Morocco and especially Marrakech have a special place in my heart. It was the first place I have ever travelled on my own if I don’t count moving to London.
It was a mysterious place full of new and sometimes scary impressions. If you have never been to a North African country, it can be an overwhelming and fascinating experience.
I returned five years later, in July 2016. Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking but, I was confident that spending the summer in Marrakech would be the perfect time to learn some Arabic.
After negotiating with my manager at work, they decided to give me the time off so I could follow my dream. After I booked my flight I couldn’t wait to find someone to teach me. The family who owned the Riad happily offered their help at no extra cost.
Between the month of booking and my actual flight I kept on talking about it with everyone, no matter if they wanted to hear it or not.
At the end, the two most unlikely people I excepted joined me for one week each to see Marrakesh with me: my flatmate and close friend and my mum.
I would describe both of them as curious, but not too keen on the culture.
However, I took off for the first week with my friend and she loved it. She claimed the waterfalls in Ourika (Atlas Mountains), walked the Medina and enjoyed lovely dinners at the city’s main attraction Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square and marketplace in the old town.
On her last night, she said: “I do understand why you love this place and I will tell everyone to visit, it is like a whole different world”.
When my mum arrived it was more difficult when I got into the taxi to pick her up from the airport, a massive desert storm broke loose. the previous week we experienced 45+ degrees Celsius and this was about to change. You could barely see the person standing only a few feet away from you, motorcycles needed to stop and wait.
A great welcoming experience, after the storm came the thunder and the rain with which cooled down the temperature to about 35 degrees. However, that night we went into the Souks and she was mesmerised by the colours and the impressions. I took her to Bahia Palace, a wonderful place with lots of places to escape the sun. Her most loved place was Jardin Majorelle, home of the late Yves Saint Laurent with a beautiful garden, a small museum and a cafe.
We cooled off at my, now new home, Palais Khum, another Riad which is considerably pricier, but definitely worth it if you would like to escape the buzz.
They have a beautiful indoor pool & spa and offer day passes during the summer months.
My mum loved Marrakech and would love to return, too.
Apart from her, two of my work colleagues, visited the Red city, too. It is truly a great experience getting people from different countries in Europe to get a bit out of their comfort zone to see the beauty of a country like Morocco.
I personally found Marrakech to be the perfect place to write my book and it became my monthly getaway from London and I even learned a few words in Arabic.