It is exactly 10 years ago that I first landed in Marrakech. I remember the soft, warm wind welcoming me walking down the airplane stairs. It was in May, it was hot and I immediately felt welcome in the chaos that waited for me at the customs. Arriving to the red city at sundowner time is still giving me goosebumps. The light is just mysterious yet warm and embracing.
Getting Lost in the Medina
I fell in love with so many places that it is really hard to pick one – and maybe there isn’t. The magic of Marrakech, a major city of the Kingdom of Morocco, lies in “not being at one place”, it is about “getting lost” in the labyrinth of the Medina, the old part of the city. You just walk and stop worrying about place and time, you are mesmerised by the people, the colours, the sounds, the flavours in the air.
Sometimes you have to watch your head as Moroccans like to build houses over the streets. Sometimes people start watching you walking in a direction in this funny way, and then finally you realise –it is a dead end and you go back and see the laughing faces. And sometimes they invite you then for a tea and you get to see the real life. These moments of discovery are full of joy, hospitality and friendliness! Or you find a beautiful place to stop and take a tea (find recommendations at the end).
The sensuality of this city is breathtaking. I have never felt my senses used and challenged more than here. The light is different – in (the) winter it is very bright and crisp – in summer it is dusty, filthy and warm. The colours explode in your eyes. The sounds of the city of drums, talking and the Muezzins singing mix in your ears to become one big soundbite. It is fascinating and tiring at the same time. The sensual input has to have room for digestion – and this is what we wanted to create with the Riad Anayela – our place of inspiration in the middle of the Medina. It is a calm refuge, that lets your senses relax and your mind spin!
Escaping the Buzz into the Calm
Last but not least, one of my favourite things to do in Marrakech after some days of intensity is leaving it and going towards the Atlas mountains. The nature is diverse and much greener than you would expect. The reddish soil creates amazing images contrasting with the blue sky and the green valleys. Most villages are still built the traditional way. They call them “villages cachés” (hidden villages) because they consist of the earth and hardly spotted from far. Sometimes the first thing you see is the bright dresses of the women as small dots in the mountains. You find them sitting together, chatting and making beautiful carpets along the way. The ABURY Foundation village Douar Anzal is about 1 ½ hours outside of Marrakesh – no mobile net, no internet access – just the beauty of the mountains.
Don’t Miss these Places in Marrakech
Marrakech and its surroundings are a place full of wonders, and when you believe in them, they will happen. I highly recommend everyone a trip to what feels like my second home. If you are there, make sure not to miss the following places that will put a spell on you:
- Firstly, to enjoy one of those Moroccan teas: Café des Epices
- To learn about the fascinating culture: Heritage Museum and La Maison de la Photographie
- To sleep in a place of inspiration in the middle of the Medina: Riad Anayela
- And lastly, to find yourself in the middle of the true magic of Moroccan nature: Kasbah Toubkal