I decided last minute to leave behind the greyness of the British winter and recharge my battery with some sunshine and warmth and head to Morocco. Magical Marrakech is the jewel in Morocco’s crown with its beautiful Moorish architecture and design and a perfect and beautiful climate of hot days and cool nights. Still pools of water to calm the senses are abundant in the open courtyards of the city’s multitude of riads, hidden from the hustle and bustle behind impenetrable old doors in the narrow passages of the Medina.
Morocco is a taste of the exotic on the African continent within easy reach of London, but a whole world and time away. Mint tea traditionally served with a flourish of hand in silver tea pots on arrival at your riad, the stillness of the air, the smell of leather and of the spices piled high permeating the winding labyrinth of the souks, citrus trees, bougainvillea, the Imam’s calls to prayer from dawn to dusk echoing around the city.
As the city wakes up, the wonderful light-infused streets around Ben Youssef Madrasa come to life with bicycles, motorbikes, battered yellow taxis and donkeys trotting along pulling carts piled high or resting in a shady square awaiting their next job. Walk on the right and keep an eye out over your left shoulder.
Tourists wander vulnerably clutching maps and getting lost in the souks. I wonder how long it takes to get really familiar with where you’re going. They’re deceiving as you think you know them a little more and then the next day you become hopelessly lost and even though you might be one street away, you may as well be in Tangier as nothing looks familiar anymore and the only way out is to rely on the kindness of strangers.