jueves, 6 de junio de 2013

... And this year like this!

Last year I spent the 2nd of May, bank holiday in Madrid, in London doing the usual. Visiting friends, having dinner in the places I love (having Tequila with my friend Charlie), walking around town, seeing for the thousand time my favorite museums or simply checking new interesting exhibitions, like the one that was all summer in Modern Tate from the contemporary artist Damien Hirst. As you can see by the amount of pictures in my previous post… same old, same old!

This year, on the other hand, I decided to explore new worlds. As close from Madrid as London is Marrakech, the capital from Morocco and a “must go” destination according to experienced world travelers. For me it was more like a complete new world just a couple of hours away.

From Madrid to Marrakech, Iberia flies with the same airplanes that it flies inside Spain (Air Nostrum, a branch from Iberia just for internal flights), but it couldn’t be more different. Not only the blue of the sky changes from Spain to Morocco, but everything… The houses, the clothes, the food, the music and, specially, the way of selling and buying (you have to negotiate the prices of everything, because if you don’t do it they get offended; even when you think the price is fair, you have to push the sales people a little bit into making it lower). Everything is so different!

If you’re planning on doing something similar, be sure you read a lot before you go and that you’re perfectly aware of the codes. And no, reading the Wallpaper guide won’t be enough to put you into context. Neither reading some hints and tips at the very last minut, before you go or even during the flight. If you’re on your way to Marrakech, be prepared to see and live something completely new.

The high moments of my 5 days escape were definitely the food (I had amazing cous-cous and desserts all the time; even in Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square from Marrakech, where you have food outside, in tents, the food was good). Also the hot mint tea that doesn’t feel hot at all, on the contrary, and that you are served everywhere, is very yummy! I was also amazed by the Majorelle Gardens, former house in the city of the couturier Yves Saint-Laurent and, before that, of the expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle, who invented a kind of blue (just like the Klein blue or the Bilbao blue, about which I told you in here) that is called the Majorelle blue and that now, after how amazing I found the contrast between the painted walls of the house and the green of the trees, the blue of the Moroccan sky and of the fountain water, it’s probably my favorite kind of blue. Finally I also recomend a visit to the Bahia Palace, with it’s colorful details in the walls, ceilings and floors, plus the beautiful doors about which I’ll tell you more in a different post.

Other things that you can’t see reflected in this pictures, like the Riad where we stayed, "So Cheap So Chic" (and this is not my description about it, it’s actually it’s name), and the Hammam I visited twice and from where I almost left skinless (Le Bains de Kabira) were also very recommendable.

But, on the other hand, I wasn’t impressed at all with the leather tanner places (for your own sake stay away from those and, specially, never never never let little boys take you around the Medina; get lost as much as you need to find your ways out of the maze that the Medina can be, but don’t trust anyone that wants to advice you or take you somewhere). In the first day we where lucky, because one of those young man took us to the jew neighborhood and we end up buying great stuff for very reasonable prices (in the jew neighborhood is not like inside the Medina, in here the prices are marked and you pay what you see) but the second day, trying to find our way to one of those leather tanner places, we accepted someone else’s “help” and were completely fooled. So, just in case, you better skip those leather tanner places… Another thing about which I felt completely fooled (again!) are the henna tatoos (forget about those as well!). The ladies in the main square that offer to do it (or, to be more precise, that steal your hand from inside your pockets and start painting them) guarantee that they will last at least a week. Well, mine lasted 2 days in perfect conditions, than it started fainting. And, you can also skip the Bali Palace or, as it’s own name suggests, the incomplete Palace. Do I have to explain it any further?!

And last but not least, something about which I’m still not sure how I feel is the selling and buying scheme. I mean, I know that the Moroccans have been business people (or traders) for a long time, but their insistence it’s too much for me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love to shop, but there’s too much stuff everywhere and too many people trying to literally pull you inside their shops all the time. Nevertheless I bought very interesting and cool stuff (half way between the traditional and the modern) that look perfect in my new flat. Talking about which… In the near future hopefully I can post some fish eye pictures from my new flat. I know that it is a bit narcissistic, but now that I have the best terrace in Madrid I just want to “share it” with the whole world. Meanwhile, enjoy Marrakech!

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