In 2012 I was blessed enough to take part in a World Challenge expedition to Morocco with a group of people from my high school. We went for two weeks towards the end of March, hoping to fulfil our goal of refurbishing and painting an old school in a beautiful Berber village. Continue reading
The Moroccan medina is one of constant wonder and charm. Around every corner there is someone or something to be seen. Be it an old and friendly local sat selling enormous bunches of the freshest, most divine mint, to another food seller offering you some Bessara (split pea) soup with chunky pieces of khobz (bread).
The sights, the smells, the colours, cliché as it sounds, are all magical. A donkey will be carrying its owner from one end of the medina to another, whilst passers-by scurry around to find a clear spot for it to pass. The medina is truly a haven of surprises and delights, and you just can’t help but want to be a part of it all.
There are plenty of times when I’ve been in a medina, be it Marrakesh, Casablanca or Sefrou when I’ve found myself completely lost, having no idea how to get back to where I started. At first you may worry about where you are, but don’t, take the opportunity and the time to glance, to ponder and stroll around. Getting lost in the medina is all part of the fun.
Turn that other corner and see what you’ll find, what music you’ll hear, who you’ll meet. The medina is one of non-stop discovery and mystery. You’re never going to know what you’re going to find if you follow that street or the next one.
Find your local tourist spots, Jardin Majorelle, Djemma El-Fna Square and Saadian Tombs, yes, but just go explore what those glorious hundreds of tiny nooks and crannies of streets have to offer. Follow that scent, go look at that magnificent oak door with that interesting crooked door handle, have a glance at the ceramics that that local is selling behind you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised and be happy even that you didn’t stick to your map so strictly and you got lost in it all.
Your own experiences in the medina are so personal and are not ones that can really be accounted for in your travel guide. Everyone’s journey in the medina is completely unique, individual and stimulating. That’s why it is so intriguing.
So if you ever go to a Moroccan medina and find yourself lost, embrace it. Breathe in those smells, touch those tagine pots and taste those dates.
Go discover what is hidden away in those wonderful streets of the medina and you can thank me with a mint tea later!