By: Tanya Akehurst
Upon arriving at Marrakech airport, I was struck by how modern it was.
Having never been to Africa, I wasn’t sure what to expect – maybe being greeted by wildlife such as elephants and camels. I wish!
Nonetheless, I landed to ease. From customs to the exchange bureau where the gentleman spoke fantastic English, to the transportation- I was in awe. And to top it off, the locals were friendly and welcoming.
As we drove to our hotel, I noticed how the roads had no pavements; there were lots of baron wasteland, people herding sheep on the side of the roads, livestock hanging down from shops and people waiting around kiosks to buy their dinner.
It was a lively scene with lots to take in. From tradespeople proudly showcasing their handicrafts, to families on mopeds – this seemed to be a standard mode of transport in the city.
Upon arrival at the hotel, a very enthusiastic concierge took our luggage and directed us to our seats where mint tea was served; it’s a popular drink in Morocco and symbolised hospitality and friendship when offered.
Afterwards, we were taken to our rooms with stunning views of the infamous Atlas mountains and a lavish layering of snow, making the view even more spectacular.
The next day, I visited the infamous markets in Marrakech; the marketplace we had watched on many YouTube vlogs warning us of possible pickpocketing and animal encounters. However, this was mainly hearsay; shop owners encouraged us to buy their products be it silk scarves or a Manchester City football shirt. It was overall a very positive experience and I spent the rest of the day taking in the sounds of Imams calling people to prayer, the snake charmers’ flutes calling out to people from the stall holders and the sun setting.
Marrakesh struck me as a city rich in diversity especially when it came to fashion; the young people wearing designer clothing and using their branded smartphones.
Later on, I enjoyed having a discussion with locals on tattoos and body art. I learned it was frowned upon by the older generation, likewise piercing but the younger generation is trying to change the narrative and advocate it as a form of self-expression.
Ultimately, Marrakech is a city rich in culture and home to friendly people. I would not hesitate to return.