Back in February my boyfriend and I packed up and went on a very spur-of-the-moment, unplanned trip to Morocco. All we knew was where we would spend our first two nights in Marrakech (we splashed out and stayed at the gorgeous Dar Akal, and then Riad Mirage) and that we wanted to drive around the country and see as much as we possibly could in one week. We traveled light so that we could bring back mementos; I had my heart set on picking up hammam towels and hand-woven scarves, while my mister was looking out for Berber rugs made in the High Atlas.
Our time in Marrakech was mostly spent getting terrifyingly lost in the souks (markets) and in The Medina north of the Djemaa el-Fna. Within five minutes of driving our rental car out of the airport I'd seen a man holding a baby in one hand and his mobile phone in the other as he rode his motorbike down the street. I saw camels and monkeys and cobras. The city is a tightly packed, loud, fast and bright metropolis, equal parts dirty and dazzling. Stalls laden with crystals, glimmering teapots, dates, fresh fruit and fresh flatbreads line almost every side street, like naturally occurring outcrops from the desert of the city's red clay framework. Finding food was never difficult, even as a vegan; we gorged on 5 dirham smoothies, vegetable cous cous, and tagine. The mornings in February are temperate and soft, and every morning we ate our breakfast in the sunshine, listening to the fountains and the cock crowing. By the afternoon the rain would sweep in. On our first full day there, we got caught in a storm while shopping in the medina, and I had to run for patches of shelter as the call to prayer rose up and people laid their mats out to worship in the streams of the street. After that we learned to start our adventures early, and find cover for lunch. At night we would return to our riad and get clean together in our deep, marble bath, and plan our journey to the mountains.