Part 2: Off to Marrakech

At the beginning of 2008 Bernhard told me that we will fly to Morocco in a few weeks because this is a new flight route of our airline. Ok, I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed at first, because I didn’t even know where this “Morocco” was located. So we had to use a search engine to find out that we will fly to Africa.

At the end of February 2008, the time had come.

The flight took a little longer than 3 hours and we were already at the airport in Marrakech.

Luckily, we were picked up at the airport by our host Christian and escorted through the medina of Marrakech to our accommodation.

I was first completely overwhelmed by all the colors, smells, noise and the hustle and bustle in the alleys and squares that we crossed in quick steps.

Our luggage was in a handcart and was nimbly carried through the crowd by its owner. At some point, both the owner and the handcart with our luggage were no longer to be seen and in Bernhard and me a slight panic rose whether we would ever meet our luggage again.

But when we arrived at the accommodation a few minutes later, our luggage was already standing next to a large lemon tree in the delightful courtyard of the riad in which we had rented a room.

Here, too, my breath was taken away because I had never seen such a beautiful courtyard with lemon and tangerine trees before. There was also a small fountain bubbling away and birds chirping in the trees. We were led to our room to freshen up a bit and then had our first Moroccan mint tea with lots of sugar. Mmmm, it was delicious and let me relax a bit and arrive at the new accommodation.

After we had enjoyed our Berber whiskey, the fragrant mint tea with lots of foam, we went back out the door and towards the souk (the market, which is more comparable to a bazaar). Christian led us skillfully through the narrow streets, in between we had to jump aside because a moped or donkey cart also pushed through the agitated crowd and of course wanted to get to the destination faster than we pedestrians.

My eyes, ears and nose were again tirelessly at work, because there were so many colors, motifs, smells, sometimes fragrant, sometimes smelly and an inexhaustible babble of voices to discover.

Once in the souk, Christian explained to us that the goods are divided into different areas. For example, there is a section for fabrics, one for leather goods, one for iron, and so on.

Christian knew many of the dealers and always had a chat with one or the other on the way. I was often grabbed by the arm to be dragged into a store, but both Bernhard and Christian always quickly freed me from my predicament.

In the wood area, Christian introduced us to a merchant who turned beautiful sculptures and utensils with his feet. Bernhard and I were very impressed with his skills and were even given a keychain, made in a few minutes.

On the next two days we dared then alone in the hustle and bustle of the souk and also explored on their own the city and especially the Djemaa el-Fna, the place of jugglers, snake charmers, somersaulting Berber monkeys, open-air dentists and many more. We also found lovely cafes with gorgeous rooftop terraces from which we could observe the hustle and bustle of Marrakech from a safe distance. It was still very exciting and we had many new impressions to process.

On the fourth day, Christian asked me at breakfast how I liked Morocco. My answer was: “Well, it is very unusual and interesting, but since Bernhard and I work at the school outside of the vacations, we don’t really like noise and constant sprinkling during the vacations. Now that was quite nice but I don’t think I’ll come to Morocco again.”

Christian said that he would organize a cab driver for the next day who would take us to the sea in Essaouira.

Djemaa el-Fna, square of the jugglers
Spices in the souk
Continue here to the 3rd part

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