WRAPPED in my jumper and fleecy tracksuit pants I settled into my Ryan Air flight not knowing what lay on the other side. Bound for an expected 30 degree heat, and leaving behind a very chilly month of March the plane thudded down.
Bags in hand I checked into a gorgeous hotel, worth each of its 5 stars. I was greeted with big smiles from the multilingual staff, who were very welcoming and helpful. Plush linen on top of what can only be described as a massive snugly cloud! Refreshed and into more appropriate, light weight clothing I rustled together my companions, eager to explore my first country within Africa — this is my encounter with Morocco.
The window to the soul
Absolutely incredible and spiritually enlightening whilst equally soul destroying, if you dare. A place of splendor, incredible colour and vibrancy, with hearts of kindness and hospitality, amidst a ‘under current’ to be avoided.
Eyes cast at you, watching your movement, taking you in and pondering how susceptible you are to fall for their scam. It’s beautiful, magical and so incredibly diverse. Sprigs of mint shoved in our faces as my companions and I fall for a local money making opportunity.
Entering the tannery, I was expecting displays of colourful leathers, though quickly realised the overwhelming reality; live flesh stacked high surrounding me with an intoxicating smell that crept deep into the pores of my skin.
Desperate to erase these sights and smells, I soaked up the colorful splendor and flourishing abundance within the opulence of the infamous YSL gardens. Pondering the extent of life in the late designer’s magnificent homestead, it is now a very proud donation and monument to the Moroccan people.
I made my way to tackle the winding and jig-sawed streets of the souks, oozing silvery and woven treasures, bursting with colorfully constructed bags, shoes, soaps and ceramics and cheap souvenirs, waiting to be stuck on the fridge in remembrance against chosen postcards for lasting memories.
Shopkeepers, desperate for interest in their wares shout any possible known word in English to gain a passerby’s attention. I become lost in the buzzing smells of the mountainous heaps of spices piled high. Gazing into the varied faces I pass, I wonder…will they travel beyond the warm temperatures of their beautiful country or will they sit and watch,
taking in the cultures coming and go? Never leaving this city but yet, somehow knowing the world beyond their doorstep, or perhaps they have traveled more than I could fathom.
The hills are alive
My thoughts become distracted as the landscape changes venturing towards the life giving mountains and fresh air, so sweet to breathe. It fills the mind and soul. Awakening and breathtaking! There are waterfalls of strength and tranquility, nestled amongst winding and rocky trails guided by local Sherpa’s.
My companions and I are welcomed into the home of a local family, to experience and see this self-sufficient way of life. Talented women who labor to produce Argon Oil, once a sacred secret of Morocco now enjoyed worldwide. Smiling faces enrich the soul.
These are the Atlas Mountains, so far removed from the chaos, fast pace and diverse mayhem of Medina and the city centre. An inner sanctuary is found sitting on woven rugs beside the flowing river, a life source. The spices of a proudly made Tangine is inhaled and digested. Bliss, peace on earth and perhaps so much as an earthly heaven is easily mistaken for this blessed place known as… Marrakech!
Tara Kleiner entered our Great Travel Writer competition for August.
If you have a great travel yarn to spin, go to our Great Travel Writer competition to find out how to submit your story for publication and you could win too!
Proudly sponsored by
Visit the Topdeck website now to find your unforgettable adventure.