“I believe that Marrakech ought to be earned as a destination. The journey is the preparation for the experience. Reaching it too fast derides it, makes it a little less easy to understand.” 
― Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights

Tahir Shah has a point there… The problem with the short flight from the UK to Marrakech is the lack of time to prepare yourself for the experience. I have travelled a lot and after reading about the souks of Marrakech felt more than ready to face them with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. I was excited about the photography but also about the experience of the city. I looked forward to wandering around in a bohemian fashion between street sellers and entertainers in Jamaa el Fna and I eagerly anticipated strolling past stalls of spices towering high. All of these experiences awaited me but alongside them came a host of other surprises, ones which I wish I had given more time to. More time to absorb all that this city has to offer. A weekend in Marrakech is not long enough but at the same time is more than enough. I found Marrakech a  wonderful, interesting, tiring and confusing city. After three days there I had only just begun to get a sense of the place and yet less than a week later I look back at a blur of colour and scents with little understanding of what I saw. I felt invigorated by a weekend away with my husband exploring and at the same time tired from the constant street banter and sales patter. 

One welcome respite in the city and in the surrounding hill villages was the chance to sample Moroccan food. I am a foodie and so always enjoy sampling cuisine in a place I have not been before. I also found the food stalls, shops and cafes were a real step away from the hustle-bustle of the streets. Locals would pause for conversation next to a butcher shop window, tourists would slump into chairs away from the crowds and those cooking and serving the food would be relaxed and generally cheery in their work. Food stops were like full stops as we marched around Marrakech. Little spaces in which to breathe. Also brilliant places to get some shots of life without the rush:

Butcher working by the light of some brightly strung bulbs.

Butcher working by the light of some brightly strung bulbs.

A serious butcher cuts meat ready for the constant stream of customers in the souk.

A serious butcher cuts meat ready for the constant stream of customers in the souk.

Many locals stop to chat at the various stalls and food shops around the souks.

Many locals stop to chat at the various stalls and food shops around the souks.

Jamaa el Fna is full of orange juice sellers at night.

Jamaa el Fna is full of orange juice sellers at night.

Tangine is a historically Berber dish from North Africa

Tagine is a historically Berber dish from North Africa

Tangine ready for sale in a mountainside town just thirty minutes outside of Marrakech.

Tagine ready for sale in a mountainside town just thirty minutes outside of Marrakech.