Asia, Europe, Africa · 33 Days · 63 Moments · June 2017

Europe & Morocco

5 July 2017

Walking around these narrow little streets I had the feeling I was getting slightly stoned on all the cigarette smoke!!!
A few hours strolling around Amsterdam before my flight tonight to Dubai Singapore Sydney. Took a canal sight seeing trip of the city which was really good. Lunch was Dutch pancakes. Please note Victoria you are even famous in Amsterdam! This is a very imposing hotel across from the Central railway station which is also a magnificent building.

4 July 2017

Shai Krissy and I had a late get up went to the main square and had breakie. I went off & found the Post office to buy a stamp to post a card to Myrtle. We had a look around St Marks church then caught the double decker city tourer bus. It was really good and gave us an idea of the city layout. Next we jumped in a taxi and headed to the river for the avo to swim and lie on the deck chairs under huge umbrellas

3 July 2017

Up at the ungodly hour of 4am to have the van loaded and on our way to Belgrade Chip was driving and the rest of us pretty much pet the 5 hours. Maja, James, Krissy, Dan, Andy, Shai, and me. We needed to be in Belgrade by 10am to get Andy on her midday flight. We then carried on into the city had some breakfast then found our apartment. Three bedrooms & a pullout couch. An Ok little place and very central. The boys and Maja went off for a meeting about roof tiles and us three girls went off walking. The others were quite late so we had dinner at the Italian restaurant next door.

2 July 2017

Last day in Sarajevo. Had breakfast with Willem and a few others before they all started to leave. Spent the afternoon just walking all over till the storm hit and it was bucketing down with rain. Around 8pm all of us that were left met up with Chip & Maja in the old town and had dinner together. It was quite late by the time James Krissy and I left Nova, Shane & baby Taj and Maja's girlfriend from Canada to get back to our hotel. Everyone was really tired and we conscious of our early start the following morning!!

1 July 2017

A very beautiful wedding Chip & Maja and James was best man

30 June 2017

Flew out of Marrakesh yesterday Thursday 29 June at 10am to Paris then to Zagreb and finally into Sarajevo with each change of plane getting progressively smaller, the smallest being by far, the noisiest! Shai had organised a taxi to be waiting for me which was great and even better to have Shai waiting for me in our hotel room! Today we did very little just hanging out, chatting and catching up with everyone.

28 June 2017

In Marrakesh, in a Tuk Tuk and walking around the main square which is huge. During the day it is mainly a thoroughfare but at night it comes alive with heaps of street food, music, horse drawn carriages, snake charmers hustlers and we were warned of pick pocketers. We were also told if we took photos of any entertainers we needed to pay. One in our group videoed a drumming group and walked away. Not happy drummers- and these guys were after him. Our guide had to step in and sort the ruckus!
Les Jardin Marjorelle restored to its former glory by Yves St Laurent and now donated to the Yves St Laurent museum.
Les Jardin Marjorelle
Mono Chez hotel in the high atlas mountains

27 June 2017

Coming over the mountains of the High Atlas. At the pass we were 2600 metres high. It was a spectacular drive with heaps is switch back bends and in many cases quite precarious as the road was narrow and and sometimes had big cracks at the edge.

26 June 2017

Carpet house
Bedroom Maktoub Riad
Maktoub Riad
Stopped at this amazing kasbah
Journey back down the mountain

25 June 2017

Lunch - fresh baked flat bread and tagine Berber omelette with the Berber sign decorating the top in olives
We were up and out walking this morning around 7.30m through all the different fields bordering the river. Lots of small plots of land all with irrigation channels that are feed from dams further up in the hills and the river. There were lots of fruit trees- walnut, apricot, pomegranate,almonds etc In the open areas- Lucerne, maize, melon, potatoes, tomatoes and then bordering these plots were all the rose bushes. These only flower once a year in May. They looked like the wild bramble rose

24 June 2017

Today we were definitely in the oases of dates, millions of Palm trees completely covering the valley floors. Then we drove up into the amazing gorge du Toudgha with a very clean river flowing down over a succession of small rapids. The surrounding cliffs were very imposing with a multitude of different colours but very raw and jagged with massive erosion. To night we have driven into the valley of roses to the town of Boutaghrar and are staying at the hotel Awayou
It was late afternoon with that beautiful golden light as we drove into the sand dunes. We parked our van and took all our baggage into a room of the Yasmina hotel. We then all took a small overnite bag to take with us on the camels. There was a lot of laughter and a few gasps as we mounted our camels and they lumbered to their feet. We rode out across the dunes for about an hour to our tented camp and as you can see it was stunningly beautiful. Our tents were fully equipped with beds shower and toilet. Dinner was delicious then followed with some excellent Berber music on the drums. It was a very hot nite so not very much sleeping.The next morning we were up by 4.30am and on our way to catch the sunrise and so back to the hotel for breakfast. It was wonderful being back in the desert.

23 June 2017

On the road heading to the dessert

22 June 2017

Arrived in the town of Midelt and to our rather large imposing hotel complete with a swimming pool just out of the town. Around 5pm we met our local guide and went for a walk around the town and the small orchards - apples, quince, lemon, apricot, pomegranate and lemons. I also noticed the beautiful roses and all so heathy
Left Fes and drove most of the day to the Middle Atlas Mountains. Another big changed with cooler temperatures and people are just starting to harvest the wheat and barley also lots of lucerne tied up in bundles drying in the sun. The soil was changing from black to red and in some areas extremely rocky. There were large flat plains dotted with small hills and become more hilly as we continued to climb. We stopped in a small town, very green & full of expensive chalet houses like a mini Switzerland. Seemed very strange but obviously the playground of the rich. Around midday we stopped at a local souk and bought gifts of fruit etc then drove on further to have lunch with a nomadic Berber family.

21 June 2017

A wonderful walk into the Fes medina a mix of age old traditions, little narrow streets,fresh & dried foods, spices and so many varieties of dates! Then there were all the artisan crafts of leather, jewellery, metal work,very elaborate bridal gowns and the constant tantalising aroma of baking bread.
Pottery place Fes
Walking through to the pottery showroom. The workmanship was extraordinary.
Artisans at work in the pottery place
FES The kings palace and street scenes in the old Jewish area

20 June 2017

Our bedroom which I am sharing with a fellow kiwi Tracy has a name and not a number. The basin in the bathroom is mosaic which I just love and I never thought I would be sleeping in a room with a chandelier!
Wow! Was our first impression as we walked into the central courtyard of our Riad in Fez. Within this courtyard we even have a small swimming pool and the glass roof above can be opened. The filigree work on the timber and stone is exquisite as are the mosaics all around.
The rest of the drive to Fez was really beautiful. Gorgeous fertile farm land. The harvest has finished but there were many small flocks of sheep with their shepherd and a couple of dogs meandering across the stubbled hills, I assume feeding on the dropped grain
We left Meknes after lunch and headed for the roman ruins of Volubulis arriving about 3.30. It was hot! 41 degrees so it was a slow walk with our guide. The cold bottle of coke was just the best thing when we got back to the little roadside cafe
After dinner we went for a walk through the market when people are all out shopping and getting ready to eat after their fasting for the day. This morning we did a walking tour of the city and medina then had lunch in a private house, couscous & chicken

19 June 2017

The countryside changed from quite flat to beautiful rolling hills. Definitely harvest time as there were a few little John Deere combine harvesters like my dad had in the 70's and hundred of small rectangular hay bales. These were being carted by hand onto a trailer and stacked into a haystack in the paddock, rounded across the top. We are now in Meknes in the Riad Ritaj an absolutely gorgeous place. Our bedroom is beautiful
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca

18 June 2017

Now in Casablanca. Have had a short walk around the neighbourhood and saw some amazing old Art Deco buildings. The streets were rather empty as we are in the middle of Ramadan. I am sharing a room with another kiwi traveller Tracy. We met our guide Hamid and the rest of our group tonite 7 In total and they all seemed fine.

17 June 2017

Out with Hugh & Sheila and then dinner
Sheila and I walking around Sevenoaks
Sheila's flat outside, inside, views out the window and Kenya prints by Joy Adams

16 June 2017

Flew into Stanstead and took the train to Liverpool Street where Sheila was waiting for me. We then took a short taxi drive to London Bridge station driving over the bridge to get there. Lots of railing and bollards have been put up to stop vehicles driving into people. There there were lots of flower bouquets on the side walk for those killed by the vehicle attack. From London Bridge we got the south train to Sevenoaks which is then a short distance up the hill to Sheila's top floor flat. We then walked thru the village to this great little restaurant

15 June 2017

After lunch Mike joined Hermina, Gerard and me and we drove into Germany to look around the burg Bentheim. A very beautiful castle on top of the hill surrounded by very old traditional houses. It was another perfect day around 26 degrees. On our way home we stopped at Drielander restaurant for dinner. We had a great table outside overlooking a small lake which was very pleasant as the days are very long with the sun not setting till about 10pm.
This morning went to the school with Michelle and had a long talk with the principal. Gerard then picked me up and we went to the canal to see the sluice gates working as a large barge moved through. We then went to Luuk's grandma's little house for a visit and then back to Beckum for lunch. Gerard also showed me his 1953 Ford Dexter tractor.

14 June 2017

Out visiting around the local area. Met up with Laura and her parents. A beautiful day around 26 degree. Was watering Luuk's garden but managed to flood the garage as the tap is there and the hose coupling was leaking! It was a bit if a mad rush getting the water swept out the door before anything got wet.

13 June 2017

Munster Germany Today Luuk & Michelle & I went to this old historic town. We had a wander round, sat and had an Italian lunch and the sun managed to come out just for the hour. We walked a little more then stopped at a very traditional old pub for a drink of the locally brewed beer. This evening we had dinner with Luuk's parents and watched a couple of short videos Luuk's dad had taken of their holiday in Sicily. Beautiful place great filming.
This is Luuk & Michelle" s house and the street they live in, in Borne Hengelo. Sitting in the driveway is the new car we picked up on Monday.

12 June 2017

Rick Roelie & baby Nouk

11 June 2017


9 June 2017

Today Ans & Gerritt took me to visit the farm that is now managed by Gerritt"s brother. The barn has been converted into a beautiful restaurant and gelato parlour using the milk & cream from their own cows. Behind this building are the sheds for housing & milking the cows, 2 very big silage pits and a tractor shed. We had lunch then drove to another very traditional village which is practically all heritage listed. This evening Willem arrived and the 4 of us went out for dinner to their local restaurant. The rest of the evening we chatted listened to music from their vinyl collection and drank Australian wine. a very good day and the sun finally came out!

8 June 2017

Here in Sleen a very picturesque little village. The first pics are the Hegen house and then other houses, a 100 year old flour mill and avenues around the village. A rather overcast day but a little warmer. Went out with Roelie to see Ricks parents, took a walk around and then went out with Ans in her 1967 VW beetle to visit the forest and some stone monoliths - ancient burial grounds. It is a very beautiful area.

7 June 2017

Started the morning with a call from Berowra & a lady who found Chiko strolling down the road! A few texts later finally got it sorted!!! Roelie arrived around midday and we were so pleased to see each other. Went and had lunch and hit the road back to Sleen. These are pics at Wils flat. A delightful place with the most beautiful light streaming down into the living area from skylights in the roof on the second floor and the view out the kitchen window Then of course what I was waiting for all day me with darling Nouk. What a gorgeous bright eyed little girl full of curiosity and so happy! We went to Roelie's house first and met her beautiful Rottweiler Frankie and had a tour of the house and sheds. What a great place. Then we drove onto Sleen to her parents house. This is a stunning old house with a full thatched roof. Photos tomorrow. It was so good to meet everyone, little Ella and Geritien, Gerrit and Anjs ( not sure of spelling for names). Everyone has made me feel so welcome.
After the Rijks museum it was just a short walk to the super modern Van Gogh museum which was also exhibiting prints from Paris. Both were really interesting. I was home about 4pm as the weather was just miserable. Lay on the couch, read my book then cooked dinner

6 June 2017

One of the paintings was so big that took up the whole wall at the end of one of the rooms. I took an audio guide which was great and allowed me to go at my own pace.
Wil was at work today so I was out & about on my own. Cold drizzly, windy weather and a bit more work on the bike. I managed to get myself to the Rijks museum and spent nearly 2 hrs looking at these very famous Dutch painters, Rembrandt being the star attraction. They are definitely called masters for a reason. The actual building is also spectacular

5 June 2017

In this art area containers have been used to build living areas a pub and are a perfect canvas for painting. All really innovative. The crane has been converted into a small hotel. Back across the water we went into part of the red light area and down little narrow streets seeing buildings dating back to 1500!
First stop the Amsterdam arena. Very impressive place. Caught a train and then the ferry to this fabulous art area

3 June 2017

We drove through modern Dubai with so many extraordinary buildings of amazing creativity and engineering. But I must say the incredible display of wealth was rather overwhelming.
Next stop a walk through the gold & silver soul and the spice market. Not a very big area down in the old part Dubai
I am on a tour of Dubai city, fist stop Dubai Museum which was original an old Fort