The Caplans are long-time Wildland alumni and have traveled with us all over the world. They are truly the quintisential Wildland traveler so it's always a pleasure putting together an itinerary for them. They are educated, very well traveled, highly curious and energetic and they prefer guides who are intellectual and highly knowledgeable about the history, arts, culture and politics of a country but they are also looking to have intimate, local experiences, interaction with people and crafts. They enjoy luxury lodging, but really value residences with a strong sense of place. Quite literally, they look for everything we embrace as our Wild style of travel. They recently returned from Morocco and shared their highlights with us:
"We had a wonderful adventure and we will long remember most the personal contacts, conversations and home visits. You will not be surprised to know that our visits with people arranged by Fazia and Thomas and our time with the lively innkeeper in Bhalil, with Naim's family, and in Tata's homes will be our most memorable highlights. The dinner with Thomas and Fazia was all that we hoped. We were hosted at Fazia's housekeeper's home and were joined by three faculty, two from the university. The conversation was open, frank and wonderful. We hope to remain in touch with one or two of the folks we met. Thomas and Fazia were known to just about anyone we met and all spoke of them highly, especially their own staff who are plain to state that they feel like the operation is a joint enterprise."
"We also had two other delightful surprises: the children's library in medina in Fez and the really wonderful small berber museum in the Majorelle gardens, a museum not to be missed by those who really want to understand the Berber history and culture. The stay at the Palais Masandoia was greatly enhanced by the outgoing personality of the Manager - an Egyptian with an overlarge personality and great stories. We were one of two guests and as a result we felt like royalty."
"Of all the local guides, Abdelaziz Naim was the best! He was incredibly well educated, anxious to share his knowledge and excited about helping us to truly understand his country. He was frank and willing to share his opinions and flexible, with an incredibly warm personality. Our lunch with him and his family was one of the most memorable experiences of the trip. The couscous his wife made was better than any we have ever tasted. As you know, the history of the Jews and Muslims in Morocco was of interest to us and Naim was especially willing and able to share perspectives on that history, in part because he and his ancestors lived in Sefrou and because (we believe) somewhere back there is Jewish blood in his ancestry. The visit to the old Jewish cemetery was emotional and we really enjoyed the visit to the Sefrou souk. Because it was local and Naim knew all the merchants in his city, it had a very special feel to it. On top of that, there were some very interesting women run shops and young female tradespeople that were Saigon's of a very slowly occurring change in the culture. These women were poised, confident and a true pleasure to meet."
"Kamal's driving was safe and careful; and his van was very comfortable and always spic and span. He was a lovely person to spend our long days with and knows a lot, which he was willing to share. Tata was an extremely personable man with a very interesting background and perspective. Clearly, he has become a success in his community and has many expanded interests. When a sandstorm precluded our camel ride at sunset, he stayed with us at the desert camp and arranged for a sunrise camel ride that we will not easily forget."
"The Riads chosen for us were all very good or flat out wonderful and beautiful places to stay. The cooking at Riad Siwan was exceptional and we ended up dining there two nights and were delighted with the experience. The owner and the manager there were both especially gracious and the manager arranged a special dinner for us that included the best piece of filet mignon we have ever tasted."
"The Kasbah Bab Ourika was welcoming and it was a fabulous place to stay. When we were unable to hike because of Peter's knee, we arranged a local camel ride that was quite enjoyable and a good way to go through the local villages."
"The guest house in Skoura was very pleasant and the extra day there was a great idea. We got a local guide through the guest house who took us on a long walk through the oasis, which was a terrific learning experience and an opportunity to see the local way of life."