Posted by inka on Feb 21, 2013 in art
I thought I just alert everybody who a) loves Morocco and b) loves music to three festivals in Morocco. I’m going to attend the spiritual in Fez, I think.
This is a rather short post with links to a tour operator, but I’m not going to use it because it includes a trip of several days as well as the festivals and is quite expensive. Of course, I now live just across the water from Morocco, so I’ll make my way there under my own steam. The tour operator does however offer discounts for photographers and travel writers, so I thought it worthwhile to mention the tours here, particularly for those who do not live in such proximity to Morocco.
Gnaoua Festival in Essaouira
I have visited Essaouira a few years back and had a chance to listen to the street musicians. The festival show cases the best traditional Moroccan musicians as well as modern ones and some grouos from abroad. The festival itself takes place from 20th to 23rd of June.
Musician in Essaouira
Here is the link to the full trip offered by bestofmorocco.
Sufi Festival in Fez
Those of you who follow me will know that I am very interested in Sufism and have taken the opportunity of my stay in Turkey to visit the festival in Konya where Sufism originates through the works and writings of Mevlana Rumi and where he is buried.
Statue of a whirling dervish in Konya
But Sufism is not restricted to Turkey and this festival from 13th to 20th of April also allows to explore the fascinating ancient city of Fez and some other destinations.
Again, here is the link to the tour offered by bestofmorocco.
World Festival of Spiritual Music in Fez
Again, Fez is the venue of another festival of spiritual music accompanied by formus and other events. It takes place from 7th to 15th June.
For a change, I have added a link which explains more about the festival and where you can buy a ticket without an additional trip.
Maybe, meet you at one or the other??
Disclaimer: This post is not in any way sponsored by bestofmorocco. This post is just for the purpose of sharing information.
Posted by inka on Jan 29, 2013 in art
, Day trips
I am not even a week in my new apartment in the south of Spain and already the travel bug is biting. I guess, that’s the nature of a true traveler and nomad at heart, so as I can’t help myself I willingly give in to temptation. In all honesty, one of the reasons why I chose to settle here (for the time being anyway) is the proximity of fascinating cities as well as nature parks which I have always wanted to visit.
When walking along the main street yesterday, I happened upon a travel agency which offers day trips to four of my favorites: Cordoba, Granada, Sevilla and Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in Morocco.
This being winter, the prices are very low and the groups are small, which is the reason why I consider joining a guided tour. For me, it’s an easy and inexpensive way to reach my destination and, once there, I can wander off on my own, returning only in time for the journey back.
My first choice was Ceuta, but there were not enough people, so I’ll just ask from week to week and see when I can go. My next choice is Cordoba, the fabulous city on the banks of the river Guadalquivir. Cordoba has a long, long history, including Roman and Iberian pasts, but the city came to fame and fortune in the 10th and 11th century when it was the capital of the Islamic caliphate. During this period Cordoba was considered the most flamboyant city of the world and her inhabitants were known for their great sense of style and fashion. If that isn’t a reason for a glamour granny to visit, I don’t know what would be.
Cordoba features the second largest old town in Europe which, in its entirety is a UNESCO word heritage site. Something to look forward to and which definitely calls for a return visit. No hardship, given that the train journey from Malaga takes only 54 minutes. I’ll enjoy the most famous historical building, the Great Mosque, now a cathedral, the Roman bridge over the river and the Jewish quarter and the go back in the third week in May when a great festival takes place: The Patio festival. Many great houses open their patios for the public and compete for the price of the best which is awarded for the architecture as much as for the beauty, abundance and variety of the flowers and plants.
Great Mosque Cordoba/Photo by Timor Espallagas
Oh yes, the south of Spain has a lot to offer and I can already see that I won’t stay put for more than a few days at the time.
If you have read my previous posts, you will recall that I have decided to spend New Year’s Eve in the historical Caravanserail Hotel in Kusadasi.
Visiting this lovely port on the coast of Turkey’s Aegean Sea is always a pleasure for me, although, like the many, many visitors who pass through during the year, the most popular season is during spring and summer. Countless cruise ships cast anchor in the modern seaport and many a private yacht can be admired in the marina.
Winter in Kusadasi is a different experience. There are still plenty of people around and more than half of the shops and restaurants stay open year around. What fascinates me though, is the light. Look at this shot of one of the many statues which adorn the sea promenade. The dramatic rain clouds in the back ground make the doves soar.
Winter has its own entertainment and the most important is camel wrestling. This is a serious sport, tempers of the owners of the beats and the betters fly high and the camels really have a go at each other. The day before, the champions are paraded along Kusadasi’s pedestrian zone and I was lucky to catch them.
Another sport which thrives year around is fishing, My eye was caught by this lone fisherman who cast his rod just below the castle which dominates the harbor entrance.
And finally, what better to do on a cold and wet winter day than starting off with a good breakfast, enjoyed in the cozy little dining room of the Caravanserail.
Happy New Year to all my readers.
Posted by inka on Dec 14, 2012 in art
New Year traditions around the world
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to seeing the New Year in, I’m terribly superstitious. Given that I am German, currently living in Turkey and sometimes in Miami and moving to Spain soon, I have a choice of New Year traditions and good luck rituals which I can nicely combine in the hope that 2013 will be a good, happy and healthy year. Just about every nation and culture in the world has its own rituals and traditions and I thought it was interesting to do a little research and see what our fellow humans do to make the Gods of luck, happiness and fortune favorably inclined towards us.
I’ll start with my country of birth. Midnight strikes and we hold a spoon over a flame and melt a lump of lead in it. When it’s liquid, we’ll quickly plunge it into ice cold water and, with a hiss, curious figures will be formed. The fun part is of course the interpretation of the resulting shapes.
Good luck charms are a little, pink pig made of marzipan, a four leaved clover and a doll like chimney sweep.
The country I’m moving too has a curious and somewhat challenging New Year ritual. When the clock starts striking, a grape is popped into your mouth until 12 have been consumed. Be careful not to choke on your mouth full of grape mash as otherwise the New Year will not have such a happy start.
Apart from the fire works, there seems to be only one important New Year ritual, and a very nice one at that. A kiss!!
Norwegians make a rice pudding and share out the slices. Whoever finds a coin in his or her slice, will never suffer financial hardship throughout the new year.
New Year is celebrated with big parties. Shortly before midnight, one – always male – guest has to walk out the back door and see the old year out, then walk around to the front door on the stroke of midnight, knock and let the New Year in. I have no idea why it has to be a man, but that’s the tradition, or so my friends told me.
No New Year dinner in Brazil without lentil soup. The lentil is considered as bringing wealth. And a tozch if ‘withcraft’ might help too. Female members and followers of the macumba voodoo cult dress in blue skirts and white blouses and work their magic.
So, come the 31st of December, I’ll make sure I have a bit of lead ready, as well as a bunch of grapes, a marzipan piglet, a man to kiss and do the in/out walking and then, just for good measure, I’ll celebrate the Chinese New Year too. Ah yes, maybe I’ll dress in something blue too, if not a skirt perhaps a scarf will also do the trick.
Health, Wealth and Happiness to all my readers!
Posted by inka on Dec 11, 2012 in Festivals
It’s hard to believe, but for all the years I have lived in London, I have never once had the chance to attend a typical English Christmas dinner. It might have had a lot to do with the fact, that I escaped the cold winter to rather listen to Jingle Bells under palm trees and devour lobster, shrimp and tropical fruit instead of roast Turkey and Christmas pudding. This year however, still being stuck in Didim on the Aegean coast and waiting for a replacement passport after the break in and theft in my apartment, I decided to look at the bright side and accompany my English friends to a ‘do’, a Christmas dinner English style in a restaurant by the name of Didim Diner.
Selma and Nurettin
What was it like? First off I have to say that the owners, Selma and Nurettin have put a lot of love and attention to detail into the decoration. Christmas trees, crackers, candles, table cloths, and a giant inflatable Father Christmas created a cozy and festive atmosphere.
All these are for sale
Nicely decorated tables
The hand made place cards.
I was told, that the menu did indeed contain all the traditional ingredients. i.e.: Turkey (or beef if you wanted), gravy, roast potatoes, mash, three vegetables and two tiny pigs in a blanket. Starter was either soup or garlic mushroom with toast, not especially British I daresay, but nice enough.
Desert was a piece of Christmas pudding with a very heavy white and sweet sauce which I couldn’t quite make out, but as it was called ‘white sauce’, I guess that was about right. Or else mice pies… very British indeed.
What I liked best was the Christmas crackers. In Germany, we have crackers for new Years as a good luck charm, but they are an important part of an English Christmas dinner. Selma provided each diner not only with a lovely hand written place card but also with a cracker and we all cracked happily away. Out fell the obligatory party head which HAD to be worn, never mind how silly you look.
My friend jean brandishing her cracker
I made a fool of myself like everybody else
Entertainment was also provided in the form of a quiz and life music by a Turkish singer and guitarist who delighted us with pop music. Oh yes, a few carols were thrown in too. All in all, a very cosmopolitan mix with a distinctly British touch to it.
A great time was had by all.