A wise man in Marrakesh once said: “Consulting a map upon getting lost is cheating life – there is a reason why you are here, why you stand where you stand, why you ended up at my front door…and the only way to uncover this reason is with a cup of fresh mint tea and a good conversation.”
Prior to our departure and due to our excitement, Izabela and I had compiled an itinerary of all the sites we desired to visit, including the average visiting time, the opening-hours, the entry fees, the historical background of all dwellings and the weather forecast for at least the subsequent two months. There were, in fact, only few specifics we had not considered in our research, among others, the only information that would have been truly valuable to our journey. Both suffering from topographic illiteracy, it only occurred to us after our arrival in Morocco that we were quite unfamiliar with any type of geography concerning our trip.
Our new Moroccan friends were kind enough not to comment on our solecism when we asked for their advice. Gathered around a golden table in a room that smelled like cinnamon, they turned exceptionally quiet as they stooped over a map and gradually began to outline various routes and locations. The long silence that ensued caused Izzy and me to glance at each other. The only distinguishable noise was the delicate burbling of water stemming from the brightly decorated fountains adorning each corner. We had enough time to observe the boys` facial expressions that showed no trace of excitement or approval.
“Did we upset you?”, Izzy asked cautiously after a while. “Would you not recommend visiting those places?” I noticed the corners of their lips curling into a faint smile. “Au contraire, sweet ones”, one of them replied without raising his eyes, “we urge you to.”
“And yet you do not seem satisfied with our choice of destinations”, I remarked, pointing towards the map. The three boys paused, put their pens aside and turned towards us. “Please understand that it is not the destinations you chose but the nature of the journeys preceding them that discomfort us.”
“The city has its own spirit“, they continued gently. “Capricious at times, it only reveals as much of itself as it deems the visitor worthy of discovering. Follow the beaten track if you wish, and it will undoubtedly lead you to all the places you desire to see, offering nothing more and nothing less than what thousands of others have observed, tasted, heard and felt before you.” They began to fold the map calmly and lowered their voice: “But you see, Marrakesh has many faces, sweet ones, each countenance with its own promises, mysteries and secrets worth exploring. The key to their discovery is hidden in the most unexpected places, concealed from the traceable lines and circles we just drew on the map for you. You must understand that there are no limits to the marvels of this city as long as there are no limits to your minds. Do not follow others – create your own memories. Allow yourself to get lost, to let your feet wander and your eyes wonder and you will discover treasures so rich, no one has ever even dared to dream of.” They handed over the map, leaving us with a last remark before disappearing silently: “There truly is a fine line between an explorer and a tourist – the question is, which of the two you would like to be.”
keep scrolling to see what treasures and places we came across after leaving the map at home.
IV. Jardin Majorelle
V. Saadian Tombs