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  THE MAGIC OF MARRAKESH...


  I traveled back to Morocco recently
  after not having been there in many years. I've
  been fortunate enough in the past to see much
  of the country... the desert with incredible
  dunes... the rugged mountain ranges.
  But on this trip I took my daughter and my nine
  year old granddaughter to Marrakesh...
  my favorite “everything in one stop” adventure.
  It's wonderful to take a young traveler
  somewhere where you are definitely in a
  different world... somewhere that has a distinct
  character and personality with a truly
  ancient history.
  So off we went to the Kingdom of Morocco...
  the “Land of God” where 11th century Berber
  tribes left their culture and influences that
  are still there today.

We stayed at the La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakesh
which was completely renovated a few years ago.
The wonderful thing about it is that it has kept its
pure Moroccan style with­­­­ all the creature comforts that
we all are accustomed to.
However everything about it says “Old World Morocco”...
the beautifully tiled hallways, the graceful arches, the
hand carved wood accents. We felt like we were dropped
into a magnificent 18th century Moroccan painting.
I love that it was Winston Churchill's favorite place to stay.
It's where he was inspired to paint!
Locally you go to the Medina... the old fortified city that houses
the souk markets with many narrow and maze like streets.
The souk is a shoppers dream. Djemaa el Fna is the ancient
square in the center of Marrakesh... it is called the bridge
between the past and the present... where you can see
dancers, musicians, snake charmers, acrobats, and monkey
trainers. You will find all kinds of pottery, leather baskets, tons
of jewelry, interesting silver, furniture, and certainly wonderful
caftans called jalabas. You should definitely have a guide...
there is a tremendous amount of chatter and
bargaining with the vendors... it is part of their culture and
they expect it. I soon remembered the amusing pattern
to their bargaining and I enjoyed it. However, the people are
respectful and charming.
They are very happy with their King and
he obviously loves his people. Children
are loved by all and my granddaughter
received a little gift of affection wherever
we went... and my daughter who hadn't
been there in fifteen years was soon
planning her return trip.
By the way... the food is delicious... richly
spiced but not hot... and includes dates,
nutmeg, turmeric, cinnamon and chili.
Chicken tagine is a specialty... with lots of
lemons and olives... one of our favorites that I
make at home in the traditional Moroccan
terra-cotta tagine pot.
Be sure to visit the Jardin Majorelle...
the celebrated walled gardens that
became the oasis for French painter Jacques
Majorelle... he spent forty years planting an
eclectic garden and building his cobalt blue
Art Deco house. Now called the Majorelle
Blue... a vibrant hue that has an
amazing chalk like finish.
The property was rescued and restored by
Yves Saint Laurent in 1980. If you just go to
one museum type excursion I suggest this
one… there is a Berber museum...
and even a charming restaurant. The gift shop
is like no other with beautiful crafted items.
The exciting look of Jardin Majorelle
inspired me... I felt the creative eyes of Saint
Laurent looking down from above.
Three generations of women off on a
Moroccan adventure... trips into the
countryside, camel rides, exotic restaurants
and markets... swimming in the pool at night
under the palms... a wonderful time was had
by all... even up to the last late night dinner...
we were all sleepy heads...
and for my granddaughter truly a
“Magic Carpet Ride”!!!

 

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