Friday, October 29, 2010

First Stop: Chefchaouen


Alas, I've slipped again -- fallen behind on my posts due to our many adventures. But to fill you in, for the last week, we've been zooming around northern Morocco with Nana, PopPop, Karla, Gary and Grace.

First, after a little recovery and sightseeing time in Rabat, our group headed off to the Rif Mountains to visit the quaint city of Chefchaouen. Bob says it may get his vote for prettiest city in Morocco.

We stayed for a couple of nights at a hotel with a rooftop terrace overlooking the city, where we watched the sunsets, listened to the calls to prayer and had some pleasant meals.

Here's Nana giving a jaunty wave as she goes into the hotel.

And Gracie getting some kisses from her Daddy as she leaves the hotel.

Meanwhile, here's Anna having some fun with PopPop.

On Thursday, we cruised through the medina, checking out the town and visiting the stream where women wash the clothes.

Some of us then hiked to a nearby mosque with a great view of the medina (see photo at top), taking time to scale some rocks en route.

While some of us hung out in a cafe or relaxed on the hotel terrace...

And, lest you fear that I missed a prime shopping opportunity, rest easy... some of us also did some power shopping.

In fact, as you can ask Karla, power shopping is a competitive sport in this family. You either snatch up things as soon as you arrive at the store, or you stand by and watch while your mother and sister do. No mercy.

You'll have to ask her what happened at this store (got her to smile for the camera anyway).

Here's a the shop run by our favorite "Hat Man." He was happy to pose for a picture by the time we finished shopping at his place.

One of the paint stores. The powders in the bags are paints that are mixed up for use at home.

Not sure what some of this stuff is. Maybe someone else knows... (Livy?)?

And more cute shops....

One added plus of being in hilly Chefchaouen: Great places to run and jump, especially if you are a nine or ten-year old boy.

Here, a local boy catches some serious air in the uphill walkway leading to our hotel. (I didn't capture him airborne on the first shot and made him go up and do it again. He was happy to oblige.)

Tommy, not to be outdone by a local kid, gets ready to catch some serious air of his own just before we headed out of town. See below (I didn't capture him at his peak, but I think Tommy may have bested the local kid).

A bientot,


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gracie Goes to North Africa


It's Gracie, and I just arrived in Morocco on Monday with my Mom (Karla), my Dad (Gary), and my PopPop (Bob). I am staying for a couple of weeks with my Auntie Kim, Uncle Bob, and my cousins, Anna and Tommy.

Auntie Kim said that because this is my very first time in Africa, I should write today's post. (You might wonder how it is that at not quite six months old, Auntie Kim is able to transcribe a post for me. Well, Auntie Kim knows just what I want to say (and have been babbling) -- she's the Number One Auntie, after all).

Here I am on Monday night, my first night in Rabat (I probably should have been sleeping, but I was still pretty wired from my flights). I look like an international traveler, don't I?

So, on Tuesday morning, while my parents and I were recovering from a rough night, Nana and PopPop went out with Auntie Kim, Anna and Tommy to see the Chellah, which has lots of 1st century Roman and 13th century Islamic ruins set among flowers and trees. They thought it was pretty cool.

(Below: PopPop, Anna and Tommy snacking at the Chellah).

After that, the group headed out to the Tour Hassan (a 44 meter minaret for a great mosque that was built but never finished in the 12th century and that later survived the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755) and the Mosque and Mausoleum of Mohammed V (Morocco's first king and its father of independence) and Hassan II (Morocco's king before the current king, his son).

I sure have learned a lot about Morocco already, haven't I?

After that, my Mom, Dad and I caught up with the rest of the group in the Rabat medina for a little shopping. I was starting to get pretty tired, though. (In the photos below, you can see Nana with Anna and Tommy by a pet store, and me with my Dad).

Come to think of it, my parents should have been getting pretty tired too, but guess who made the only purchase of the evening?

I found the whole medina experience pretty stimulating, so I did what any smart six-month old would do: I fell asleep.

We then headed back home (in three different blue "petit" taxis), where my cousins, Anna and Tommy, had already introduced PopPop to their pets, including the hamster, Coco (who is very cute and funny), and the bird, Petey (who sure is noisy but is pretty and likes to fly).

Since Tuesday, I have had a lot of other adventures in Morocco, so you'll hear more from the Number One Auntie soon.

A bientot et bisous,


Monday, October 25, 2010

Cafe Time with Nana


Yesterday, we headed over to our favorite neighborhood cafe for brunch, featuring cafe cremes (or lattes) (for the ladies), the' a la menthe (for Tommy), and pain au chocolate, good bread and eggs.

As you might imagine, there was a fair amount of animated discussion at our table.

Who do you think talked the most in this group? (I can tell you it wasn't me; I was the group's photographer).

Was it Tommy?

Was it Anna?

Or was it Nana?

And the winner is......

(drum roll, please)

Nana says that Anna talks a lot and changes subjects so quickly. Wonder where she gets that?

After brunch, we headed off to the "scooter park" before turning home.

A bientot,


Sunday, October 24, 2010

The City of Light in Autumn


While in Paris, we spent a day at the Louvre.

The Louvre has over 10 miles(!) of gallery space, and it would take months to see everything. But we braved the crowds to see some of the masterpieces, including The Slave sculptures by Michelangelo, the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa (of course), and the wonderful Vermeers.

We also visited "Cour Marly", where the grand statuary was initially commissioned for the park of the "Chateau de Marly," a small French royal residence outside of Paris.

Here's the view from the Pyramide du Louvre (the glass entrance for the Louvre designed by I.M. Pei and opened to considerable controversy in 1989) as we left the museum that night.

On our last day, we made our way to Musee D'Orsay, which is housed in a beautiful old train station and features 19th century French art by artists like Monet, Manet, Rodin, and Seurat. We ate lunch in the lovely old dining room that was originally part of the station hotel.

Alas, no cameras are allowed in the Musee D'Orsay...

And here we are, all set to go cruising down the Seine at sunset on that last night in Paris.

Here's what you see as you motor along under the full moon and the lights come on throughout Paris.

I know I posted the photo below before, but the Tour Eiffel is just so beautiful.

Afterward, we headed to our favorite neighborhood cafe, where we had a little wine, a salade de chevre chaud (green salad with chevre and honey toasted on baguette slices), a cheeseburger (Mom, only) and some good pommes frites (french fries). Dinner was followed by some chocolate from a fancy chocolatier.

Ahhh, the City of Light.

A bientot,