A land of intense aroma, stunning desert landscape, mouthwatering food and beautiful oils. Morocco was like travelling to another world, with the heatburning in the wind as it blew through the dusty, crowded streets and the bazars which lined the alley ways covered from floor to ceiling in all forms of colourful trinkets and textiles. Marrakech was a shock to the system and the irritation from being pestered by 80% of the people we crossed paths with gave us a bad initial impression on arrival. Aside from that, the magic of the city was still clear and hidden within the heart of its back bone lay a whirl pool of fascinating characters and habits.
Before we had even set off we had already encountered a few problems back in the UK. British Airways had accidentally fully booked our flight and, as we hadn’t confirmed our seat reservation, we had lost our places on the plane. At first I was totally raging, eager to set off on our journey and irritated at the lack of communication when we bought our tickets. We were told to return to the main desk an hour before the flight and trundled off rather hopelessly in search of currency exchange. After a lot of hoo-har, the airline company kindly gave us a new flight for that same day and a very healthy compensation of £635 (which paid for the entire Morocco trip in itself). We were totally surprised at their response to the error in the booking and left feeling like the universe was definitely shining a little light on our trip. In the end we swapped our flight with a newly wed couple who had a 6 day honeymoon booked and no flight until the next day. We were then given a night in a posh hotel, with breakfast, lunch and dinner BUFFET STYLE! Happyhippies. Imagine a roughly dressed dreadlocked couple with massive ragged rucksacks walking through the immaculate lobby of a 5 star hotel. Surrounded by air hostesses and pilots, all suited up in their very finest, we stood out like boiled pickles. Pretty damn funny….What could have been a horrible and pretty stressful night turned into a total luxury and we are still gobsmacked as to how it all happened….
In Marrakech we stayed in a neat little Riad a good 20 minutes walk away from the central square, which was absolutely heaving with tourists and touts when the heat of the day died down. The riad was simple, with a small roof terrace, a little courtyard with some tables and chairs and 5 double rooms. The bed was beautifully made with bright white sheets, rose petals and smooth stone walls. Everthing was cool and quiet in there, a sharp contrast to the alley and streets outside the doors which were lined with dying dogs, mangey cats and old beggars. A couple of times we ventured into the city to take a look at what all the fuss was about…mistake number one. The city was hot, 48 degrees celcius at its peak, and at every corner we were hassled for money. We looked like white tourists, expected to spend lots of what we had on the stalls and in the local shops. All we wanted to do was have a look around but it became too stressful to leave the riad and we ended up chilling out in the cool, writing and drawing and planning the next leg of the journey.
A visit to the stunning botanical gardens was the hilight of our stay and in the riad we treated ourselves to homemade tagine on the last night which left our taste buds filled with excitement for the continuation of the travels through Morocco.