May 2, 2022 • 10:45 am

The ship’s real-time map shows us sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar, and from my cabin window I can see the Rock in the distance.

And now we’re closer:

Because time is short, I’ll post some photos of Marrakech, all visited two days ago.

Two birds in Yves St. Laurent’s garden. Is the second of these a pigeon? Birders, please advise.

The garden of Yves St. Laurent, who had a villa in Marrakech. Though he died in Paris, his ashes are scattered in the garden.

The garden is full of both blooming flowers and cacti. I’m not sure what these are, so please enlighten me .

St Laurent’s villa:

What is this plant.

Another cactus:

Museum of the Confluences (of cultures:)

Carved stucco:

These tiles are all cut by hand, including the white ones. There is no grout:

In the souk, far more touristy than it was when I was here in 1972:

I was told there are still quite a few Jews in Morocco:




Olive market:

The historic Kasbah Mosque.  It was begun around 1185 and restored around 1600 after being severely damaged in an explosion at a nearby gunpowder factory. We were not allowed inside. Hardly any Moroccan mosques allow non-Muslim visitors, but we were allowed into a lovely newer one in Rabat, which will be in a subsequent post. (You can see some interior photos on the Wikipedia page.)

The minaret:




18 thoughts on “Marrakech

    1. I don’t think so. The lack of ‘eyeliner’ between eye and beak suggests its a Eurasian collared dove (Streptopelia decaocto) rather than a ring necked dove (Streptopelia capicola).

  1. The first cactus is a Myrtillocactus geometrizans, montrose form. The second is an
    Echinocereus grusonii. Both of these are fairly common in cultivation in the U.S.

  2. Birds in Yves St Laurent’s Garden-
    Common Bulbul – Pycnonotus barbatus, abundant birds in urban areas in western Morocco
    Collared Dove – Streptopelia decaocto

  3. The spectacular deep reddish-pink blooms are those of the Bougainvillea, native to S. America and ubiquitous all over the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, California, and many other warm places around the world.
    From wikipedia: “Bougainvillea (/ˌbuːɡənˈvɪli.ə/ BOO-gən-VIL-ee-ə, US also /ˌboʊ-/ BOH-) is a genus of thorny ornamental vines, bushes, and trees belonging to the four o’ clock family, Nyctaginaceae. It is native to eastern South America, found from Brazil, west to Peru, and south to southern Argentina. Different authors accept from 4 to 18 species in the genus. The inflorescence consists of large colourful sepal-like bracts which surround three simple waxy flowers, gaining popularity for the plant as an ornamental.”

  4. Be warned about the macaques in Gib! They are evil sods so be prepared to have one jump on you.  Keep all personal possessions/food/bags to yourself. The buggers will grab bags and rifle through them!

    1. Yes! This happened to me and one of them opened my backpack and I had my passport in it. Fortunately, I got my backpack away from the macaque and it didn’t take anything from my pack… but that wasn’t a fun experience.

      Great pictures of Gibraltar and Marrakech! Both are beautiful places to visit and it looks like you had a wonderful time. Hope the food is good too! I swear I had the biggest meal in my life in Marrakech at this French/Moroccan restaurant which may no longer be around. I also love the way they serve tea.

  5. The first cactus shows fasciation, a process by which the shoot apical meristem, which is normally pointed, becomes flattened. It can be caused by somatic mutation, damage to the shoot apical meristem by herbivores, viral or bacterial infections etc.

    1. I enjoy the etymology of this :

      Fascia is from Latin for “a band, bandage, swathe, ribbon,” derivative of fascis “bundle”.

      I used to think it meant “face” – until now.

      “Fascia” is commonly encountered (in my experience) in construction (or home improvement shows) and podiatry (or, foot pain) with “fasciitis”.

      … which “first cactus” has this? I’m a … cactus ignoramus…

  6. Eurasian Collared Dove.
    In 2013 I moved from Long Island to Joshua Tree CA. I kept hearing a bird sound I did not recognize but when I grabbed binocs and looked all I ever saw were Mourning Doves or so I thought. One day I got a good look and realized it was not a MD after all but something similar I did not know. Grabbed my bird book and found the ECD, but the North American range shown was solely the Florida penninsula. I was ready to publish!
    Then I googled. My bird book was from 1984 and in the 30 years since then the ECD had spread across the entire continent.

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