27. September 2013 10:17
By Tim Cleary
The shape of my journey was a loop. The good thing about loops is that you begin in one place and return to it later, allowing you to experience your start point and end point - the same place - as a resolution in your mind, a lesson in experience.
My lesson began and ended in Tangier, fabled Moroccan city, known to many as the adoptive home of Paul Bowles and other members of the Beat Generation. I had wanted to travel to Morocco ever since I met warm-hearted Moroccan immigrants who had served me lamb tagine, couscous and mint tea when I was living in France. I had also become obsessed with Berbers, the indigenous population of North Africa. And, since Algeria was still a little risky following civil war and brutal killings since the 1990s, Morocco was the best place to go in order to meet them - other than Paris, Marseille and Lyon, of course.
Tangier is a Berber city to the core since many Tanjawis have their roots in the nearby Rifmountains, home to Riffian Berbers and Tarifit, the local form of the Berber language. I expected this port to be as welcoming as the low-lying, comfortable divan in the front room of the Ababou family home inFrance, where I had been waited upon like a reclining pasha.More...
24. May 2010 11:14
Despite having a good map it wasn’t until my third day in Marrakesh that I managed to navigate my way purposefully and accurately through the maze of alleys in the souks to reach everyone’s primary and ultimate destination - the Jemaa el Fna square. But of course that’s the point of the souks – to lose your sense of order as well as direction, to give yourself up to the claustrophobic sensuality and vibrancy of the markets. If you really want to know where you are, the map More...
4. April 2007 10:55
Marrakech – the streets have no name, the maps are a picture of noodle soup and the whole city is an assault on all the senses.
Single-serving friends pop up around every corner and yet it seems that round the next bend there’s danger lurking.
Moustafa, a teenager in a dusty, orange tracksuit, complete with a single yellow toothy grin found me by the Marché des Épice. Here, spice sellers congregate to the rumble of mopeds and twittering birdsong. In the centre of the square traders pile their stock in tall neat stacks, careful to keep them inside their designated zone marked with yellow More...
1. September 2005 10:52
For those wanting a city break with a little more spice Marrakech is perfect. It is a vibrant, tantalizing blend of North African, Middle Eastern and European cultures which arouses all the senses. Stroll through the souqs to find craftsmen making traditional silver jewellery, ornate leather slippers and wooden toys. Then for the brave (and carnivorous) tourist, a visit to the traditional street tanneries to see animal skins drying in the scorching sun is a must (if you can stand the smell!). More...
1. March 2003 11:11
I had never been to Africa before, and the prospect of arriving in Marrakech, at night, after a brief stop at Casablanca, was thrilling. The airport is hardly luxurious, and before long the dry heat began to make itself felt as we waited in line to have our passport stamped. We were almost the last of our party to leave the airport, and it seemed to shut down around us, the frenetic activity caused by the plane load of tourists dissipating away.
The journey from the airport to the hotel was ridiculousy romantic as More...