Generally speaking, travelling is about discovery… but it can also be an escape. And last month, when I hopped a budget flight to Morocco, it was definitely the latter. I was adamantly escaping Christmas and all of its jingle-bell accoutrements. And what better place to dodge the flying tinsel and faux-religious sentiment than the gloriously balmy, terracotta-hued, devotedly-Islamic city of Marrakech? This was my second visit and I knew it would be the most appropriate place to hide out the festive season. December 25th was spent strolling through Djemaa El Fna, listening to that spine-tingling warble of the snake-charmers’ flutes, the roar of motorbikes and the tassle-hatted water-sellers jangling their brass mugs; shopping for brightly-coloured trinkets in Ensemble Artisanal; eating chicken pastilla at my favourite the little dive café; and soaking up the deep blues and leafy shadows of the incredible Majorelle Gardens. The date on the calendar was insignificant – and that was exactly how I’d wanted it. The next morning, instead of wrestling with Boxing Day sales I was haggling in the souks, talking ras-el-hanout with a proud young spice-seller named Ayoub, and ended the day drinking mint tea on the rooftop of Café de France in the blazing mid-afternoon sun. My accomplice on this trip was a friend who was born on December 24th; she was, quite understandably, escaping the curse of a Christmas Eve birthday. So there we were, two festive fugitives living it up in the Red City. But I not only felt the freedom of escape; there was the added joy of rediscovering this magical place all over again. You can’t ‘do’ this city. From the moment you’re woken by the hypnotic call to prayer, to sun down, when you tear into bread and fried sardines at the night market, you are a part of the rhythm of Marrakech. That is a truth you cannot escape, and one you must definitely discover for yourself.

[Click here for my favourite places in Marrakech]

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2 Comment

  1. What a great post – I haven’t been to Morocco (yet) which feels silly to me since it is so close. But you’ve made me want to jump on a plane to escape the grey London winter. Can’t wait to be immersed in the sounds, smells & colours one day.

  2. […] This trip to Morocco […]

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