Traveller has returned

We’ve been home for a week, and I think we’re just about over the jet lag.  They say it takes a day for every hour of time difference, and our last country (Czech Republic) was 8 hours.  Last night was the first full night’s sleep since our return.

When we could, we watched the temperatures here in Tasmania, hardly ever getting into double figures, while we were enjoying lovely summer days of 20 plus degrees in most places not forgetting that Dubai was 40 and Morocco was around 30 degrees most days.  Despite the cold, it is great to be home again.  At least I’ve slept in the same bed for a whole week.

One of the highlights for me was of course Morocco, with its mix of modern and the very old.  I loved walking around the markets and the narrow lanes and streets, they have a magic all their own.  Although I didn’t get to see the actual dyeing processes, I saw and handled the raw fibres, was shown plates of the “natural” substances they use for dyeing – powdered cobalt, saffron fibres, cochineal scraps, indigo bath, etc.  –

Plates of dye powders in Marrakech

and saw many skeins of freshly dyed yarns hanging to dry in the rafters,

Silk skeins hanging to dry in Marrakech

and later visited a weaver where large silk bedcovers were being made with brightly coloured silk or soft caramel coloured wool yarns.

Silk skeins in weaving workshop, Fez

I would love to have bought something from the workshop, but getting it home was going to be a problem. Our guide who is well known to the weavers, presented me with a left over spool as a souvenir.

Silk yarn used for weaving in Fez

Most of the silk produced in Morocco comes from the agave plant which grows wild everywhere.

Agave fibre

Agave plant

Agave growing wild on the roadside

We have some of  these growing in our garden, I’ll have a go at extracting the fibre sometime and see what I get.

The closest we got to see any dyeing was at a leather tannery in Fez, up flights of very steep steps to the third floor roof which overlooked the tannery.

We were given sprigs of mint to carry with us to sniff, as the smell rising from the tannery was pretty awful, as you can imagine.   But it was interesting to see the path that each piece took to get from the raw skin to the finished leather.  The top photo which shows the whole yard, also shows how close all the houses are in the city, one on top of the other, and, it is a bit hard to see, but just about every roof has its own satellite dish.

More next time.


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