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mosaic road
Melbourne, Australia
Recent Activity
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I have just had three nights in this very serene riad in Fes. There are well over 200 hotels and riads in this small city and this one was a good choice. It is in a safe area, parking is on hand and it is only a short walk to the Blue Gate. The 20 rooms are incredibly spacious as are all the salons and public spaces. The interior is wonderfully rich and traditional and leaves no doubt in your mind that you are deep in Morocco's heart. I was greatly appreciative of the smiling service. And I loved the... Continue reading
Posted 9 hours ago at mosaic road
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Borj Sud is a military fortress built in the sixteenth century. It was built along with it's counterpart Borj Nord to ensure that the population and their every move could be monitored a la Big Brother !!! It sits high on a hill and offers a glorious panoramic view of the trio of towns that make up Fes in its'entirety, the Old Town from roughly 859 AD, the New Town from roughly 1276 and the New New Town built by the French. The Borj Sud is a perfect place to be when the sun is slowly sinking after a hot... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at mosaic road
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I have just had three nights at Riad Al Makan in Fes. This morning I was on the return train to Marrakech at breakfast time but on the other two mornings I was served a sumptuous breakfast. Way , way too much food for any singleton but luckily a thankfully hungry guide and beloved friend joined me each day. The first morning was an array of different bread and cakes including baguettes and little bread rolls rolled in cornmeal accompanied by fresh juice, yoghurt, local jams, cream cheeses, olives and olive oil. On my second morning eggs appeared cooked in... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at mosaic road
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Rug buying is an essential Moroccan experience for any tourist . I have never actually bought a rug but I have now witnessed the ‘scenario’ many times over. It is a lengthy procedure involving at the bare minimum these 10 steps. 1. the luring into the shop with endless pleasantries and welcoming tactics 2. the offer of copious amounts of mint tea 3. the insistent acknowledgment that it is OK to look , no buying required 4. the history of rugs and weaving explained 5. many examples shown to demonstrate varying tribal patterns 6. anything you may look at in... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at mosaic road
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Her fingers moved so rapidly that I could barely gain a concept of what was happening. Luckily she knew exactly what to do and what colour to do it in although there was no instruction sheet. Her knowledge is based on sheer hardwork and repetition over many years. In Fes today I watched a young woman at a big loom creating an intricate masterpiece. I was in a large rug store and she was upstairs silently and skilfully beavering away producing something that will probably sell for 1000's of dollars in Europe or USA. She possibly learnt this artisan skill... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at mosaic road
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I sat under a mulberry tree yesterday that is circa 200 years old. Pictures come to my mind of the many caravans of traders and shepherds with their flocks who would have rested from the midday heat in this very spot. The trunk is wonderful and the lush leafy shade expansive. I am in Fes and the old part of the city had its foundations laid in the 6th century. Under the tree now are cafes that have been built around it with their rooves/roofs taking a detour around the trunk. Much care is taken of the tree by the... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at mosaic road
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Today I got up in the wee small hours and took a train while still dark to Fes, a seven hour trip from Marrakech. I am having three nights at Riad Al Makan in this city which dates back to the 6th century. The riad comprises 2 old houses renovated in traditional style to create 25 rooms. The nooks and crannies in and around the many salons are museum like with wonderful artefacts on display with intricate mosaic walls as their backdrop and a burbling fountain as background music. So much beauty surrounds the guests along with Moroccan charm and... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at mosaic road
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Here is the beautiful little Beldi puppy I babysat recently for one afternoon. It was to be overnight but when I left her for a short while she howled and howled and that is not ideal when you live in an apartment block. So sadly I had to take her back to her ‘mother’. I carried her for 30 minutes because she was too nervous to walk. My friend N saved her from someone dragging her onto a donkey to be taken away to a very miserable ending. She had been born on the streets of Marrakech and had lived... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at mosaic road
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A sqinch seems to be the square base a dome sits on and muqarnas are a three dimensional , ornamental divisions of the squinch interior giving it a honeycomb or stalactite effect. This look is very traditional in Islamic architecture and commonly seen in North Africa since around the tenth Century. [Probably the best ever example is the Alhambra in Spain.] Anyway the long and short of this is that recently I visited Riad Palais Sebban here in Marrakech and adored the classic interior architecture but had no idea how to describe it. Thank heavens for Wikipedia. While admiring this... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at mosaic road
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Books, breakfast and a view make up my favourite sort of morning. Moroccan summer mornings are lovely before the temperature skyrockets. As it is low season I have had a few mornings where I can loiter, languish and luxuriate before work calls. I often make myself a breakfast trifle with layered fruits and yogurt. This one is delicious poached apple with sultanas and cinnamon and very vanillery yoghurt. Every day I feel thankful to be alive and lean out my window as far as I can watching the vibrant local life either speeding by on motorbikes or plodding past by... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2015 at mosaic road
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If you are a shopper, even just a window shopper, then Paris is the destination of dreams and purchases. I was overjoyed just to be wandering the boulevards lined with beautiful boutiques and enjoying their windows full of up to date fashions. Marrakech has shops and fashion but .......... !! I did have a shopping list of essentials that are impossible to find in Morocco - boring stuff like contact lens solution and grocery items and then of course I needed a bag to carry all these home. I found a perfect bag, large with zip. No, not a designer... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2015 at mosaic road
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Under that whorl of chantilly lies two luxurious scoops of panna cotta ice-cream, my Tuesday sundae. Chocolate and ice cream are my vices but as it is so extremely hot here over the summer, with many days over 45 C, chocolate has to live in the fridge. Any chocoholic will agree with me that a cold fridge is the ruination of that divine taste and texture that we cannot get enough of. So I have abandoned my first love temporarily and taken up with my second love in a very close and personal way, as you can see. Marrakech has... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2015 at mosaic road
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Are we not always hearing that it is hard to find good coffee in France ? I seem to have come across many people launching scathing attacks about bad coffee in Paris but I did not find this to be the case. Don't expect your coffee experience to be identical to 'home' and bone up beforehand on coffee vocabulary so you know in advance what to order is my advice. It is unlikely that you will find soy and fat free milks in your standard Parisienne sidewalk cafe but there are now many speciality coffee places that run to this... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2015 at mosaic road
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I have had too many birthdays. They are superfluous now and for many years the event has been cancelled well in advance. This year was to be the same but when I awoke I was confronted with many lovely greetings from every corner of the world. I was overcome with the outpouring of best wishes and love. I arrived at work to be surprised with a beautiful ganache filled cake with candle and singing. This was so unexpected and although early we all had slices of cake for breakfast including the riad guests !! The day has been warm and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2015 at mosaic road
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To be quite honest I am not a huge museum or gallery person but I did go - and not too unhappily - to the Picasso Musee in Paris on my recent trip. The 5,000 works are from all periods in his painting career and include all techniques. I am not going to rave about the actual exhibition as everyone has a personal appreciation of art. Yes I admired some and some left me wondering but art is often like that for me. What I did love was the scattering of paintings by Cezanne , Degas and Matisse. The Impressionists... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2015 at mosaic road
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The Apple of Love was the name given to tomatoes in the 1500's when they first were seen in Europe, probably introduced from Peru. I think it is a wonderful name and tomatoes in any way, shape or form are very high on my favourite food list. They were abundant in Paris recently, on every menu in a salad format with buffalo mozzarella and olive oil. We ate them meal after meal, never tiring of this combination. Heirloom varieties in wonderful colours and sizes were always presented on big white plates. On occasion a little pesto was drizzled over them... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2015 at mosaic road
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With a population of over 65 million France has a huge market for fish and seafood and apparently 33.9 kg of fish was consumed per head in 2012. That is an amazing statistic !! I wonder how many kilograms of pommes frites accompanied the fish ?? As the French love simplicity in food and have turned to more home cooking and healthier eating then this statistic should not be a surprise. Every Paris restaurant had fresh fish on its menu, cooked in an uncomplicated way showcasing the sweetness and quality. Fish stalls were everywhere with crustaceans and the glassy eyed... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2015 at mosaic road
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Cafe Constant is a pop up restaurant in Paris. I think it has popped up for a two year period as the Brazilian chef from the famous Crillon Hotel has opened it while the hotel is undergoing a 24 month period of refurbishment . This means he and his kitchen staff are still all working together albeit under a different umbrella. The cafe does not take reservations so the choice is eat early or queue up as seating is limited. On both occasions we ate early. It was very busy and I think the staff were a bit pushed but... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2015 at mosaic road
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Blue was my favourite colour for a long, long time but now I think it's green. Green means lushness and freshness, spring shoots, summer foliage, tossed salad, sliced limes, jade pottery, creme de menthe, autumn khaki jackets,ungainly turtles, pistachio ice cream, sprigs of herbs. So many shades and variations to love and lure. Paris seemed to me full of greenery, greenness everywhere I looked. Shade giving trees, aged patina on monuments, shutters and doors, mint in mojitos, climbing ivy, soft lawns. I think it exudes a tranquil feel, a low key happiness, not in your face but definitely punchy at... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2015 at mosaic road
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Paris was very colourful as is Morocco and I thrive on seeing that. I adore colour but wear mostly black and grey which makes no sense. I admire other people's black and white photography but it does not feel right if my pictures aren't ablaze with colour. I find food pictures a horrible challenge as so much of what we eat is brown - chocolate, meat, casseroles, gravy - or dingey tones - soup, toast, lasagne, potatoes etc. Apparently colour psychology is not a well developed area of study but colour does affect our moods and feelings. That is certainly... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2015 at mosaic road
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National Geographic Described the reaction to the design as "love at second sight." An Article in Le Figaro Declared "Paris Has Its own monster, just like the one in Loch Ness. Theses two quotes are from Wikipedia and made me laugh as I think you either love or hate the contemporary pipe clad George Pompidou Centre. The big 'lake' beside the courtyard was also filled with contemporary oddments spouting water. Interesting to see. The thing I loved was seeing the wall art/graffitti poster beside the very old architecture. Wonderful fusion to my mind. Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2015 at mosaic road
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Where to start and when to stop ??? Everyone will have a different list of a different length but of course there are some major icons that make Paris truly Paris and without them it would just be another city. Luckily everyone has their own take when they photograph what makes Paris so special for them so here is my unique pictorial list in no particular order. Each to his own, yay for individuality !! The Eiffel Tower, Galeries Lafayette, carousels with painted ponies, never-ending patisseries, the Arc de Triomphe, Hermes flagship store, the Tour de France, cheeses to die... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2015 at mosaic road
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I love rivers and watching river life and I was mesmerised by the constant boat and barge traffic on the Seine. This river is still a main commercial artery and runs through the middle of Paris . It supplies 50% of Parisienne drinking water too so maybe think before you sip !!!! It is crisscrossed by 32 bridges [with all those obligatory lovelocks attached to the railings] in the city and now over summer pop up beaches with golden sands, sun lounges and umbrellas can be found on its banks. The Paris Plages have three locations and stay open until... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2015 at mosaic road
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There is no question, Paris is a romantic city especially when it comes to dining a deux. Tiny tables always with candles and crisp napery line the boulevards calling to entwined couples as evening falls. Thousands of pavement cafes are perfectly positioned for sitting long into the velvety night eating and drinking and whispering sweet nothings . Just watching the fascinating passing parade and sharing a crepe suzette can create a nostalgic memoire. After lingering over dinner, you can stroll the glittery avenues and find another little cosy spot for a night cap or two. Why rush, this is the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2015 at mosaic road
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Fresh produce markets are part of the French heritage. Some are undercover and others like the one I visited in my neighbourhood are set up under the shady trees along the pavement . The seasonal fruit and vegetables were all glossy and colourful, perhaps many imported from Morocco. The cheeses and breads were just calling to be placed in a picnic basket lined with a red gingham cloth.. Chefs and housewives alike visit early to select the best and freshest ingredients then vanish into their kitchens to prepare their classic dishes. There is a lot of good eating to be... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2015 at mosaic road