Friday, December 8, 2017

Nothing much more, keeping in faith with the title of this blog (possibly a touch twee?) and so just a few more details of day’s goings on, including an interesting visit to a city’s ruins

Morocco – Day Four: Meknes (Where, you ask? Well, bloody look it up. Don’t you have Google maps?)

OK, it’s getting late, I’ve spent another 48 hours on a coach, inspected a Roman ruin and generally been the cultural angel, I’ve had two bottles of Casablanca lager and helped polish off two bottles of Moroccan wine, so forgive me please if a little kindness creeps into this account. The wine, by the way, was not half bad, and compares quite well with its peers from Spain, France and Italy. And if that makes it sound as though I think I know a thing or two about wine, let me reassure you that the only thing I know about wine is when one is crap panther piss (and I’ve bought quite few bottles of that in my time) and when it isn’t.

Tonight we are in a town/city called Meknes, about 70km to the south-west of Fes, reknown our guide tells us, as being the centre of Moroccan wine production. I didn’t even know the Moroccans produe wine, but hence our choice at supper.

We didn’t drive here directly, but stopped off at the ruins of Volubilis, and although I called it a Roman ruin, it was, in fact, a rather large city of 10,000 which existed for about 1,000 years, from the 3rd century BC until the beginning of the 14th century, and the Romans only ‘had’ it for about 400 of the of those years. It started out as a Berber city, was then Roman, and a few hundred years after they abandoned it, the Muslim Arabs arrived and took charge. But don’t take my word for it, look up – as, of course, I did, cos I didn’t actually know anything at all about the city before today – this entry here.

I’ve got to admit I’m a sucker for ruins, whether Roman, Norman castles, or the range of castles my brother and I visited in France a few years ago. It helps, of course, that these days they are excavated well and plenty of info is given in little plaques here, there and everywhere when you visit them. Years ago I visited the castle at Caernafon in North Wales, and I you like castles, go there. Even far smaller castles like the on at Villandraut which is close to where my stepmother’s sister lives south of Bordeaux and which I have visited several times is worth a look. That’s if you like castles, of course. If you don’t, well . . .

I’ve got to say, I’m enjoying this week, although I know full well that it is the last as well as the first time I shall go on a touring coach trip. It’s not just the organised culture of it all, where I far prefer nosing around to see where I might end up and be surprised, or the, as I put it yesterday rather starkly and perhaps unfairly, somewhat voyeuristic nature of this kind of tourism. It’s the bloody travelling around by coach which I haven’t at all taken to.

We have, however, seen a little more, or a lot more, or rural Morocco and my initial impression, gained while travelling from Agadir to Marrakesh and the early part of our bloody interminable journey from Marakesh to Fes (and I’m still not sure whether that should be Fez) that it is an arid and barren country is wholly wrong. Further north, and the further you get from Agadir, the more fertile the country is, and then some. Dark earth where the Moroccans grow their vegetables and fruit, and the mile upon mile of olive trees tell me that I was quite wrong.

. . .

I have already written an entry, composed on the flight over, on a historian chappie called Herbert Butterworth, his book The Whit Interpretation Of History and how I am inclined, like Simon Heffer whose radio broadcast on him and it first brought it to my attention, to think that Butterworth had a point, but I shan’t publish it here for a week or two, mainly because I haven’t finished it. I add that because having complete the above, I notice I had still only written just over 500 words, and we can’t have that, can we. If I am unable to waffle on for at least 1,200/1,500 the world must surely be coming to an end. Well, it isn’t, and I like to think I am not daft enough to carry on with more inconsequential waffle just to make up the numbers.

So, there you have it, tonight’s entry. No piccies, I’m afraid, because today I used my camera and didn’t bring with me the cable to transfer them to my laptop. Tomorrow it’s Rabat. So goodnight and . . .

Except to say, I had a very interesting dream two nights ago which I shall make work for me. I shan’t say anything else except to ask you to look out for Emily. Means, nothing to you, does it? Well, it means something to me, and as long as I remember the dream and can reconstruct its essense, that’s all I ask. Oh, and also to write something like 60,000 words.

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