Day 7: Well, much to our chagrin, it was time for us to return home. We boarded our trusty bus again to return to Casablanca to catch our flight for New York. The last bus ride is always good for final sharings. The basic feeling expressed by all was the power of owning that these seven perfect days were right of our minds. We walked into our expanded level of consciousness and created an unforgettable experience. That is how all of life can be – an unforgettable experience.
Day 6: Our final excursion was the Atlas Mountains. These beautiful snow-capped peaks keep guard over Marrakesh and are home to the local Berber people. Before boarding the bus, we met up with humanitarian and Isis’ friend, Linda Cruz. Linda travels the world finding hotspots to do her “frontline” humanitarian work. She happened to be going to a Berber village in the Atlas Mountains and so we hooked up.
Our destination was the Kasbah Tamadot, Sir Richard Branson’s luxury Moroccan retreat. Along the way, Linda pointed out an ancient Berber village and the tallest mountain in North Africa, Mount Toubkal, at 13,671 ft. We arrived at the Kasbah and were greeted by a lovely French woman, Barbara, who toured us through the gorgeous gardens and buildings of the Kasbah. Opulence is the only word to describe this haven; rooms filled with gorgeous antiques, pieces of exotic art, courtyards with reflections pools, terraces overflowing with foliage and beautiful mountain landscapes.
While the group enjoyed the grounds and the fantastic gift shop, the S.T.A.R.S. headed to the highest terrace to sing “Indescribable” and “It’s Possible” for our guides and God. We were completely overjoyed and in full ownership that this opulence was straight out of our own minds. The experience was “Indescribable”.
The kitchens at the Kasbah were not prepared to host our entourage of 35 so Barbara took us down the road to a lovely auberge run by a French friend of hers. The setting was fantastic, tables and food laid out in a beautiful glassed-in porch surrounded by herbs, cacti and flowering jasmine. We were treated to a delightful lunch and our hosts were treated to “This Magic Moment” from Nuhjume.
No day would be complete without line dancing. We gathered around the pool and rocked “Shake It Up” and “The Cupid Shuffle”. Then back down the mountain for a final evening relaxing at our hotel, sharing photos and just enjoying each other’s company. We never seem to get tired of having fun together. Who would?
Day 5: we loaded the bus headed to a renowned picturesque lake area. If you haven’t figured it out by now, we had a very loose itinerary. Today was no different, and yet, by our experience, it would be the BEST day ever (until the next day)!
Exiting the bus, we found ourselves on a country lane with little access to the lake as the road was lined with a stone wall. A few of us were dispatched to scout out a lunch spot. The rest of us lined up in the middle of the road and broke out into our dance to Uptown Funk. The mechanic working on the ATVs and dune buggies, our bus driver, and his assistant all pulled out their cell phones to capture us dancing in the streets.
One of the doors was open along the wall and we ventured in. We could have never imagined the incredibly serene and beautiful resort we discovered. (And yet, I guess we did imagine it, since everything is out of our minds.) With the lake nestled in the back, the time for wedding pictures was upon us and the setting and lighting couldn’t be any better. Did we mention that we were certain a wedding was happening in Morocco? We just weren’t sure of when or where on the trip!
The scouts soon returned; lunch mission accomplished. We walked down the road about a 1/4 mile and turned into another resort. The owner, Natalie, welcomed all of us with an inviting smile and shared the menu that she whipped up just moments before. She mentioned that we were in luck; the clouds hiding the Atlas Mountains were burning off, and we would soon see the snow-capped peaks across the lake. We were free to roam the resort, just like the wild turkey and peacock that also greeted us, while the kitchen prepared our lunch.
A few went to dance and sing lakeside; a few sat in the lounge chairs soaking up the sun; a few went to start a game of bocce ball; and a few wandered through the resort before we were called to lunch. This was definitely the pre-wedding meal and festivities. Between bites and sharing plates, a friendly banter of trash-talking began over the bocce ball game. The oohs and ahhs between the tables could no longer conceal the excitement for friendly competition. So, people wrapped up lunch and quickly made their way back to the bocce area. And it was ON! It was the In-Laws (the fathers of the bride and groom and one of the moms) versus the Out-Laws (some of the guys and the main trash talker). Nothing could have stirred up more laughter, and the outcome – the In-Laws were victorious.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be a day without the S.T.A.R.S. sharing song! The owner, Natalie, her ‘papa’ (French accent please), and the other guests were treated to “Indescribable” and an encore of “Bopping”. Between the cheers, tears, hugs, and thanks, we said our goodbyes and got back on the bus.