beldi Country Club on the outskirts of Marrakech has enormous rose gardens, not a manicured type of garden but rambling fields of mixed colours and I do mean fields and fields . A vast jumble of bushes, even with tangled weeds, seem to spread as far as the eye can see. The only time I have ever seen anything close to this is at the Melbourne Racing Carnival that occurs in November each year. But the roses at Beldi are blowsy and faded around the edges and not for floristry. They have an old fashioned look and are for... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at mosaic road
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Morocco must certainly be the home of beautiful, old artisan crafted doors. Cedar, studded, ornately carved, maybe with camel bone or wrought iron trim, panelled, antique ..... many, many styles with a such a rich heritage. This great display lined the red walls within the Beldi Country Club. They were all huge and heavy and resurrected from old riads. Each one handcrafted and original, no mass production here. Even the plainest homes or dwellings had or have a very fine, artisan carved door. The doors I pass on a daily basis seem to work as an invitation to cross a... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at mosaic road
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My youngest child caught the train this morning as part of her marathon return trip to Australia. Saying goodbye is never easy but I know in ten short (but searingly hot) Moroccan weeks I will be back in Australia for a short visit. But this sort of poignant moment does make you second guess your life path choices. Should I stay or should I go type of questions are eddying around in my head. I am mentally writing lists of pros and cons. I am lucky in that I have a job I enjoy and have many travel opportunities. I... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at mosaic road
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Water is very important in the Islamic culture. The fountains that you see so often in the riads in Morocco are decorative but also honour the element of water as it believed to be a divine gift. It symbolizes many things including wisdom, purity and rebirth and as a drink that quenches the soul's thirst. Fountains originally were for the dual purposes of hygiene and symbolism and many still are today. This one was filled with an abundance of deep red rose petals and to me represented great beauty and calmness for all. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at mosaic road
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A little way out of Imlil is a resort hotel owned by Richard Branson, of Virgin fame. It is called Kasbah Tamadot which, but don't quote me, I think means Kasbah Crazy in Berber. It has sweeping valley views and astronomically priced hotel rooms. We just dropped in to have a cool drink and a snoop. The grounds are magnificent and manicured and the public areas very lovely but not over the top in any way. We sat in the peaceful surrounds in the late afternoon happily celebrating one birthday but also acknowledging the wonderful day we had spent in... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2016 at mosaic road
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We, astride our mules, left the stark rocky upper landscape and headed down into relatively greener 'pastures' with the mules veering off at times to grab the long grasses as a takeaway snack. We passed mosques and homes and colourful street souks and shops. The rug salesmen were calling to us with their sales pitch even though we were in no position to stop and buy. So back down to the mule car park we steadily plodded, our mountain adventure nearly at an end. But only nearly as we still had one stop to make before arriving at home. Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2016 at mosaic road
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As the afternoon progressed a beautiful platter of fruit salad was served as dessert but we could only admire it as we sat on that wonderful terrace talking with Lahcen, who has created this haven. He told us he was born in that house. How fitting that he is still living there and has had such a view to the future , working so hard and having such well deserved success . We then had a tour of the homestay and peeped into the guest rooms, admiring the cosy woolly pom pom blankets on the beds and the warm, cedar... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2016 at mosaic road
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We had a very sweet, soft and furry visitor at lunch. She was quite shy, hiding under the table, hoping for some leftovers. Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2016 at mosaic road
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Because a traditional Moroccan lunch is a shared affair and everyone eats from the same plate, hand washing takes place before the meal. A big teapot of water was passed between us and water poured into our cupped hands, followed by a hand towel. We were all happily lounging on carpets and cushions happily waiting for what we knew would be a veritable feast. A big salad platter came as first course. Eight different salads using fresh salad vegetables were served to eat with the warm bread. It's hard not to fill up just on first course but we know... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2016 at mosaic road
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Lunch is considered the most important meal of the day in Morocco. The school children have a two hour break in order that they can return home and many businesses close from 12 till 2 pm. (I know from personal experience that Maroc Telecom shuts from 1130 till 3.30 !!!) No canteens or lunch boxes it seems. Lunch often has three courses and always tea, bread and olives are on the table.. Traditionally seating is on rugs and cushions on the floor around a communal small table and this was exactly our experience at Imlil Authentic Toubkal Lodge . Their... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2016 at mosaic road
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Mint tea is synonymous with Morocco. It is the national drink and is prepared in a ritualistic way in every home many times a day. The teapot is warmed and in goes green tea, plenty of sugar, fresh mint and boiling water. The pot goes back on to the flame and is bought to the boil again. A cup is poured and returned to the pot two or three times for mixing . Finally it is deemed ready and the tea is poured from a great height into ornate tea glasses ensuring there are lots of bubbles on the surface.... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2016 at mosaic road
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W We were joined by a lovely Berber lady (aka my daughter) for lunch. She was put in charge of the tea making and did a wonderful job. It was the best mint tea I have had in nearly two years !! Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2016 at mosaic road
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My day in the Atlas mountains had a very specific and special focus. I was going to have lunch at a homestay and some of my journey was to be on mule back. In fact I dismounted right on the very doorstep of the Imlil Authentic Toubkal Lodge . This is a Berber homestay in a tiny village called Arghen with a wonderful balcony offering up to die for views into the valley and to higher peaks. The terrace has locally crafted rugs on the floor, comfy cushions and tables set for tea. Within the house are snug bedrooms and... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2016 at mosaic road
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Something about these mountains calls me, lures me and I love to visit Imlil. They are harsh and rugged, green now in spring with still some very visible snow deep in the ridges. These are not Sound of Music chocolate box type of mountains but jagged, stoney, craggy and ruthless. Life here, especially in the long, bleak winter, is not easy. But spring brings blossom and the walnut, cherry and apple trees will soon be laden with fruit . The rough mule tracks are lined with green shoots for the sheep and goats. Mud brick villages cling to outcrops, some... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2016 at mosaic road
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Travelling by mule is a novel and fun way to travel to lunch. I highly recommend it. It is scenic, unlikely to break down, inexpensive, relatively comfortable, air conditioned and very environmentally friendly. Even when encountering traffic jams or mule gridlock there is no risk of road rage or mule malice. You arrive at your luncheon destination having definitely taken the most (and only) picturesque route and feel stress free and relaxed. Today in the Atlas Mountains I was part of this mule train heading to the Authentic Toubkal Lodge for a Berber tea making ceremony and a home cooked... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2016 at mosaic road
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By the time we got to dessert-eating at Saveure de Poisson it was quite dark outside and very dim inside, hence the gritty grainy Bourdainesque photos. This restaurant does serve a lot of food so dessert was almost not needed, but only almost. The set price menu is all about local produce and it really was showcased perfectly. A lot of it is available right on the doorstep as the fishing industry is huge in this Moroccan town. We had a post prandial walk after the multi course meal and the streets were crowded and alive. And as for my... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2016 at mosaic road
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Once you are seated at your table at Le Saveure de Poisson the food is bought to you. No menu, no choices. This is not a problem as everything is delicious. I am not a big fish eater but loved every morsel. A very purple drink is served at once made up of figs and other fruit then black olives, a bowl of walnuts and a basket of hot, assorted breads. . Homemade rustic chill sauce for adding or dipping is also on the table. First course is a fish soup, not a creamy chowder, but thickish with big pieces... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2016 at mosaic road
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Anthony Bourdain ate here ! Saveur de Poisson is a very local and gritty but fabulous seafood restaurant. It is perched on a hill in the old medina in Tangier. Smallish, rustic, no menu or bookings, bad lighting, plastic on the tables, only fish served, lots of cigarette smoke...... sounds like the perfect spot for Anthony Bourdain. How could I not try this place. I loved it, just loved it. Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2016 at mosaic road
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Whether looking in as I was, or looking out through the iron grille, you see something great. Looking out you can see as far as the Straits of Gibraltar and this lovely and classy El Erz restaurant offers up this wonderful view. I peered in from the outside and then sneakily crept in, lured by the old world luxe which was further enhanced when I saw the gracious grand piano.The El Erz serves international cuisine and is part of the Hotel El Minzah in Tangier. Starched linen, gleaming glassware and fresh flowers are part of a fine dining era that... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2016 at mosaic road
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Two Australians (one was me) were in Eataly, a large Italian food store and cafe in Munich, Germany . We were both admiring the shelves of cakes when I spotted something close to my heart, a green fondant covered cassata cake. This cake is a special treat found only, I thought, at Brunettis in Melbourne and I mentioned this to my friend D, just as a chef paused behind us. He stopped dead in his tracks and exclaimed !! He was a lovely Italian who had worked for five years at Brunettis Cakes in Carlton. He showed us cakes he... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2016 at mosaic road