Six Years, In the Desert

Initially that title read "Six Years in the Desert" - but that would be an enormous misnomer.  It's really been a lovely oasis.  What am I talking about?  Six terrific years of marriage - each more exciting and less forseen than the last :)

We decided, months and months ago actually, to spend our anniversary in Marrakesh - a lovely city perched at the base of the Atlas mountains. (And across a desertish landscape from Casa.  Hence the title.)  It has a long history in the region as one of the former imperial cities and a crossroads for the Berbers of the Atlas mountains and the Arabs of the plains and ruling cities found in the west.  It is sometimes referred to as the "Red City" - the walls of the medina, made from the local iron rich soil, form a lovely maze of salmon colored walls.

Despite offering all of the delights of modern hedonism - gambling, alcohol, belly dancing, luxury hotels and thrumping night clubs, Marrakesh has a lot to offer if those things aren't really your things (as they are not ours). Marrakesh is home to the largest square in all of Africa and what many argue is the most perfectly proportioned, most exquisite mineret in North Africa found at the Kutubia Mosque.

I was nervous that I would find Marrakesh over commercialized and cynical in its approach to local culture and tourism but I found just the opposite to be the case.  We went in the dead of summer which usually spells disaster.  Temperatures over 100 degrees are very common through the summer months.  However, in what can only be called an anniversary miracle, the temperature lingered around 80 degrees for most of our time in Marrakesh.  But anyway, the summer is the low season for this reason, and there weren't a lot of other tourists.  But the main square was still PACKED.  As I looked around I realized it wasn't misplaced tourists with sunburned noses like myself surrounding the snake charmers and henna tattooers in the square - it was local teenagers out with their friends and young families with children in strollers.  Perhaps that's what keeps Jamaa El-Fnaa so vibrant.  It's not just a space for local entertainers to free tourists of their change, but a square to meet and mingle for locals as well.  It is a terrific public space.  But more on that later.   For now, a few pictures of the highlights with details to follow.       
Ben Yousseff Medersa
Food Stalls at Jamaa el-Fnaa
Friendly Gembri Player
Best. Grapefruit. Juice. Ever.
Small Atlas Mountain Berber village
Berber Tagine.  Holy Smokes. 
Toubkal - the highest mountain in North Africa
Berber village above an empty waadi (river bed)


  1. I love your pictures! Also. Please mail me some tagine. Thanks. :)

  2. Lovely pics. Happy Anniversary!

  3. Congrats on your anniversary fun and I love the picutres! I loved the ones on facebook too--I can't imagine all the people in the square. Love ya!

  4. Photos are gorgeous! Happy anniversary. Eager to make it up to that part of the world some day.