About Marrakech

I dreamt of a place filled with caliphs, jinns, palaces, vibrant mosaics, brass lamps and magic carpets. I found this imaginary place in Morocco.
A lot of  artists and writers come to Morocco in search of charm, inspiration and an oasis. Many never leave.  I understand why after only a few hours of walking around Marrakech. The Red City is a feast for all the senses, especially the visual one.

From the indigo blue of Yves Saint Laurent's Jardin Majorelle, colourful souks and vibrant spice market, my eyes absorbed enough colours to offset grey London for a whole year.
Every corner and alleyway in Marrakech's medina is filled with materials for buying, writing about and picture taking. The late afternoon is when the souk is the most beautiful in my opinion. It's when rays of the setting sun penetrates through the market shades, giving it a magical lighting effect.  

Everyday in the medina, we manoeuvred our way through a mishmash of skinny alleyways, C90s (cheap Chinese motorbikes), mules, the Marrakshis and tourists alike.

 Many had warned us that we will inevitably get lost in the old city. But that is the point. We came here to do exactly that - to get lost. Besides, not knowing where you are going made our experiences even more surprising.

We came across many interesting characters in the souk - Chef Backhich, whom according to the locals we spoke to, sold the best food in the medina. This may be true since he was completely sold out of three giant pots of stew when we arrived mid-afternoon. 

We met Abderahim, who has been slowly baking tangia, in ashes, for the community for 20 years. Our guide Reda, informed us that despite the influx of changes in Marrakech, he thought somethings should remain the same. 'You don't change your tailor, your hammam or your barber.' I appreciated the sentiment.

At dusk, we listened to the slow hypnotic chant of the call to prayer at the mosques surrounding Jemma el-Fanna square.

During this time, while eating my way through the square, I realised that the Marrakshis actually value the contradictory experiences of a sweet and slow lifestyle, despite the seemingly chaotic rush of life in the souks. 

I ate slow-cooked tangia and tegine, harira soup accompanied by the sweet chebakkiya. These dishes are a few of the many examples that illustrate how the Marrakshis like to appreciate the slow pace of life. 

My insight is confirmed by my new friend, Mohamed, who is our food guide for the evening. 'We like things sweet. Sugar in mint tea....dates... we call it the sweetness of life.' I dig it. 

We got immersed in Moroccan food when we enrolled ourselves in a cooking class taught by a local cook, Atika. She taught us how to make a typical Riad meal consisting of soup, salad, tagine and a dessert. I don't want to be biased, but it's really the best food experience we had on the trip.

Towards the end of our stay, I understood that - just like the city of Marrakech, simplicity underlies the complex flavours of Moroccan food.