Last month I was in Marrakech, Morocco for a week to attend an international conference. This is my first time visiting Morocco, a country that was on my to-go list for a long time. I have a lot of expectations about Morocco and wished to see the country’s many famous cities: Casablanca, Fez, Chefchaouen, and Khaleesi’s Yunkai and Astapor… But in the end, I ended up spending all my time in Marrakech.
What is the reason? The heat. In July, the country is baked in an unbearable oven. When I first got off the plane, I find it difficult to breathe normally. To complicate matters, Iberia Airlines lost my luggage, so I have no clothes to change into but to wear my suit. My suit, on a 48 C/118 F day. Why would anybody even consider living in a city on the edge of the Sahara, where temperature regularly reaches into high 40s during summer? Aren’t they insane to claim that they love the city?
It took me a week to find the answers to these questions. You see, to avoid the heat during the day, almost nothing happens before sunset in Marrakech. The city seems completely out of life at the high noon. But once the sun sets, this Tatooine on Earth comes to a daily evening carnival. Locals cope with this hot life with uttermost optimism and happiness. Families with their kids play in the countless swimming pools dotted around the city. At midnight they host fancy picnics in the city’s main thoroughfares and gardens, in the shaded Souqs, in the cups of mint tea and ice cream cones.
The beautiful Medina (Old City) has stood in this land for thousands of years, and now more than ever its decorated houses and riads, numerous pompous ruins and palaces, crystal green gardens, and the smell of mixed spices and perfumes charm the travelers from near and far. It’s not a perfect city, but it surely is as fascinating and attractive as Venice or Milan, if you ask me.