About a week ago I returned from my first Moroccan adventure. We managed to pack in a fantastic 10 days of travel including a half a week in Marrakech, a three day trip to Merzouga and the Sahara Desert and a couple of days on the coast in Essaouira. I had heard lots recommendations to visit Morocco, Marrakesh in particular, however when I asked where to visit and what to see, people didn’t seem to say anything specific; ‘Just wander around’, ‘See the markets’, ‘Experience the place’ and I really didn’t understand until I got there. Since returning I would now say the same. It’s a must see country and a fascinating place. I experienced a culture I had never fully immersed myself in before in Europe and saw amazing scenes of natural beauty.
I want to share a couple of really interesting photos and places from my trip…
The Palais de la Bahai was the first ‘sight’ we saw in Marrakech and is a 19th Century piece of Moroccan architecture built by Si Moussa, grand vizier of the sultan. The building was quite simple in its design with the popular Moroccan titling throughout and shaded courtyards creating cool relaxing gardens. What did impress me about this building and others around the city was the ceilings. I felt like I constantly needed to look up to take in the beautiful intricate design and painting of the traditional Moorish ceilings.
After seeing the main sights in the center of Marrakech we ventured out to the real local markets in the North of the Medina. Here we saw the amazing value the local people had for materials and craft in Marrakesh. I peered into workshops where furniture was being constructed and it was a whole other world to the workshop we have here at deVOL. It was fascinating to see newly constructed furniture propped up against beautiful Moroccan antiques. We pined over fantastic old wooden doors piled up against each other, every one completely individual and beautifully crafted. The doors in Marrakech were of real personal interest to me. You could go down the quietest street and stumble upon the grandest, most elegant door in the city.
The highlight of my trip has to be the tour we took to the Sahara desert. Although in total we travelled 760 miles in 3 days we saw some of the most wonderful natural features Morocco has to offer. These included the famously filmed town of Ait Ben Haddou where scenes from Game of Thrones, Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator were filmed. The Todgha Gorge with walls 600m high and of course our final destination the Sahara Desert. Here we rode camels out into the desert and spent the night sleeping under the stars. The pure tranquility of the vast desert was amazing and is nothing like anything I have seen before.
Morocco has something for everyone and was always entertaining. We haggled for leather bags, cooked traditional tangines, danced with Berber tribes in the desert and even saw a man playing a guitar with a chicken on his head! This is just a sample of thousands of photos we took and I hope gives you an interesting taster for what this country has to offer.