A Journey to Morocco: For Lovers of Textiles and Folk Art

June 13 - 24, 2019

Quick Details

  • Dates: June 13 – 24, 2019
  • Duration: Twelve days/eleven nights
  • Where: Spain and Morocco
  • Departing and ending point: Barcelona, Spain

About a Journey to Morocco

This is a journey into Morocco for lovers of textiles, traditional arts, and human culture. On this 12 Day/11 night adventure we take a long deep peek at the endlessly fascinating  Red City, Marrakech, and a three-day excursion to mountain villages to meet the old-time Berbers in their homes. We won’t haul you all over the country checking off sites, rather we’ll take the time to go deeper, meet a place more personal, get the feel of the mood and rhythm of a city.

We stay inside the Medina, the old walled city, of Marrakech, our hotel an ancient home beautifully restored and built around our own private courtyard. We will visit market stalls and shops specializing in weavings and diverse folk arts, we’ll meet designers fusing old creativity with new, we visit the home/workshop of Yves Saint Laurent, eat delicious foods in open air restaurants, try our hands at pottery and embroidery, learn about Moroccan cooking, eat olives, participate in good causes and meet snake charmers and bards. The background soundtrack is the street musicians and the call to prayer from the minarets. Welcome to a place a long ways from home!

And then we go further still, leaving behind the mysteries and discoveries of Marrakech for the wide open silence of the High Atlas mountains and the land of the Berbers.  We will visit villages not overrun by the 21st century. Ahhh. We travel in 4×4 SUV’s, staying in simple village lodging (be sure to read about trip difficulty below) and meeting people, who like their homes, are of the earth. We will spend time with rug weavers, shear with a shepherd and learn about baking Moroccan bread.

Oh, and we also get a taste of Barcelona, like the cherry on top. See Day 1 of the itinerary for more on that.

Earth and wool, hearth smoke and freshly swept courtyards. Sun warmed stones and a cozy room on cool nights. Voices of another culture, piles of market spices and a garden or roses. There are worse ways to spend one’s time.


Highlights:

  • Marrakech! Markets, street mazes, good meals
  • Visits to Berber artisans in the High Atlas mountains
  • Rug weaving and hands-on embroidery classes
  • From village rug weavers to high scale urban carpet shops
  • Visits to pottery, glass, basketry and plaster workshops
  • And a taste of Barcelona!

Is This the Right Trip for You?

The unique access we provide on this trip requires a certain degree of physical fitness and a willingness to rough it a bit during the mountain travel portion.  To join this trip you must have the ability to comfortably walk up to 6 miles a day as we visit workshops and sites in Marrakech. Our village visits are via small 4 wheel drive vehicles, count on it being bouncy. While in the mountains, though we won’t be walking too much,  we will be staying in a basic, simple, clean mountain hostel. We’ll have the whole place to ourselves and the rooms have private baths. However, we will need to pair you up with more than one roommate. The rooms are few and are triples and quadruples. There are no single rooms in the village. Kinda like summer camp kiddos! In our experience it is fun. But bring your earplugs. 

  • Chevron down What's Included
  • Accommodation

    11 nights accommodation.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Rooms/beds will be assigned on a first-come, first served basis due to the fact that the bed distribution at the Marrakech Riad (house) hotel is limited to a queen size and single bed in each room. We will allocate the queen size beds first, then fill the singles in all shared rooms.

    Our Marrakech hotel (7 nights) Riad Dar Baraka & Karam is a restored, ancient house inside the old city. It is absolutely beautiful. Prepare to enjoy!

    Our mountain hotel (3 nights)  is basic, clean and with private baths. The hotel is small with multi-bed rooms. We will house up to four people per room. Single rooms are not available during these nights. Prepare for communal fun!

    Our Barcelona hotel (1 night) is Hotel Praktik Bakery


    Guides
    Alicia is an English speaking Spaniard from Barcelona deeply immersed in the world of arts and crafts. She knows her way through Morocco like she knows her way through craft. A fun fact about Alicia is that in 2010 she created a group called “Crochet Guerrilla”, a group of people that do crafts in the streets as a way of converting a traditional craft into something social, fun and public.


    Meals
    11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 5 Dinners

    Max Group Size

    12 guests

    Transport
    4×4 vehicles in the mountains

    Hotel in Barcelona
    The Paktik Bakery Hotel is located inside an elegant building in classic Barcelona style, right in the heart of the famous Eixample area, bursting with modernist buildings of rich architectural value. The hotel is just 100m away from Paseo de Gracia and its emblematic buildings, luxury stores, and the famous La Pedrera Gaudi monument. Website here.

    Hotel address
    Praktik Bakery // Provença 279 · Barcelona · Spain · view map  

    We will meet June 13th at 4 pm at our hotel at Barcelona to have a trip orientation and head out to dinner. Meet your tour guide 4 pm at the Hotel’s lobby.

    Transportation Airport – Downtown Barcelona

    Traveling by Taxi is a low cost and convenient way to get from the airport to the city center.

    You will find a taxi rank outside any of the main terminals exits Terminal 1 (T1) or Terminal 2 (and of the 3 buildings of Terminal 2 – T2A, T2B or T2C). Look for the sign pointing to the nearest taxi rank. The taxis operate all night and there are several hundred of them so you don’t have to worry about not being able to catch a cab.

    The journey to the city center will take you between 20 to 30 minutes depending on road conditions. If you are traveling from Terminal 1 rather than Terminal 2, this will add an extra 4 km to your journey and take approximately 5 minutes more.

    Taxi Fare
    T1: €30.00
    T2: €35.00

    There are additional surcharges for pickup and drop off at Barcelona Airport and the cruise port. You’ll find the rates and surcharges displayed on window stickers at the back of the cab.

    All official Barcelona taxis are black and yellow and are required to charge you only the value on the meter (plus any surcharge). Surcharges added for traveling to/from the airport, cruise terminal or an exhibition center, late night travel or travel during public holidays. All rates and surcharges are clearly displayed on window stickers in the cab.

    The taxi service in Barcelona is generally good, clean and reliable.

    Our Barcelona hotel (1 night) is Hotel Praktik Bakery.

  • Chevron down Not Included
    • Insurance. Full Comprehensive Travel Insurance is mandatory for this tour
    • Additional Services
    • Visas
    • Travel and medical insurance
    • All services, meals other than those indicated above, alcoholic beverages
    • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
    • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc
    • Tips
    • No past traveler Discount
  • Chevron down Itinerary
  • June 13 Day 1 / Thu: (D)

     

    BARCELONA! What, not Morocco? Not quite yet! We begin and end our tour in Barcelona for three great reasons.

    One, it’s much cheaper to fly from the US to Barcelona. Two, Marrakech is a maze, much better to arrive as a group and not all get lost on the first trip to the hotel. Three, Barcelona is amazing and our hosts are from here. Take advantage of our Barcelona Pre-Tour trip for an inside peek at this vibrant Spanish city. And we highly recommend joining our Barcelona pre-tour to avail yourself of this fascinating city. Anyway, welcome to Barcelona! We’ll meet at our hotel at 4 pm and take it from there, with a city stroll, a dinner and rest.

     

    Overnight: Barcelona. Hotel Praktik Bakery


    June 14 Day 2/ Fri: (BL)

    And now, Marrakech. Welcome to Morocco, welcome to Africa! We leave Barcelona dang early on an included 2-hour flight to have a whole day in Marrakech. We’ll settle into our gorgeous riad, or restored, ancient home in the heart of this fascinating city and ease into a slow day as we adjust to a new continent and time zone. Lunch on a beautiful terrace restaurant and a wander through the Medina and Zoco. We explore the Dar Si Said rug museum and spend time in the World Heritage central plaza, Jema el Fnaa with its musicians, storytellers, and Berbers. Dinner in the delicious African air.

     

     

     

    Overnight: Marrakech. Private Riad


    June 15 Day 3/ Sat: (BL)

    Potters, Tiles, Baskets. In a land where the earth is so abundantly exposed, our morning will appropriately be spent visiting ceramics workshops in Marrakech. We’ll visit a tajines factory (specialized cooking pots), see how Zellige Moroccan mosaics are created, visit a traditional red pottery workshop and learn about traditional kilns (and try your hand at pottery throwing if you please. We’ll also learn about gorgeous tadelakt (lime plaster finishes), contemporary designs in white clay and an opportunity to try our hands at decoration!  After a lunch of tajine (named after the clay pot that makes the dish), we’ll visit the workshops of basketmakers as well as the shop of a Moroccan artisan and designer names Faissal Benouna. …A full and rich day fittingly closed out with a dinner in an antique 15th-century palace.

     

     

     

     

    Overnight: Marrakech. Private Riad


    June 16  Day 4/Sun: (BL)

    Fashion. Look, style, adornment, fashion…we’ll peek at these so human fascinations today with a visit to the Berber Museum, dedicated to the culture and styles of traditional Berber culture. Said museum just happens to be housed a 1930’s, Art Deco style house that was once the home and workshop of Yves Laurent.  Did someone say fashion, because nearby is the Yves Laurent museum to which we’ll also treat ourselves to a visit? And more, including an afternoon embroidery class in the courtyard of our riad, a visit to a traditional olive market and some especially tasty food.

     

     

     

     

     

    Overnight: Marrakech. Private Riad


    June 17  Day 5/Mon: (BL)

    Soulful Food. Today we revisit the idea of tajines. But this is doing the cooking, learning how to make this clay oven meal from a group of women who are part of an association for women at risk. Good food, good cause.  We’ll also meet a Belgium designer living here and creating a fusion of traditional and contemporary ideas in ceramics, textiles, footwear, and carpets. There will be a visit to a rug shop where we can see how traditional wool rugs are woven and a wander through the souk (market) visiting shops that sell embroidery thread made from aloe vera, carpenters, herbalists and heaps of spices.

     

     

     

     

     

    Overnight: Marrakech. Private Riad


    June 18  Day 6/Tue: (BL)

    Threads. A workshop and store belonging to an association of handicapped female embroiderers, the weaving workshop of artisan and designer named Faissal who works in cotton, linen and wool and a deep dive into the souk to look at rugs and soak up the endless flavors of this Saharan marketplace. Today we explore Marrakech through her threads, winding alleys and creative people doing good work.  And then we take a pause to unwind, a slow afternoon and free time.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Overnight: Marrakech. Private Riad


    June 19  Day 7/Wed: (BLD)

    To The Mountains. Loading into 4×4’s we leave the souks, minarets and old walled city of Marrakech and head to the land of small villages, old traditions and the air of the High Atlas mountains. This is the land of the Berbers and for the next three nights we’ll be staying in a mountain hostel and meeting people from a different world.  En route today we’ll learn about a Moroccan specialty, argan oil. Delicious on bread or couscous, it’s better known in the Western world as a coveted ingredient in cosmetics.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Overnight: Tamellakout.  Mountain Hostel


    June 20 Day 8/Thu: (BLD)

    Berber Artisans. Village visits! Homes of stone and earth that seem to grow out of the landscape, wide open spaces, shepherds and trails. This is the place we’ve traveled too. The overwhelming din and buzz of the industrial world are not out here. Here there is still space and silence in which to hear your breath, listen to your heart…and meet beautiful people. We were in the village of Tachakouch with its ancient fortress (which we most certainly will explore) visiting homes of rug weavers and learning about their work. Then on to Ait Semgane where we’ll meet a shepherd and learn about shearing, spinning, and dying of wool. It doesn’t get fresher and more local than this!

     

     

     

     

     

    Overnight: Tamellakout. Mountain Hostel


    June 21 Day 9/ Fri: (BLD)

    Village Hands On. In village houses, we’ll enjoy a hands-on rug knotting workshop on mini looms that we get to take home. Our teachers are old-time traditional masters. In the village of Tislit, we’ll pop into a pop-up roadside rug market. And we’ll see how bread is made and baked in earthen ovens. But these are only the sideshows (and the reason that we think we are coming for) the real reason is the meeting of people, weavers, and bakers, children and shepherds…smiles and shy laughs, questions and communication through hand gestures and pantomime. These are days of connection with people whose lives are so different than ours, but whose hearts are so similar. As we learn about rugs, try hot bread or peek into a weaver’s home, it is the human connection that gives deeper meaning to this journey.

     

     

     

     

    Overnight: Tamellakout. Mountain Hostel


    June 22 Day 10/ Sat: (BL)

    Heading Down the Mountain. Time has come to head back to Marrakech, now rich with the flavor of outter Morocco, we return knowing more, explorers returning to the exciting thrum and comfort of our “home” city.  But first one last caress of beautiful mountain rugs at a village cooperative. Back in Marrakech there will be time for some last purchases or gazing plus a visit to a place with a very different flavor of rugs in the luxury showroom of Soufiane Zarib. Whereas the villages we’ve just visited are unknown even to Google maps, Soutiane Zarib rug shop gets talked up in the New York Times and the UK Telegraph. Contrasts!  Oh, and we’ll have dinner tonight at Zwin Zwin if for no other reason than the name itself is a zesty meal!

     

     

     

    Overnight: Marrakech. Private Riad


    June 23 Day 11/ Sun: (BLD)

    Dusting Off. We’ve done and seen a heck of a lot in places wonderfully different from those we are familiar with. Food, language, smells, sights, sounds…every sense has been bathed in things foreign and delicious. And like any great feast of experiences, the time comes when one needs a break. So today we travel to the outskirts of Marrakech to an astoundingly beautiful country club where we can bathe in the pools surrounded by fields of roses and olive trees. We’ll have lunch in the gardens and practice the art of doing little for a while. Bring your book, bring your journal, bring your camera and of course, bring your swimsuit.  And should you want a little more than the art of nothing, there is a wonderful spa here as well and you are welcome to indulge in a massage or some lovely treatment. Though this, alas, is not part of the price of your trip. This evening we rouse ourselves from our rest for our last Moroccan dinner and a moment to remember the adventures we’ve been on.

     

     

     

     

    Overnight: Marrakech. Private Riad


    June 24 Day 12/ Mon.  (B)  Homeward! We have a 9:50 AM flight back to Barcelona today, arriving at 1:15 PM.  Some of you may choose to catch an onward flight back home. Others may choose to stay…after all, you are in Spain! Though our trip has come to a close, if you need help reserving a hotel for the evening, let us know. And may the memories of the sounds of Marrakech and the silence of the High Atlas mountains hum within you for an age!

  • Chevron down Your Guides
  • Alicia

    Alicia is an English speaking Spaniard from Barcelona deeply immersed in the world of arts and crafts. In her early twenties she opened a shop and art gallery in Barcelona offering the best independent handmade goods from artisans around the world and started organizing workshops to renew and preserve many craft techniques. Always interested in promoting local artisans and designers, she created the first craft fair in Barcelona in 2009.A fun fact about Alicia is that in 2010 she created “Crochet Guerrilla”, a group of people that do crafts in the streets as a way of converting a traditional craft into something social, fun and public.

    Montse

    A photographer and graphic designer, Montse worked for a fashion magazine until one day she decided to leave everything and move to Marrakesh where she discovered her passion for crochet and crafts. Back in Barcelona, she created a brand of textile home objects through which she sells her designs and those of the Maghreb’s artisans. Montse knows her way around Morocco like she knows her way around creativity.