Monday, July 09, 2012

Memories of Morocco

Traveling to the North of Africa, I didn't know what to expect. Coming from the same continent, I assumed it would be similar to South Africa, with all our tall skyscrapers, urbane sidewalks, modern cities and general mall-hopping culture. Well, I was in for a culture shock. Morocco is a country built upon a compelling history, where the opulent buildings and ancient avenues of the past still stand as it did centuries ago. Chaotic city streets, traffic jams made up of motorcycles and horse carriages, and tiny alley way markets where you can buy everything from your daily fruit and veg, freshly baked pastries to baby clothes, wedding decor, copper pots and pans or even a new sofa. An exotic explosion to the senses, I was immersed in the captivating customs, tantalizing food, rich heritage and diverse landscapes: sandy deserts on one side, the vast Atlantic ocean on the other and spirited old cities everywhere in between. These are some photos I captured on my recent trip there.

The Royal Palace in Fes, Dar el Makhzen, is still used as the King's residence when he visits the city. It provides a great example of the ornate architectural design that is prominent in Morocco. It's well worth a view just to see those grandiose golden doors up close.

A birds-eye view over the cream and beige Imperial city of Fes, a maze of over 9000 narrow streets, each one looking remarkably similar to the last, this is one place you do not want to get lost in! Legend has it that a tourist once went missing in the labyrinthine medina (old city) and only found his way out 3 months later...with a new wife in tow.


1. The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, which is the third largest in the world. 2. You can stop by for a drink at Rick's Cafe, the hub made famous in the movie, 'Casablanca'. 3. Our hotel overlooking the city of Rabat. 4. Laying sight upon the red stoned minaret of Koutoubia is a sure sign that we had reached Marrakech. 5. A lavishly dressed guard keeps a look-out at a Mausoleum of a former King in Rabat.
The famous Jemaa el-Fna Square in Marrakech comes alive as the sun sets. This exuberant souk is where you will find snake charmers, folk dancers, tarot-card readers, music-makers, astrologists, herbalists & traditional healers. Seeing it on the Travel Channel and actually being there in the pandemonian are two completely different things. The market has an electric vibe, teeming with locals & tourists, eager to catch a glance of one of the 'professional posers' or have a taste of the inviting native cuisine from one of the countless food stalls. You can also shop for uniquely Moroccan souvenirs like a fez (the hat, not the city;), fragrant spices, argan hair oil at half the price, antique silver teapots & a Djellaba kaftan.


The vibrant culture, art and colours of Morocco. We spent time in the vast medina browsing for quaint antiquities and exquisite handwoven Persian rugs, one of which will set you back over €4000. One of the most memorable evenings was spent in an ancient riad-turned-guesthouse, where we served a delicious tagine and entertained by the sashaying moves of belly dancers to the ethnic sounds of folk singers dressed in traditional garb.

Red sands and a forest of greenery pave the Ulrika Valley, a place that the Berber villagers call home amidst the Atlas Mountains.


*All photos taken by me.


41 comments:

Roberta said...

Morocco is awesome!
Have a great week!
www.robertascoolestplaces.blogspot.com

danielle p. said...

wow, this looks like a fantastic trip! beautiful photos!

Style, She Wrote said...

What an amazing city! I would love to visit. The architecture looks incredible. xo style, she wrote

hope in high heels said...

Sam - it looks wonderful. That view over Fez is amazing (and the story that went along with it made me laugh out loud!). Those golden doors are incredible and the medina and riad... I almost felt like I was there with your description of them and photos. Definitely on my to-visit list.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Rahul Bhatia said...

A lovely post Sam about the mystic beauty of Morocco! Would have loved a video of belly dance:)

BROKEN.WHIMSY said...

Wow, I've been to neither places but these piccies of North Africa are simply beautiful. Someday I WILL travel the African continent and Im sure itll be as scenic as it seems yours has been hun.

Eeli

Anna said...

Not only was this post a feast for my eyes as I could share all your experiences through your amazing photos, but a feast for my mind as well as your words to explain the city were so thought out. Getting to a souk in Morocco is one of my things on my bucket list so how amazing you have gotten to experience that! Hope you had a lovely weekend Sam x

Anna xo
http://www.lifesshinyprettythings.blogspot.com.au/

The Chic Sheet said...

What beautiful photos!

XX,
Miranda

Ember Drake said...

Beautiful photos and your descriptions of the places you've visited really bring them to life - you're a great writer! The architecture of the Royal Palace is just stunning and I love the story of the missing tourist in Fes :-) lol

Em
x

http://emberdrake.blogspot.co.uk

Rainbow Gatherer said...

I wish I was in Morocco at the moment,I really need a holiday =)

fluff and fripperies said...

Amazing photos Sam - I would love to go to Morocco one day!

Sootjeelina said...

Amazing pictures! I want to visit Morocco so bad

xoxo Sootjeelina

A serious fashion addict said...

Wow amazing pictures!!! I'm going to morocco too!;)

nicole said...

Hi Sam!
So glad you are home safe and sound! I've always wanted to go to Morocco :) Lovely photographs!
xxx

Pratishtha Durga said...

Such beautiful pictures!!! Morocco is stunning. Thank you so much for sharing these...

Lilli said...

Hi Sam! what an awesome place! I've enjoyed to see the photos, make me want to be there too!:) Kisses dear and have a good monday!

Dana said...

Beautiful pictures! This is one of the many places I hope to see one of these days!
Very poignant observation of the differences between two places on opposite points of the continent!

http://danaslookbook.blogspot.com/

Dana

Josie said...

Oh wow, it looks absolutely stunning! I'm glad you had a great time.
We're supposed to be having summer in England but the weather is more like winter! No fair. xxx

Fashion-Bridge said...

I'm dreaming about going to Morocco once! You write fantastically about it! It seems for me to be a land of colours and beauty!

Xx

Alexandra

www.fashion-bridge.blogspot.com

Isa said...

Hi Sam! I can't believe that you commented on my blog, it's like a little dream come true :) Thank you so much for your kind words!!

I've seen a documentary about the Jemaa el-Fna Square on tv, but just seeing the picture makes me think of a thousand spices I'd like to buy there one day!

Daniella said...

These photos are beautiful Sam! Morroco looks like such a beautiful place and full of stunning buildings. You must of felt so inspired when you were there! Hope you had a lovely weekend sweetie :)

Take care, Daniella xox

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

You lucky thing - it sounded like an amazing experience! I'd love to visit some day and eat and shop!

xoxo,
Chic 'n Cheap Living

bhakti said...

Beautiful,,, gorgeous, Morroco, is amazing ,,, i want to soo go to Marrakesh,,, amazing market full of myriad shopping and it is sooo lovely... awesome ... lovely snaps

xoxo
bhakti

new post up

http://bhakti-pinkandeverythingthatgirlswant.blogspot.in/

Denise said...

It's amazing! I always wanted to go to Morocco, but I don't want to go there alone, so up to now as I didn;t find any company to go, I didn't :(
But it's on my list! It's amazing that you went there, and I will take notes, your suggestions were really good! Thanks for writing about it!

Mandy@OrangeAutumn said...

It looks like a wonderful place!! The culture, colors, activity.. I want to go!! Great pictures!

Jayme and Mendi said...

WOW!! You have gotten to see some beautiful and interesting places!! I'd love to go there!!

Jayme @ Her Late Night Cravings

GlamFabChameleon said...

GORGEOUS!!! This is my dream place, it's on my traveling wishlist and everybody around me know that!:) Beautiful pics my dearest Sam!!!!
Sending you many kisses and hugs!!

Lisa said...

wow! its so beautiful! i've never been to marocco in my life but when i see this.. hihi (:

Oh to Be a Muse said...

you got some really great angles on these photos--very beautiful. Love the ornate designs and the views.

Zoe ConcepciĆ³n said...

What beautiful pictures I want to go there sometime.....
By the way dear, can you make me a favor?
Can you please visit my blog and click the first link you see in the first post???I want to generate some traffic for a thing!!!!
thanksssss!
xoxo

Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou said...

What a fabulous adventure and it makes me want to go! Love the glow of the booths in the Square in Marrakesh! Thanks for sharing the fabulous pics and I hope you're having a marvelous summer!

Illustrator Sandy M
http://oohlafroufrou.blogspot.com
This Week: "And the Forecast is ... Popsicles!"

indie by heart said...

I've never been to Africa, but I suppose all the different countries may be as different from each other as European ones..? :) And South Africa is definitely different from all the others, with sky scrapers and such..


Satu
Indie by heart

KayEm said...

What a rich and varied landscape. I used to know a Moroccan couple who spoke French like natives. My curiosity is piqued. Would love to visit.

Adeola Naomi said...

WOOOOW!!! Considering am also from the same continent, I never expect these kind of beauty will have to plan a trip around Africa very soon.
Great pictures and beauty dearie.
Have a wonderful and blessed week Sam!

Fashion Tales said...

I've always been fascinated by Morocco, it's on one of my top places to visit, that and Nepal! :) Thanks for sharing this post.

Kim (A Very Sweet Blog) said...

It is absolutely gorgeous!!!
http://www.averysweetblog.com/

Vanisha @ Vanishas Life In...Australia said...

Such beautiful pictures Sam! I wish I were enjoying some of that weather. Thank you for my daily dose of wanderlust :) xoxox

Jenna Hughes said...

looks amazing!

http://underthefluorescents.blogspot.com/

Fictitious Fashion said...

wowwwwwwwwwww.. what breathtaking pictures! Love the beautiful city :) Who wouldn't enjoy here! :D

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Rikki said...

lovely pictures! i have a dream of visiting Marakesh one day:)

fox fur collar leather jacket said...

I love those kind of city, full of memory and when i have any chance i'll go they to have a trip!