I’ve got Morocco running around my mind today, thoughts harking back to my trip back in 2003. It could be the hot spring air coming from the streets of Brooklyn into my sun-drenched apartment. It could be a scent that took me back to those daily wanderings around the storied souks of Marrakesh and afternoons over sweet mint tea with views down to the ever-chaotic Djemma el Fna square. Or maybe I should blame it all on Jen of Folie à Deux and the series of wonderful posts on her recent trip to Morocco.
It matters not what made me ruminate Morocco – I thought I’d share a few memories. A new hotel had just opened in Marrakesh back then, the five-star La Sultana. I had a privilege of staying in a palatial suite at this splendid boutique property right at the heart of the Medina. I won’t say much of the experience, leaving it up to the photographs to tell the story. A few moments do come back – of the day I was woken up at dawn with the imam’s call to prayer, feeling this divine song move through every part of my body. There were those early mornings and sunsets on the gorgeous terrace overlooking the vibrantly colored roofs of Marrakesh. I won’t even speak of the gourmet feasts – my taste buds can still recall the strong tastes. Perhaps that’s when I became a huge fan of Moroccan cuisine.
Then there was a side trip to the Atlas mountains, which involved a ride on a mule, tea with a Berber family, and a delicious lunch of lamb tagine. Essaouira, formerly known as Mogador, was the next stop. When I think of this enchanting town on the Atlantic, I see seagulls, color blue, wooden fishing boats and whitewashed houses, all paired with a gentle caress of ocean breezes. There was one night spent in Casablanca before the flight back to Barcelona. The city seemed drab and dangerous but our evening was spent in the company of an interesting man over many cups of tea. Wearing a ragged suit and with an open wound on his forehead, he had approached us in the street and began to weave a beguiling story about his worldwide adventures as a musician, his children all over the world and travels around my former country of Yugoslavia. Before you knew it, a couple of hours had passed. When we returned to the by-the-hour hotel (one of the most horrible places I’d ever stayed at, recommended by our guidebook!), where we simply had to spend the night – it was too late to look elsewhere – the Morocco story seemed like somewhat of a dream. In fact, I still think of it that way.