Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Secret Santa's color scheme

Here goes for my Santa’s gift wrapping color scheme for this Christmas. Every year my Santa like to put together a different theme. One thing that always comes back is the brown craft paper. Cheap and neutral, this natural looking gift paper can be used with a very large variety of gift toppers. You can even print motifs onto it… but that was last years idea. Look at what the Cherry Pie Santa cooked up this year!

I love the glitzy bows in silver and gold. They really add a festive touch to the gifts.

Why not write the name tags directly on the paper. That way they won’t fall off and I find it’s a nice little way to personalize the presents!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Marrakech on a motorbike! Part 2

A good breakfast to start off a day of adventure! Mint tea always included!

On almost every street corner you can find little wooden carts that sell karmousas, which are actually cactus fruits. The vendor just peels away and you can eat as many as you want on the spot. It’s a perfect refreshing snack. I just love street food!

From Marrakech we decided to go on a little excursion in the valley of Ourika. We squeezed into a big white taxi (with 5 other people… yikes) and took the small winding road through the mountains to the village of Setti-Fatma. On the way, the view of the mountains is truly beautiful.

I was very surprised to find a cluster of restaurants nested into the side of the mountains. The exterior seating arrangements could have been taken from a movie. What is better than enjoying a tasty Tajine while seated outside in the shade of a tree while listening to the river trickle below.

This wraps up my trip to Morocco. I must admit that I feel that I only got the chance to see 1% of what there is to visit in this truly exotic and mystical country. I can’t wait to go again to discover so much more.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Marrakech on a motorbike! Part 1

Marrakech is probably Morocco’s most famous city and is well know and liked by the tourists. With the Atlas Mountains on the horizon, the Red City is full of charm with it’s hudge winding medina packed with treasure filled souks. And what can I say about the Jemaa-el-Fna square. I’ve never seen anything remotely close to the frenzy of this place at night. I can truly see why every single person who I have ever spoken to about Marrakech has spoken so fondly about the city. I very much enjoyed my stay there and I think that Marrakech well represents Moroccan arts and crafts and many traditional customs.   My only regret is that I feel that Marrakech, because of it’s appeal and warm welcoming, is too tainted by tourism. Food stand owners and shop keepers are used to dealing with tourists so everything is expensive (compared to other cities). Never the less, Marrakech is a warm, romantic and magical city!

Because of the large amount of tourists that visit Marrakech every year, the city is strikingly clean compared to other cities! It’s called the Red City because every building in Marrakech is painted a pinkish terracotta color.

Marrakech has 1 million motorbikes (or so it seems). Everyone rides a motor bike in Marrakech, from the business man to the veiled woman to families and very old folks. The city buzzes and wizzes by in a sea of bikes. And to be no different form anyone else, so did we!

The old medina is characterised by a certain amount of doorways which give access to the old city and it’s narrow winding streets.

The square  Jemaa-el-Fna . This place is very surreal. Looking at it at night time, you could never guess that during the day this place is almost completely empty. Every night at sun down, all of the venders come and set up their stands which they then pack-up and leave with well after midnight. Grilled meat, dried fruits, freshly squeezed orange juice, warm spicy snails, … the list of food to taste is endless. There are also the musicians, the story tellers, the old women who applie henna, the snake charmer, … the list goes on. I have never seen a place like this one.  Jemaa-el-Fna  realy makes you feel like you are in a different time and place.

There’s always time to sit down and share along table to eat a few Maroccan traditional dishes.

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