The birds chirping and the sounds of crickets are the only noises I hear, interrupted only by a lone passing car at this early morning hour. I am sitting with a breakfast of coffee and olives–an unusual mix that I am learning to love as it is apparently the norm here in Morocco. Although it is officially day three of my Topdeck Travel tour, I still can’t quite believe that I am now writing this post from North Africa in a country that has always held such mystique and promise for me.
Marrakech seems to live up to its reputation as a busy, loud, hot assault of the senses where you are confronted with phenomenal food, oppressive heat, colorful souks and exotic culture. If I am to be honest, it is my first time being in a country that differs so much from what I know back home. I have traveled through Europe, ventured around South America and yet these places were always familiar to me as I know the languages and could navigate around easily. But here, where I am reduced to using hand gestures and a mix of French and English to communicate, I am wonderfully outside my comfort zone.
Yesterday, I ventured to the medina (the old town of Marrakech) to explore the souks–a centuries old maze of shops and artisan crafts that seems endless and is all too easy to get lost in (I did). Deep blue indigo, mint tea, sweet chestnut smelling Argan oil; Morocco seems to revel in the simplistic and natural way of doing things. Ailments are cured with herbs and spices, beauty is done with paint from nature, food is cooked simply yet deliciously; the whole city seems to be a testament to that beautiful Italian saying of “il bel far niente” or the beauty of creating something out of nothing.
I am leaving Marrakech for Casablanca and Rabat in just a few minutes so am rushed to press “publish” on this post. As always my favorite part of travel is not knowing what tomorrow will hold and as I get ready to make my way to the next city, I am excited to see where the next few hours will take me. I once read that life begins where our comfort zones end and as I sit here by this blue and white mosaic table under palm trees and amidst the “clop clop” sounds of passing horse drawn carriages, I know that quote could not ring truer.
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*I visited Morocco as part of a complimentary tour with Topdeck Travel. The Pin the Map Project does not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage, as always all opinions & experiences expressed are my own.