We were so inspired that we created a Moroccan Dinner party when we returned.
A taxi negotiates a city of twinkling lights and illuminated palm trees standing proudly against a backdrop of a deep midnight blue sky. Traffic is heavy and enables us to glance in slow motion at the passing palaces, which resemble hotels and vice versa. Our driver scans the spectacle in such a way that it could be his last.
Charismatic, alluring, vibrant and intoxicating.
We meet at last, You are more than I imagined. Somewhere in the middle of this city our driver enters into an area where the lights are dimmed and we are transported back to a time which has stood unchanged for it has no reason to. We cannot go any further because we have arrived at one of the entrances to the Medina. This is Marrakesh’s original fortified citadel.
Dusty medieval walls wave down the side of the street to protect a secret you are enticed to discover. The driver pulls the taxi over to the entrance of a darkened alley. It is impossible to drive in, so we take our cases out of the trunk as he makes a phone call to our small hotel and advises them of our arrival. By the time our cases are on the path, a gentleman in a striped tunic who beckons us to follow him quickly, picks them up. We enter through the dimly lit archway and hurriedly follow him through a myriad of alleys into another time zone. Apprehensive? yes of course, we have no choice to as we are swept along with what borders an illusion, We keep up as he carries all of our belongings.
At a huge wooden door, we are openly greeted by Amel, the owner of the Riad we have booked for five nights, A Riad is a typical Moroccan house built within the walls of the ancient part of the city. They are usually a few stories high, have an open, ground floor courtyard and a fountain. Our Riad was charming and beautifully restored. That night, as we slept between crisp white linen sheets in our lantern lit room, we drifted into dreams of exploring the medina first thing after breakfast, I dreamt of magic carpets.
You wake up in the Medina to a sound of life. My friend, like a child about to embark on some great adventure, tucked into his French bread fried in egg, served with strong coffee and presented on typical Moroccan dishes, adorned with pretty Islamic designs. Everywhere and everything was decorated from the floor to the ceiling, curtains carpets and the furniture. It all flowed flirtatiously against the earth colours of Morocco.
The Medina was like nothing I had seen before, it housed The Souk the Moroccan term for market and we were bang smack in the middle of it. Tiny winding alleys and corners, each one enticing you to turn into another and explore. We ventured through this tempting maze, wondering if we would ever find our way back to the beginning. The Medina had captivated us and there was no escape,
Woodcarvers grinned smiles of missing teeth amongst piles of soft shaven wood and sawdust. through an aroma of cedar which filled the air, Leather traders and artisans busily set to, making bags cushions and coats, Perfume bottles stood proud on mirrored shelves next to incense burners and coloured glass, Silky tassels, of merging colours hung at different lengths in cubed kiosks and there were pots of every shape, size and colour, All handcrafted and decorated here. Carved boxes were displayed and stacked high taking pride of place. Metal lanterns and wall lights covered every available wall, where should we stop? I wanted to buy it all and take every piece home.
On entering a small clearing which formed a square surrounded by small houses, traders were displaying carpets and rugs from high windows, a couple of women were dancing as they held lengths of cloth and waved and jostled it in front of passers by. They grinned happily as if to say we are happy just dancing.
We lost ourselves in the cafe sipping delicious mint tea and watched the women dancing,, we watched the litter of kittens curled up on faded cushions waiting for a saucer of milk from the cafe and we watched the hustle and bustle of the people making the magic of the medina.
Carrying on with our exploration we eventually came to the Place Demaa El Fna, the main square in the medina. People criss crossed across the square amongst snake charmers, sorry my worst nightmare. I still did not want to escape. As time went on we decided to make our way back to the hotel to change and prepare for dinner. Back from the heavens of retail therapy we delighted at our little gifts we had bought and nibbled on rose flavoured Turkish delight we had bought from a vendor.
That evening the medina found another burst of energy and enticed us into its heart again as we walked through its dimly lit lure, the evening presented a different Medina. One million smiles and one million wishes.
When I arrived back home i decided to have a Moroccan night at La Gaia my home in Spain, Fully incensed by the style, decorating my place for a themed dinner party was enthralling. If you cannot get to Marrakech, bring it to you.
Have you ever had a Theme party when returning from somewhere because you have been so Inspired?
Marrakesh and Covid19. Please follow advice before booking travel.
My friend Sherri Lee Hales is an expert in Moroccan Cuisine. She did a fantastic job creating some tasty cuisine for our Moroccan evening. Check her out for some great recipes. Click Here
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