Hanging out in the medina of Marrakech can feel like heaven to lots of people and it can be overwhelming in such a powerful way for others that it can resemble hell.
I have had over the years tourists arriving in my little boutique in Mouassine : Sun stroke , red faced and out of breath looking for directions and really lost in the labyrinths of Derbs . Under their polite manners their faces scream “Get me out of here please !”
For others it is home from home : They embrace the chaos , the noise, the colours with such gusto. They are revived and inspired by the old city .
Which one are you?
You can taylor your visit to the Medina and make your stay in Marrakech a hassle free zone .
Here is how:
Choose to stay in the lovely Palmeraie on the outskirt of town- just 20 min from the medina -in one of its numerous hotels .
Refreshing pools and big gardens for a relaxing stay and then visit the medina for few hours or more following how you feel about it .
Or stay in the Atlas Mountains for those breathtaking views and sens of calmness and peace .
Nothing screams more Morocco to me than the Atlas Mountains .
The Medina will always be less than an hour drive and an afternoon lunch plus shopping expedition to the ancient city can do the trick .
I love the medina and hate it in equal measure !
I work there everyday : My workshop ( where all the Hanout Boutique clothes are made ) is there as well as my three boutiques .
It does inspire me and brings me a joyful sens of self on a daily basis .
But the lack of parking ( I have contemplated quiet seriously buying a motorbike ) and the high level of energies can be be very tiring .
I do love ( and miss when away ) meeting a number of those colourful characters that populate the medina .
From the scary looking lady beggar that demands money with a loud voice and not a hint of a smile- she will go without a fuss if you decide not give her anything harmless after all!- to the Djellaba wearing lady that is a fixture in Riad Zitoun area, well known she have made herself the one to go to for any job requiring moving around in a moppet .
I admire her for having made a place for herself among the mostly men wanado’s that hang out in the area .
The colourful set of Kourissa ( or carts ) pulling guys - as no cars can go inside the medina they are the ones who will bring your shopping or your suitcases to the depth of the medina alleyways -who spend their time wile waiting for their next customer laying on their carts half a sleep or if awake sipping mint tea and smoking long Moroccan pipes .
In my Mouassine shop I am always aware of the -at least - 5 men forever there sitting on chairs on the other side of my shop .
Some enthusiastic lady shopper might take off her clothes in the middle of my tiny shop not waiting for her turn in the changing room . Those ladies in their underwear or bikinis make the day of my friendly male crowd on the other side of the street !
The layers of this richly diverse community criss cross paths in the dusty Derbs and the result is one interesting loveable ( or not !) scenery worth discovering .