My decision to go to Morocco was very much a spontaneous thing – I was flicking through a catalogue and thought “Yep. That’ll do.” As my first solo trip, and not knowing a word of Arabic and only having very poor French, I was throwing myself in at the deep end a little and so was glad of the assistance of a guide for the week.
With excursions pre booked, the week wasn’t as unplanned as I first imagined (which was a relief!) The most captivating experience was the market. During the day the square was littered with a few stalls and a handful of people, mostly snake charmers, men with monkeys and Henna ladies all of which vied for our attention. However in the evening this place came alive, as if everyone from Marrakesh had awoken and was there – the atmosphere was electric! A sea of people flooded the previously sparse site and now stalls selling every type of food you could imagine had sprouted up. The market infused every sense; the tangy smell of oranges; the traditional music being played surrounded by huddles of onlookers; and the shadows of people framed beautifully against the dim orange glow from the hanging lights.
Pushing past the crowds of people we made our way towards the Souks which were as impressive as the market outside. Stretching from floor to ceiling were cloths, lanterns, pashminas, spices, jewellery, rugs – all (according to their Vendors) “at the very best price!” Although stiflingly hot it was a wonderful taste of a culture so far from that I’m used to at home.
Over the next couple of days we crammed in many sightseeing trips such as a 12 hour drive through the breathtakingly beautiful Atlas Mountains, walking through the Ourika Valley, a day by the seaside in Essaouria and a guided tour round Marrakesh itself. Whilst I had a brilliant time away and had the much needed break from the UK I was seeking, I don’t know that I’d hurry back to Morocco. The week I spent there was enough time to see everything that I wanted and be able to cross the market off my list.