Wanderlust - A Strong Desire To Travel
An enchanting travel to Marrakesh or A visit to Marrakesh
To travel to Marrakesh is to experience one of the true jewels of North Africa. It is a land of profound historical and cultural importance. A land of endless diversity and constant surprises, a land of Islamic imperial grandeur and old-European elegance. Marrakesh is a country where the past and present live together in fascinating harmony. Marrakesh style is attainable yet exotic, Practical yet mysterious, and a little splash of it goes a long, long way.
Discovering Marrakesh Style
To live in Marrakesh style means to live in a world that is not easily apparent to the outside eyes. If you are lucky enough to penetrate beyond the heavy front doors of an upscale Marrakesh home, private sanctuaries of beauty filled with courtyards, domes, arches, and fountains await you. Surfaces are richly decorated, patterns abound, and color is everywhere.
A stone's throw away from Europe, Marrakesh is the jewel of north Africa. It is a sensation rarely forgotten by a traveler who passes through. The sun drenched sand dunes and picturesque blue and greens of the ocean linger in your memory for a very long time. Enter one of the bustling cities, and you are transported to a land of unique charms, awash with vibrant colors and oriental fragrances. The Berbers, Arabs, Jews, Spanish moors, French and Portuguese have all left their mark on Marrakesh, be it the cuisine, textiles, languages or the architecture. It is a place that still follows an ancient rhythm, one would be captivated by the warm culture, rich in traditions but modern in sensibility. Wandering through the winding cobblestone pathways in the bustling souks, you come across delicately crafted blue pottery clinking in the shelves, and mounds of spices that intoxicatingly scent the air. The enticing tapestry of the old and new just soothes your cares away.
As I enter the mysterious city of Fes, the magnificent architecture leaves me enthralled. It reflects both the traditional and colonial history of this exotic land. The Islamic roots are evident in the exquisitely elegant geometric designs and ornamental interiors of the raids, palaces, mosques and traditional homes. A strong Moorish influence can also be seen in the architecture and tastefully done up interiors.
Somewhere deep inside the labyrinthine streets of this city, so many stories are waiting to unfold. Soon it would all come to the fore. As I walk past a bakery, the aroma of honey drenched cookies and French pastries engulf me. And then, I see her. She is sitting in an ornamented courtyard shaded with palm fronds. Veiled behind the steam that rises from her teacup, the pretty eyes hold so much in their depths.
Water trickling from a little fountain in the center creates a calming sound. The exquisite walls lined with glazed zellige tiles look startlingly lovely against the azure-blue dome that rises in the backdrop. I linger for a few moments and then continue with my walk. An old man whose eyes crinkle in a friendly smile passes by. In the maze-like streets of the city, one can find so many delightful homes that take up your creativity. We have drawn abundantly from the elegantly mysterious element of Marrakesh architecture for our designs.
Many of the interesting things to do and see in Marrakesh can be found in Medina or the "Old city". Intricately patterned carpets hang from the roofs of the shops. Seeing the carpet weavers magically create beautiful designs is an enriching experience. The carpet sellers lay out the pieces before you, and explain the story and history behind each carpet that catches your fancy. This is a land of delightful storytelling traditions and beautiful rhythms. Marrakesh are the friendliest people one would ever meet. They're always eager to welcome you into their homes for a warm meal with their family. Blessed with a great sense of humor, they love to have a laugh or share a good-natured joke with you.
I walk past a lantern workshop where the artisan is hammering intricate patterns with his hand. It fascinates me so much that I stop to have a chat with him. Come sit with me and have a cup of tea, said the shop owner. For these warm people drinking tea is a way of life. Making Marrakesh tea is an art one learns with time. Drinking tea together is an invitation to take part in an important facet of the culture, a ritual that is meant to be savored and enjoyed slowly. By the time I finished a second cup of the fragrant brew, it was dark outside, and I'd developed a great bond with this wonderful man over a simple pot of mint tea. I had also learned quite a few things about the art of lantern making.
The next morning I set off for my journey towards the picture book villages untouched by modern age, nestled in the magnificent Atlas mountains. It cuts across the middle of the country, and is a paradise for trekkers. One would come across herds of sheep, children playing football, men and women tilling their small patches of land, and riots of cherry and apple blossoms.
A rock by the trail is emblazoned in crimson. The symbol feather-brushed on it looks like a man reaching towards the sky. I asked my local guide the meaning of the mysterious symbol. "It stands for freedom," he tells me. On further inquiry I came to know that it is the Berber people's flag. The new day descends over the horizon in a bright vermilion blaze, illuminating the mountain peaks in a mystical glow.
My last days in Marrakesh are a whirlwind of activity. The Berber guide's words keep coming back to me. Freedom for him was to have time for himself, for friends and for his family. It is all about moments and not things, a way of being. One can learn a lot about the true essence of freedom from the Berbers of Marrakesh.
That night we sat in the stillness beneath a starry sky, sipping a sweet, warm drink and contemplating life. What I will carry back with me are fond memories of this beautiful country, reminiscences of Marrakesh hospitality at its very best, the rich culture and traditions that one won't soon forget.
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