Journey to Morocco

Our musical tour of Morroco with the Yuval Ron Ensemble

Day 1: We’ve arrived in Morocco

We’ve made it to Morocco! The Royal Air Moroc flight out of JFK to Casablanca was on time, and I managed to sleep for about three hours of the seven hour flight. Two red-eye flights in two consecutive nights for a total of five hours of sleep. Yet, I didn’t really feel all that tired (at the time). I met up with the others on the tour (most of us were on the same flight, and sitting next to each other ) and, so far, they all seem very nice. Many people are from the Los Angles area (though some are from New York, Texas, Israel, Washington, and others). Some knew each other from a previous Yuval Ron concert tour to Israel. I’m sure that over the next few days, I’ll get a chance to get to know many of them better.

Some tour members arriving from the Casablanca Airport

Some tour members arriving from the Casablanca Airport

We we’re through immigration by 8am, but it took almost two hours before we were all loaded into the bus and ready to head out to Volubilis. We were all getting pretty hungry by the time we stopped at a gas station / cafe for a quick snack. The workers at the cafe didn’t speak English, and the menu was all in French. I thought I ordered a cheese sandwich (brie on ciabatta), but I ended up with some kind of sliced meat as well. I ate it anyway, and it satisfied. Then we re-boarded the bus, and drove for about 90 more minutes. It’s amazing how much the rolling hills of golden brown look like similar terrain in California. But, when you see the buildings in the various towns and cities, you wouldn’t mistake it for America. 

The Hotel Volubulis

The Hotel Volubilis

We made it to the hotel by about 3pm. This hotel (the “Hotel Volubilis”), is not in a town, but instead is in the hills right over the ancient ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis. The Hotel Volubilis is an older facility, that seems to not have been renovated anytime recently, but it is clean enough, and I really have nothing bad I can say about the place (location, location, location). The views down to the ruins are stunning, and you can see for miles fields of olive trees, mustard, and other agriculture. I managed to get about two hours of a nap, when I awoke to the sound of distant drumming. I had to immediately get out of bed and investigate.

The view from the pool at the Hotel Volubulis

The view from the pool at the Hotel Volubilis

The drumming was coming from the pool area, where Jamie, a drummer from the Yuval Ron Ensemble and a few other tour guests were jamming, while watching the sunset. Watching the sunset over the distant mountains from the the pool area with the sound of Moroccan rhythms was something magical. Ladies from the tour dancing just added to to the experience. I had my video camera running, and captured a beautiful sunset (video to be posted later).

We all met for a Moroccan dinner in the hotel restaurant (soup, kabobs, rice, vegetables, dessert were all delicious). Following the dinner we had Hamid (our guide from Sarah Tours), and Yuval provide an introduction to the tour, and to Sufi music. A group of Sufi musicians came dancing through restaurant playing drums (Taarija) and a horn (R’aita) and introduced us to a Sufi “Chamda” ritualistic dance/jam. Then Yuval, Jaime, and Dror, led the group in some singing, and we finally all headed back to our rooms around 11pm, ready to catch up on some well needed sleep.

The Sufi musicians at the first tour dinner

The Sufi musicians at the first tour dinner

More tomorrow.


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185 Responses to “Day 1: We’ve arrived in Morocco”

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