Apart from my adventures in Sicily (more to come about that, I promise), this summer I also spent a week in Morocco so I’d like to dedicate this post to the delights of Marrakesh, a bustling city that never sleeps. Mind you, it takes a rather long nap during day time. Joke aside, Marrakesh has a lot to offer, so make sure you’re up for it.
First things first. Local customs. Be aware that these might considerably differ from what you are used to, especially when it comes to interaction with tourists. It didn’t bother me much, but I’ve noticed that not everyone is fond of eager and sometimes even pushy vendors. It can indeed cause a lot of frustration. So if you are confronted with it, I found it was best to politely say thank you and just walk away – even if said vendor follows you. Awkward. Despite this though, I experienced the locals as pleasantly chatty and friendly in most situations. Perhaps except when I was begging them to allow me to take a photo of their stalls. Very few were willing to let me do so. But then there were those kind people who offered it with a smile.
Another important issue to keep in mind is that Morocco is a Muslim country. Nothing special about that. However, this means that as a woman (and for that matter as a man), there are a few things you shouldn’t wear in public. The less revealing your outfit, the better. So, short pants and tops are a no-go. Anything showing too much skin is considered disrespectful.This doesn’t mean you won’t see tourists wearing practically nothing, but I suggest you don’t follow their practices. Wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs will not only spare you stern looks, but will also protect you from a sunburn. Win-win. I got myself a pair of linen trousers and a few long-sleeve tunics for Morocco and they served me well. Also, wearing a scarf in +45°C is not as bad as you might think. Whenever I was out, I almost always wore one, mostly to keep my brain from boiling – but I reckon it also showed respect towards the locals. Not to neglect the fact that it turned out to be the perfect accessory to cover my expensive-looking camera in dodgy alleyways.
Now about that day-time nap I mentioned. In summer, Marrakesh is most active in the evening and at night. The city and particularly Djemaa el-Fna, the main square, are bustling with life as the sun slowly sinks behind the horizon. During the day, especially between 11am and 4pm, the streets are practically empty. You only see a few confused tourists (like me, for example), trying to find some of the sights and being tricked into a tour to the tanneries they didn’t want (like me, for example), sweating off their pants in the heat (like me, for example). The reasonable locals and tourists who know Morocco has a tropical climate avoid being in the sun round noon (unlike me, for instance) and tend to stay in the cool shades of their home or beside the pool of their Riad (unlike me, for instance). But never mind that. Because the place is less crowed, it’s a great time to take pictures, especially if you’re not fond of strangers walking into your photos (like me, for example). Anything to get that shot.
Here’s a compilation of some of my favourite captures from Marrakesh.
I’ll be dedicating separate posts to some of sights soon, so stay tuned for more Moroccan magic ^^