Everyone needs a holiday every so often. Of course, that ‘holiday’ can come in many forms, but I guess the key theme is that of a break from the norm. To do something different, to relax, to turn up, and to unwind. A short holiday I had this year was to Marrakech, and asides from being a much needed break from the norm and break away from the stresses of work I was going through, it was the chance to explore somewhere completely different and new to what I ever have before. Though the trip was short, it ended up being somewhere that left an imprint on me – visually and culturally. I took a few shots on the short trip and have a few recommendations for anyone thinking to check our the Moroccan city.
We stayed in a resort just outside of Marrakech (in an area called La Palmeraie) after numerous recommendations to avoid the Riad’s of Marrakech if we’re after a relaxing holiday. While this meant we weren’t in the midst of all that Marrakech has to offer, it meant we could unwind, enjoy some sunshine and not be hassled by the market owners as soon as we walked out of the door. Our hotel offered free transport in to the bustling market area of Jemaa El Fnaa, meaning we could pop in to the markets fairly easily, and visit the typical tourist spots.
For food, you want to hit up Nomad. A beautiful restaurant in the heart of the souks (markets) serving delicious food and drinks and even has a rooftop with amazing views across the city. You then want to pop down and visit the markets where you’ll be hassled to buy things every 5 seconds. Literally, it’s non stop, but it’s all part of the experience. When you do get to find a quick break without having “good price!” shouted in your ear, visiting the main square of Jemaa El Fna will almost feel like a tranquil setting. When we visited, it was fairly quiet with tourists walking by (not something you see much of) and open space to wonder around. That is of course until you look at the snake charmers and get asked for money for looking at the dancing cobra.
It’s not all that frantic in Marrakech though, and I think the contrasting nature of what the city has to offer is what made me love my visit so much. The incredible gardens of Jardin Majorelle (YSL Gardens) and the grounds of Bahia Palace are peaceful, quiet and picturesque. There are lots more palaces and gardens to visit than those two, but it’s all we had time for on this trip. Both require a fee for entry, but it’s a small amount and well worth it once inside.
Marrakech is a beautiful place, and a cultural staple of Northern Africa. I couldn’t stop looking around everywhere we went. And while it was a holiday to relax, I still couldn’t help but pick up my camera and get some shots. Particularly in the gardens. The place is an explosion of textures and tones that are a photographers delight. I wish we had slightly longer there to visit the Atlas Mountains as I was told this provided incredible views, but maybe next time…