Magical Morocco 2012
May 8-17th, 2012

Friday 11 May 2012 RABAT - MEKNES – VOLUBILIS – FES

This morning after breakfast we left for Meknes, one of the four imperial cities. This old capital of Morocco was prosperous during the reign of Moulay Ismail who had diplomatic relations with Louis XIV of France and James II of England.

Roman archaeological site of Volubilis. This town was the western capital of heavily Romanized but semi-autonomous Berber kingdom of Mauritania and where very beautiful mosaics in good state of preservation as well as the capitol and triumphal arch are to be admired.

Volubilis: a very impressive setting selected by the UNESCO as a cultural heritage for humanity. On the way there we will again be entranced by the beautiful landscape of colours. The Roman ruins of Volubilis are a striking sight, set in the ledge of a high plateau, some 33 kilometres north of Meknes. It is by far the most important Roman settlement in Morocco and the best preserved, having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. The scope of the ruins may well be familiar to you: it is the setting of Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. The ancient Roman city that has some of the best mosaics in North Africa.

We found out that Volubilis means morning glory…I guess we should have known that! In its heyday it had over 20,000 people living here and it is at the exact opposite end of Hadrian’s Wall!

Bab Mansour which is considered as the most monumental gate in the whole country,

Visit to the stables where over 12,000 horses used to be house for Ismail Moulay, impressive!

Lunch at Le Relais De Paris in Meknes

And for something a bit different….We will take a little stroll in the 9 hole golf course situated in the former gardens of the royal palace. The gardens are beautifully kept and it is entirely surrounded by palace walls. They have opened it to the public since September 2007 so now it's possible to slip in to have a peek.

“Nine holes rooted deep in history; the incomparable Meknes Royal Golf Club laid out at the heart of the imperial city of the Sultan Moulay Ismaïl, with the roofs and minarets of the medina as a background, in a garden overflowing with flowers, plum, orange, palm, olive and apricot trees. With ramparts in which storks nest, a fountain decorated with mosaics, sculpted windows and niches, colonnades and crenellated towers - the golfer travels back in time as he plays his round...

Close to green number 4, a Moorish door leads into the Royal Palace ... On the green of number 7 an exquisite staircase in white and green faience leads to the ramparts where the club house is situated. The enchantment lasts throughout the round, and even into the night if you so desire, for here you can play by floodlight- or even by the light of the moon.’ This golf course is very private and set up with huge lights to play in the evening when cooler.

Two nights Sofitel Palais Jamai Luxury Medina View Room

Our Hotel for the next 2 nights is the Palais Jamai Hotel, just recently rated by Travel and Leisure Magazine as the best hotel in Fes and one of the world’s top 500 hotels. Stay here and you will know why. Each of our rooms faces out onto 9th century, 14th century and 19th century Fes. Nothing prepares you for this view from your own private balcony. Your room includes: moroccan decor, balcony, medina view, bathtub with shower, separate toilet, satellite TV, Wifi, hairdryer.

The Palais Jamai is positioned around a magnificent Andalusian garden of orange, lemon and palm trees, and medicinal herbs. Despite its location just steps from the hustle and bustle of the Medina, its marble fountains and terraces overlooking the city offer a tranquil sanctuary. Designed and built with great deference to Arab-Moorish style 1879 by the Jamai family and intended for escape, for pleasure to the eyes and peace for the soul. The palace was transformed into a hotel in the 1930's and has since been the host to a multitude of distinguished visitors to Fes. The most historic and famous hotel in Morocco, only rivaled by the Mamounia in Marrakech. An elegant nineteenth century palace set in wonderful Andalusian gardens overlooking the Medina. Sofitel Palais Jamaï preserves the authenticity of Fez, the spiritual and cultural capital of Morocco.

Everyone absolutely loved being here…who could not with that view!


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