Marrakesh was everything I thought it would be, and at the same time nothing like I expected. From the moment we landed on Morroccan tarmac there was a feeling in the air I couldn’t place. We watched enthralled (fresh from London’s metropolis) as we were driven to our hotel past dusky red apartment buildings, locals wandering busy with their day, palm trees planted in sandy roadside shoulders, American Rap billboards and city walls with ancient stone buttresses.
Marrakesh seems to be a city of chapters. With a wild and varied history, each corner we turned seemed to yield another version of the North African capital. Traditional Souks filled with hand crafted items and apothecary shops groaning with natural remedies, luxury oasis hotels surrounded by verdant golf courses, dusty red apartment buildings mounted with satellite dishes, bi-lingual locals reflecting the tumultuous history, marble-floored fortresses and tanneries built on hand processing all manner of animal products.
After an eon of discussing it, Rebecca and
I had finally made it. A few days of exploring, relaxing, experiencing
and seeing where we ended up. Sadly, due to possible security risks we
felt we had to take a more sensible path than we may have otherwise – some
options didn’t seem quite right to take based on recent events – but it mean a few more hours
in the spa, a few laps in the pool and some serious reading time which
was actually much needed.
We began with a sweet mint tea, as all good things should…
…and a beautiful view from our room of the Atlas Mountains that encircle Marrakesh.
We alternated between exploring traditional tourist-attracting Palaces heavy with winter orange boughs…
…and spoiling ourselves. I mean, why not?
The skillful carvings of local craftsmen adorned so many buildings that we ventured into; a cornucopia of exotic patterning, a pictorial history that lent a mysticism of the culture.
We explored the twisting maze of the Souk with a local guide, met a carpet seller whose kids went to school in New Zealand (Remuera to be exact), learned to calculate distances by chauffered golf buggies, sat in shocked awe to an Argentine band prancing between our plates and bartered with waiters for off menu delicacies. (More to come on these, don’t worry.)
And irony of all ironies, at the end a farewell shower of grey, drizzling rain ended our desert escapades.
I’ll be back. Sometime, somehow.