Weekend Notes: The Moroccan Experience
Although I haven’t traveled all over the world, out of all the places that I have visited, Morocco has a special place in my heart. I loved everything about it, from the crowed bazaars and noisy markets to the wild deserted areas. I was lucky enough to get to visit Marrakech and also get a glimpse of Casablanca (more from the air). I do enjoy going to European countries, but on the whole, it is quite the same experience, moreover since I live in Europe. You get used to the European vibe. Morocco provided a different kind of experience and that’s what I liked about it.
I have to say that I had my doubts before going there as I was about to leave without my parents. It was and still is my first trip to Africa and I was very excited about what I would find there and how my interaction with such a different culture would be like. But I loved it! It turned out to be a great experience. From getting to know more about their lifestyle, cuisine (I virtually drank in four days more mint tea than in my entire life), culture & traditions to visiting the old fortified city (medina) and riding camels, it was all a blast.
Here are some of my Moroccan memories:
Jardin Majorelle: Unfortunately I visited the Majorelle Garden quite in a hurry due to lack of time, but the famous majorelle blue is still stuck in my head. The Majorelle Garden is one of the twentieth century’s most mysterious gardens. It is a place of rare individual expression and mystical force. The garden is an overpowering abundance of vegetal shapes and forms representing five continents and reflects Jacques Majorelle’s significance as one of the most important plant collectors of all time. Jacques Majorelle’s garden is perhaps his greatest oeuvre,a true work of art that continues to capture, mesmerize and enrapture the visiting public. Since acquiring and restoring the property, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge have established a trust to ensure Majorelle Garden’s future existence. (information from the flyer I got from there)
Yves Saint Laurent had a key role in keeping the Majorelle Garden alive, his ashes being scattered in this beautiful garden after his death in 2008. Lots of Love posters and postcards are displayed at the museum. I really wanted to buy some postcards with such a positive and simple message, LOVE, but due to the lack of time and the numbers of girls queuing at the shop I gave up…
The bazaars are a great experience: from the multitude of spices wonderfully arranged in buckets, to the souvenirs, leather bags and carpets (lots of carpets). The key to get a good deal for anything, from a small pair of earrings to a jacket is HAGGLING. You must lower the price as much as you can since the seller always starts from a very very high price. There’s a sharp combination of smells coming from everywhere…the food, the leather, the workshops etc. It’s a lively place, very energetic. The marketplace is near the Kasbah Minaret, therefore you can hear the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer and watch them heading to the mosque.
Another impressive artistic aspect is the variety of colors and details used in the architecture and the design of the buildings. And I am mostly referring to the interior work. In Marrakech, most of the buildings are in a reddish brown color, because of the soil. It is one way to show respect for the poor ones. But the sometimes simple, unattractive facades hide opulent and impressive decorations. Thorough handmade carvings, ceramic floors, faience, paintings, sometimes all put together. Among the various details, you can see sayings in arab. I asked the guide, who was very nice, if he could translate what was written on the wall and he politely refused. I should’ve known the language…
Marrakech is like every town, built on contrasts. I got to see the cosmopolitan side of the town, but also the poor, the life of the city, but also the hard life of the villagers kilometers aways from the city.
I do want to go back and visit Casablanca properly, and Tanger as well.
All this memories came back when I saw these beautiful pictures by Jamie. You should check out all the pictures from her experience there and the stylish photoshoot that recreates the Moroccan atmosphere.