I’ve been blessed to be able to travel to many different places over the past year. As I reflect back on 2010, the one destination that stands out above all others is Morocco. I really love Morocco because it truly is a unique place, with heavy European and African influences.
My favourite city in Morocco is Marrakech, which is an intricate combination of both new and old. Arriving in the historical city (the Medina), my travel companion and I spent a couple hours wandering the Medina which is a labyrinthine maze full of narrow pathways and small streets that twist and turn. These streets are full of different souks that sell flavourful and authentic street food, bright and vibrant garments, exotic and fragrant spices and so much more. We spent days getting lost in the streets and exploring the different souks, meeting shopkeepers and bathing in the Moroccan culture. There was so much more to see from gardens and tombs to mosques and palaces.
In the day time, the Djemaa El-Fna (main square in the Medina) is packed with street performers, dancers, snake charmers and story tellers, filling the area with life and colour. As the sun sets, the square transforms into a massive open-air market where authentic Moroccan fare is served. We opted to skip out on restaurants and riads for food most nights and join the locals and tourists at the food stalls in the square, eating anything from lamb’s head to snails. To this day I still dream about warm inviting tangine stews washed down with hot mint tea.
Beyond the tastes and sights of Marrakech, my fondest memory of the city is the people. I still remember entering into a tea shop to buy some mint tea leaves to take home and staying to chat with the shopkeepers over tea for an hour and walking out with complimentary supplies for the hammam. Eating at food stalls in the main square, we would frequently have engaging conversations with workers and chefs, often being served extra food and tea (free of charge). We felt more a friend than customer in many places we went, and shopkeepers and food stall operators would remember us the next day and invite us for tea and food. We were invited to ride with locals into other parts of town to explore the night life and have a drink and ended up making many friends on our trip to Marrakech, some of whom I still keep in touch with.
If you’re looking for adventure, food, culture, sights and sounds, definitely consider visiting Marrakech. To plan your adventure there, I recommend requesting a trip quote from tripatlas.com/new’s network of travel specialists. There is so much more of Morocco to tell of – watch out for future articles.