Marrakesh, Morocco #travelfeels

The walled city
welcomes me
through narrow passages
big ornate wooden doors
and so many colours.

Donkeys pulling cargo,
old women on motorcycles
children running and playing,
everything felt so alive
and fluid.
The smells
of ripe strawberries with the sun hitting them
fresh meat being butchered
briney mounds of olives
charcoal grilling lamb
bread out of an oven
Camel
fermented butter
and mint tea with honey.

The colours of the walls
of the earth,
heavily pigmented complex woven art
and so many treasures
made by hand,
hammered steel,
cobbled shoes,
tanned hides for fine leather goods,
carved and ornamented wooden furniture
blown glass
and thrown clay cooking vessels.

I wandered from the riad I slept in
through streets with no names,
calling attention to myself
as a tourist, deciphering the lines
on Google Maps in the souks
to get home, sometimes after dark.

The pandemonium
and excitement of Jemaa el-Fnaa
of drums beating,
ancient story performances,
snakes and monkeys,
Berber fortune-tellers,
immigrants from North and Western Africa
selling wares from the ground
and catching attention of passersby,
Argan oil,
ras el hanout,
candied fruits
and freshly squeezed juices.
Flower waters in sweets,
almond paste pastries,
balanced rabbit tagine
baked eggs
snail soup
harira with chebakia and dates.

Fabrics,
nuts,
spices,
so many sounds,
sensory
flooding.

Ben Youssef Madrasa,
palaces,
cemeteries,
tombs,
gardens,
the Call to Prayer,
ramadan.

Watching the storks build their nest from
the restaurant,
perched above the city
and pondering in awe
of how beautiful and special this place is
and the richness of history
and culture that has occurred over such time.
The architecture
and details in everything
are really something that needs to be experienced
in real life because the beauty
is visceral.

Oh how I miss the tagine bread, khobz,
the harissa,
the lentil soup and marinated olives,
lovely breakfasts of apricot preserves
tart yoghurt, flower honey
M’semen and baghrir,
pigeon B’stilla,
mechoui,
eggplant zaalouk
and the day I was leaving
I was lucky to stumble upon
an institution pouring the melt-in-your-mouth
tangia,
I still remember how it tasted like it was yesterday.

Hammam with bathing
and oils,
steam.
Hand-painted pottery
and spices being blended into aromatic and potent
custom packages.
Watching the sunset in the square,
I felt like I had gone back in time,
as the gates closed to the city in the souks
and I made my way home
with a full belly,
I fell in love with a city I knew not much about
and couldn’t wait to return to.

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