Footprints

BEIJING (JUNE 2017)

My trip to Beijing was not too bad . I wasn't too happy about the hotel though. It was secluded among fallen buildngs. We arrived at 4.15 a.m. local time. Mind you we were stranded at the airport for more than one hour because we had to wait for two passengers that did not board the plane and did not report to Kembara Sufi. We were all very sleepy and tired and I had to do something. Checked all the names of those in group and insisted that we head to the hotel. Took us more than an hour to reach the hotel after which we just hit the bed!

The next day the couple who kept us waiting arrived! They didn't board the plane with us because they couldn't secure discounted seats. Apparently their son works with Malaysia Airlines. I guess they were on standby at the airport. 😏 They could have at least informed Kembara Sufi about it right? We tried to get in touch but it was 3 a.m. in the morning! Some people can be so selfish.

Beijing is beautiful and clean. The first thing I noticed was the big and expensive cars on the road, practically every single one of them. You name it! Audi, BMW and Volkswagen to name but a few.  I love the food....lots of vegetables cooked in different styles and there was always the omelette. Alhamdullilah I finally arrived at the Great Wall of China! One of my dreams fulfilled!

























































EASTERN EUROPE (MAY 2016)


Alhamdulillah for the opportunity to travel and witness the beauty Allah has created! Enjoyed this trip very much despite some hiccups. Enjoy the picts!
























Where "The Sound of Music" was shot







BALI...2ND VISIT (OCT  2015)

 
amazing!! worth the money :)




love the food in this restaurant...forgotten name but very famous!



kopi luwak....sadly i learnt later that they force feed the luwaks to produce coffee at a faster rate! i can live without cofee luwak seriously :)



Kintamani..my second visit..there's something about this place!




CAMBODIA (MAY 2015)

















TURKEY (MARCH 2014)

  




















BALI, INDONESIA (31 Jan- 3rd Feb 2014)

I arrived in Bali with Adibah and Hayat via Airasia flight AK1366 at. 9.30 p.m. 163 passengers were on the flight and we had a jolly time because a surprise was prepared by the crew. Ang pows were given (since we traveled on Chinese New Year) to those who answered some 'silly' questions. There was even a singing steward rending some old melodies. By the time we passed through immigration, it was already 10.30 p.m. Zul, our Malaysian tour guide was already waiting. It wasn't hard to recognise us I guess :)  We arrived safely at Eden Hotel in the middle of Kuta at about 11 p.m. More waiting at the reception before they could give us our rooms. The rooms were o.k and the food was good. They had everything we needed especially a hair dryer! Before choosing Bali as our destination, I googled all the other Indonesian cities. Wasn't too sure about Bali because of the difficulty in finding halal food but I was totally wrong. There are many places where you can find halal food. Enoy the picts. Awesome!

 

Kuta Beach, Bali
So calming and peaceful to watch this!

Tanah Lot


IN Tanah Lot to see the famous temple





Padang-padang beach where Zul, our tour guide swims



Tanah Lot temple

Choppy waters and very blustery

Krishna shopping centre for souvenirs









Sawangan beach



Ubud: the cultural centre

Entrance to Kecak dance venue in Ubud





We were warned that the monkeys come near so some brought food!







The crowd waiting for the Kecak Dance

Kecak Dance about to start..

thickening crowd..
The beginning

Unfortunately, rain came pouring down. We tried to hold the fort but gave up! Completely drenched!

Eden Hotel smack in the middle of Kuta where we stayed

Sukawati Art Market





Tegalallang..rice terraces




Mount Batur in Kintamani..had a lovely lunch here


Mount Batur..breathtaking!

A lake near Mount Batur

Tirtha Empul Temple




The president's palace overlooking the temple









Paddy fields have an effect on me..just love them!!



Our guides on the right: Temana and Zul..great conversations we had in the car! Thanks a lot!




























SPAIN AND MOROCCO (16th-27th Dec 2013) 

PART 13: MADRID, SPAIN

Our last stop was Madrid, the capital city of Spain. Ola Madrid! It was kind of sad to know this would be the last leg of the tour but I was already thinking of home and nasi lemak, roti canai, teh tarik :) We were given half a day free and easy so I went out with Dibah (daughter) to do some shopping. In summation, it's a tour I will never forget. Morocco was unforgettable (despite the dinner not arriving on time on our first night) and I hope to go back to Morocco someday in sya Allah...

Next trip- Turkey!

 

Miguel Cervantes and his famous Don Quixote fiction!

Out tour guide, Celia




The modern side of Madrid


The Bernabeu- Real Madrid Stadium. being just outside was already exciting!




 

This was where I got two Real madrid jerseys. 86 euro each!


The Royal Palace but picts not allowed inside


98 euro each!




Happy shoppers!
 







I love this lunch in this last restaurant that we went to!

The group

With the so-called datin :)






PART 12: TOLEDO, SPAIN


Toleda was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage and historical co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures. Toledo is known as the "Imperial City" for having been the main venue of the court of Charles I, and as the "City of the Three Cultures", having been influenced by a historical co-existence of Christians, Muslims and Jews. In 1085, the city fell to Alfonso VI of Castile as the first major city in the Christian Reconquista. Toledo has a history in the production of bladed weapons, which are now popular souvenirs of the city. (Source: Wikipedia)


 
Ayres Hotel, somewhere away from the city..quiet and peaceful



Making sure our bags had been loaded before we pushed off to Toledo



A short stop in a small village on the highway

Quaint...

Souvenirs galore!
 

A master silversmith in a shop owned by Syrians

the master at work


swords too!

too expensive for me!








We walked uphill to find the Muslin restaurant!




coke!







Toledo from the top



One for the album!





PART 11: CORDOVA (THE MEZQUITTA-CATHEDRAL)

I can't describe how it felt to be here in Cordova mosque. I've always read about it but here I was in Dec 2013! They call it the mesquitta-cathedral (mosque- cathedral). But when I entered inside, I felt a sense of sadness because it has now become a cathedral. There are many chapels in the mosque now. Perhaps we should learn from Cordova that complacency and prowess can be lead to downfall, in this case the downfall of the Muslim empire in Andalusia. For the record, Córdoba was captured in 711 by a Muslim army. The new Muslim commanders established themselves within the city and in 716 it became a provincial capital, subordinate to the Caliphate of Damascus; in Arabic it was known as قرطبة (Qurṭubah).



On the way to Cordova









Albolafia mill, one of the eleven Mills of Guadalquivir in Córdoba





A quaint souvenir shop just outside






Lunch at a Moroccan restaurant


I love this vege soup!


A threesome stumming Spanish songs..beautiful!

Our guide into Cordova


Our tour guide


Lemon trees outside
 


The original wood used in the mosque


Cordova- what  used to be a mosque

The plan in Cordova

When I first step foot in it I thought..wow!! It's like the Prophet's mosque in Madinah Munawwarah!



Tombs of Christian saints in the mosque

Evidence of the Visigoth conquering Cordova

More evidence of Visigoth's rule

The mihrab where the imam used to be. We were told that the mosque could fit in 30,000 congregation for prayer and 8000 outside! I wonder how it was in those days!

Just like the prophet's mosque!



Names of those who built the pillars: each carved his name on the pillar


One of the chapels in the mosque

A chapel


Another chapel



A pretty little souvenir shop outside




PART 10: GENERALIFE GARDENS (GRANADA)

Adjacent to the Al Hambra is the Generalife, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Granada, along with the Alhambra palace and gardens, and the Albayzín district. It is one of oldest surviving Moorish gardens. It was a long walk but I enjoyed every minute of it!
 
















The palace and gardens were built during the reign of Muhammad III (1302–1309) and redecorated shortly after by Abu I-Walid Isma'il (1313–1324).







The Court of la Acequia.









 



PART 9: GRANADA SPAIN

Another place I've always wanted to visit. Alhamdulillah for this opportunity to see this historical piece. Enjoy the picts!




Outside waiting for our tour guide Poru

A church outside the Al Hambra


What's left of the servants' quarters




Just amazing. We came early so there were not too many tourists yet.





 Our tour guided informed us that the angles for all the sides of this roof are exactly the same! A mathematical feat achieved by the Moorish architects who built it in the 9th century!













PART 8: CROSSING THE STRAITS OF GIBRALTAR TO SPAIN

We had to say goodbye to Morocco after five days. I will never forget Morocco, especially the Old Medina,  a place I really wanted to be. Wish we had stayed longer. Our next destination is Spain. Ola!







Goodbye to Hisyam, the driver and Jawat, luggage man :)


In the spacious ferry








MOROCCO PART 7: AMAZING FEZ!


The exciting labyrinth in Old Medina


Fresh strawberries for sale

Somthing like our own roti canai :)


Al kinds of everything in the Old Medina!




Karouyeine University


The University of al-Karaouine or al-Qarawiyyin is a university located in Fez, Morocco. The al-Karaouine mosque was founded by Fatima al-Fihri in 859 with an associated school, or madrasa, which subsequently became one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the historic Muslim world. Amongst its famous alumni was Ibn Khaldun. Oh my! Just to set foot here thrilled me!




Stopped to say Hello to these kid in kindergarten

A commercial presentation--overpriced I think but some of us bought it!





Lunch in one of the restaurants in Fez



I love the bread!














MOROCCO PART 6: FEZ AND MEKNES




A lake we passed by on the way to Meknes


A little town we passed by

Okra-coloured buildings



 
Tasty kebabs with some Moroccon music at the back!


Fuad our guide aka Anthony Bourdain :)


Bab Mansour gate, named after the architect, El-Mansour. It was completed 5 years after Moulay Ismail's death, in 1732. The design of the gate plays with Almohad patterns. It has zellij mosaics of excellent quality. When the structure was completed, Moulay Ismail inspected the gate, asking El-Mansur if he could do better. El-Mansur felt complied to answer yes, making the sultan so furious he had him executed. Still, according to historical records, the gate was finished after Moulay Ismail's death. The gate itself is now used as an arts and crafts gallery; entry is by a side gate. (Source: Wikipedia)


A view from the top of Meknes

A famous ceramics factory
This wasn't in the brochure but Fuad took us to this factory that produces ceramics.





Feast your eyes!




MORROCCO PART 5: FEZ AND TANGIERS

Fez is known as the holy city of Morocco because Islam arrived here first. It's as enchanting as Marakech especially for someone like me who loves cultural sites and heritage. When we were here, Fuad took us to the Old Medina, a place I really wanted to visit. Despite the long walk and tired legs, I love the charm and surprise of the intricate labyrinth in the Old Medina. How do they cart goods along the narrow passages? By donkeys or push carts! At many points, we were startled by "Balaq", a call to warn us to look out because a cart or donkey was coming! Truly exciting!




An unusual fruit that Fuad asked us to try!

Another kind of unusual fruit..

Passing through the narrow souks...


The one thing Fuad didn't do was to take us to the souvenir shops and we were all frustrated. As I said before, we walked and walked and walked but we did stop at some commercial presentations like the following:



Argan Oil- the only oil found in Morocco they say..
I bought a few bottles of Argan Oil, rose water and orange-scented oil for stress and headaches :) I don't know if we were cheated or not but buy we did!


An array of spices!

Tempting but sweet

Getting ready for kebab in the famous Djemme El Fna Square





We stopped at a bazaar (like our 'Pasar Malam') somewhere along the road and bought fresh and juicy tangerines from the farmers. They still do barter trading here would you believe? More later!



MORROCCO PART 4: MARRAKECH STILL!


Travel anecdotes below :)


Moroccoan mint tea- ok I think but tasted better without sugar. Moroccans like sweet things!



Sultan Hassan's beautiful mosque- prayed Dzuhur here

One of the huge doors in the mosque!

Fish, calamari, prawns and ratatouile- I didn't like them too much!

Lunch Moroccon style in Old Medina- now this was something!

but the food was not quite to my liking....

Moroccon tea with mint again! Tasted better without sugar.

Guess what was the filling? Su'un (yes you got it), potatoes and chicken. Not too bad.

Morrocon Restaurant
We prayed Dzuhur in this restaurant. The water was cold and as usual there was no tumbler or pipe despite the claim that this is a Muslim nation. Be advised to always bring an empty mineral bottle and slippers everywhere you go so you can clean yourself properly before praying. Subhanallah...keeping up the syariat (Islamic principles) was a real challenge even though Morocco boasts of numerous mosques. The public toilets do not have taps to clean yourself except wash basins to wash your hands and face.




Boiled potatoes and underneath..beef
Marrakech is enchanting but not the food as my gastronomical adventures indicated. Next was Fez and Tangiers!






MOROCCO PART 3: MARRAKECH

Our exploration of mystical Morocco took us to this ornate, 19th-century palace- Bahia palace which exemplifies the lavish lifestyle of the Moroccan elite. Before the palace was accessible to the public, it housed Bou Ahmed (Grand Vizier to Sultan Moulay el Hassan) along with his four wives and 24 concubines. You will be able to see rounded entryways leading to colorful mosaics and intricate latticework. Inside there is a beautiful garden that provides some shade. Not forgetting lemon trees everywhere!


Marrakech here we come!
Plaza Hotel- brand new
Marrakech- view from my window
Manara Gardens' pride- olive trees and produce
Tagines and other crafts..sorry Fa we didn't stop to get one for you :(
one of the souks in Old Marrakech
Unique ways of displaying their wares

The entrance to Bahia Palace
 

Beautiful carvings

Add caption


One of the rooms in the palace

Travel stories about 19th century Bahiya Palaces

Simply captivating!


Snake show at the famous Djemme El Fna Square
Fresh orange for a mere two Moroccon dirham
 
 
Leather goods- but our tour guide didn't stop..haih..



 To be continued...





SPAIN AND MOROCCO (16th-27th Dec 2013) 

MOROCCO PART 2: MARRAKECH

Although I just read in a blog that Morocco is the third most dangerous country in the world (if the web rating is to be trusted that is), one word summarises Morocco: ENCHANTING!!  I hope it will remain this way and modernisation will not spoil the beauty of Morocco. We passed by souks (bazaars) in Old Marackech where the smell of spices tickled our noses and fried food made me queasy. At one point it made us crave for our old 'pisang goreng'! And lining the streets were 12th century mud walls.



A beautiful morning in Marrackech from Plaza Hotel

Palms trees everywhere

Our Hotel in Marrakech

Camel rides outside Manara Gardens, Marrakech

Muhammad Fuad , our tour guide

Olive trees aplenty in Manara Gardens

Manara Gardens

The reservoir in Manara Gardens that irrigate the olive gardens around


Entrance to the Old Marrakech

Yummy bread by the roadside

Old Marrakech

Colourful wares

Moroccon spices

Local cakes and sweets

Saadiens tombs located deep inside

Saadeines tombs

The gardens as part of the tombs- Okra coloured buldings which is the colour of Marrakech

Beautiful view




SPAIN AND MOROCCO (16th-27th Dec 2013)

MORROCO PART 1: RABAT

The saying goes that "travel broadens the mind" and I completely agree. Traveling is recent habit I've picked up  and thoroughly enjoyed. Making up mind as to where to go wasn't easy. It was supposed to be New Zealand but I ended up in Morocco and Spain instead. The company I went with was Safirgotravel based in Bangi but I wouldn't recommend it to be honest. There are other companies that can provide a better service. However, my daughter and I enjoyed ourselves despite some problems we faced in parts of our travel. Our flight took eight hours from KL to Doha. The transit was a good opportunity to walk and I needed that. The connecting flight was another six hours enroute to Casablanca. We arrived at 2.50 p.m. Casablanca time Alhamdulillah...Luggage handling aside, we were greeted by Muhammad Fuad, the local tour guide who could easily pass as Anthony Bourdain, only older :) 

We headed for Rabat first which is the administrative capital of Morocco. We visited the Royal Palace briefly. Kasbah Udayas, Mohamed the V avenue and Hassan Tower. After that we headed for Casablanca again. It's like Casablanca (because the airport is here) then Rabat and back to Casablanca. So you can imagine how much time we spent on the road! In a way, traveling by bus is the best way to view Morocco or any country for that matter.  And we were lucky to have Hisyam who was very skilful and Jawat who took excellent care of our luggage. Our tour guide was Hj Bakar aka Hj Baker (Fuad called him this). Our first impression of him wasn't too good as he hardly spoke to us at the airport or gave us any briefings. I always thought a tour leader is someone who is friendly but anyway we just prayed that everything would be well. It felt great to have a trusted camera- my new Sony NEX 5T :)

To be continued...



Our bus for the next five days...
Rabat in the evening

Rabat, the administrative capital of Morocco

A busy city!



A view from the bus...very cold evening!

Muhammad Fuad, our tour guide..

Stories of King Muhammad V and his life

The ceiling of the King Muhammad V tomb..awesome!

King Muhammad's tomb: Al fatihah

Hassan Tower: the minaret of an incomplete mosque begun in 1195 by  Sultan Yacoub Al Mansour

Intricate Moroccon architecture outside under renovation


6 comments:

  1. and i spy with my little eyes for my next destination... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you won't regret it but i think if you spent a few days there it will be worth it. you can explore the city and all it's exotic places and food :)

      Delete
    2. i am jotting down notes already as i read through your entries.

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    3. wonderful zainal. next year am sure you will set foot there :)

      Delete
  2. Nice shots and amazing photographic review of those places, Pn Rahmah. :)

    ReplyDelete

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