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Ace Camp | Suzanne Northcott | Marrakech + Essaouira

I got home late last night after spending 9 days in Morocco. This time we stayed in the medina at Riad Majala so we could try different restaurants and be closer to the action. It's amazing how quiet it is a night considering all the hussle that goes on during the day. The group could shop when they wanted or head out to try a restaurant or get lost in the souks like I did more then once.

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Suzanne Northcott

was our workshop leader and she taught travel journaling but as always with Suzanne she teaches much more. She lead us in yoga each morning which calmed everyone - as we listened to the "call to prayer" - she was generous with her time and guidance and she was open to experiencing all the sights, sounds and changes that occur when traveling with a group.

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The souks are like a cement corn field with vendors shouting at you to visit their shop and you have to plow right through if you're not interested - even if you show the slightest interest in something they offer you may encounter the likes of assistance of "how many do you want", "my family made this in the mountains", "we have one in yellow, orange, green, blue, red and purple", "I offer you the most diplomatic price", "come in, come in, you only have to look" - and fifteen other renditions... At times you seek the only shop that will give you a moment to think for if they only knew that if they did that they may have your business...but that is shopping in the souks...and that is all part of it.

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We ate at a variety of restaurants - Le Jardin, Terrace des Espices, Cafe des Espices, Al Fassia, in the Jemma el Fna, Villa Flore, Cafe Arabe and had a cooking class (sort of) followed by a meal in our riad. We also ate at Beldy in Essaouira (one of the most flavorful in my mind) after I set out on a mission to find a restaurant and ran into a German guide book writer who brought me there to make a reservation on his bike. (Thank you Lutz!)

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The group ventured to Gueliz, Essaouira, Jardin Majorelle, museums, shopped the souks and had quiet, well instructed lessons from Suzanne. Yes, we saw goats in trees - and handed out tips to the goat herder or whatever he's called. (It's a tad of a touristy thing but still fun - correction - it's totally a touristy thing...but still fun)

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We split up, shopped together, shopped on our own, met new friends and explored Marrakech. Some of the group arrived early and spent time in Paris, extra days in Marrakech and some stayed longer to explore Morocco and London. There were artists, lawyers, accountants, art administrators, travelers and seekers of gardens to name a few.

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and we walked...and walked...and walked...and if we couldn't walk any longer we found our way back.

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It was a great adventure and I thank Suzanne and all the ladies who joined in.