Under a blazing Moroccan sun
The Lux team, comprising of Floz & B, went travelling to the dry surfaces of Morocco where we were met with a culture brimming with colour, fragrance and a searing heat. We've been itching to share our tales, pictures and words with you (sorry it's taken this long :) ).
Our tales may twist and turn off on tangents but we have featured the moments of most feeling and laughter to us! Here's some doodles from Lux and our way of creating xoxo
It would have been simply dreamy for the first tale to have been about our magnificent landing into the north of Africa, or how our first taxi ride was in an old Mercedes decorated with 26 year old carpets but, alas, the first hurdle was Bianca forgetting her C O N T A C T S and not being able to spot Flora in the airport!!! Not amusing!!!
:) But what she lacked in sight she made up for in goss :)
Essaouira is a beautiful old city with fortress walls hugging the souks and giving it an ancient southern European feel. If you have landed up in Essaouira after being inland, the sea breeze is refreshing and cool. If, like us, it's your first port of call, it will leave you kindly disillusioned about the temperatures awaiting you in Marrakech!
We spent 3 days in Essaouira. Staying at the Chill Art Hostel, it was difficult to leave and be good tourists because we were constantly distracted by their aaaaamazing food, good tunes and (obvs) arts. We also met some amazing people who we went on to travel with in Marrakech!
Alena was one of the people who ran the hostel; she's a Czech artist who takes beautiful photos. One night she took us to her home and showed the photography project she created whilst travelling around Morocco. It gave us an early insight into the lighter and darker realities of the country.
In our first evening, ravenous, we followed Alena's recommendation and ate around the corner at Chez Omar restaurant. The high tagine standard went unbroken for the rest of our holiday, eaten on a reclining sofa surrounded by the infamous stray cats. We also drank mint tea without the sugar (to the horror of the owners).
Our room was painted orange so when we shut the curtains and turned on a dim light it was like living inside a satsuma.
Bianca was a bit ill and spluttering every now and again and I kept scrunching my nose up every time she coughed.
Then, the inevitable happened- S E C O N D day in and my throat started to tickle. The picture below captures a passive aggressive poem written following the incident.
Will publish the poem once the notebook it was scrawled in is found in the pile of paper in the corner of our studio (uni flat).
We spent the rest of our time lost in the souks.
Everything is a lot cheaper in Essaouira compared to the other tourist hotspots in Morocco, so Bianx bought a bit of beautiful pink material which we draped around ourselves for the remainder of the trip.
From Essaouira we took away with us new guitar tunes we hummed under our breath, a clear crystal an old shopkeeper gave us, Hamza's pearls, a recipe for green chicken and a desire to be a dancer after meeting a loud and kind French dancer on a roof!!
It was also the beginning of a long spiritual journey Bianca took to try and convince me to like cats.
View from Hamza's house
A long bus drive!
We found some crisps that made us chuckle.
A million degrees outside.
Bianca's linguistic talents came into their own brilliance as soon as we touched the ground in Marrakech. Her successful french taxi bargaining cannot go unmentioned!!
We met up with our Airbnb host in the Jemaa el-Fnaa square and slowly walked to our house and slowly
our sense of direction in the back paths of the city.
We had been warned of the intensity of Marrakech for female tourists.
It was busy and bustling but we felt safe and carried by the energy of the vibrant place.
Our riad was nestled behind a fruit market and had a balcony with amazing views over the rooftops of Marrakech (when you stood on a plant pot).
The sun was scorching! We lounged in it in the mornings and then attempted to be productive in the cooling afternoons.
Yves Saint Laurent jardin
The Yves Saint Laurent gardens were beautiful. Various cacti sprung up in every corner, with so much plant life at home in the usual killing Moroccan heat.
The poignant blue walls reminded us of our Royal Blue issue.
We ate at a restaurant our friend Souad helped run. It's called
Amal Women's Training Centre and restaurant.
We loved the company. It's a non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of disadvantaged women through restaurant training and job placement.
The food was amazing!
here is a bit more about them:
The following day we met up with a friend from Essaouira, Armando, and visited the Ben Youssef Madrassa. It's an Islamic college.
The architecture was so so beautiful and intricate.
The symmetry of the building meant we kept walking round in circles, not knowing which rooms had already been visited!
Having only been to Moroccan cities, we decided to visit some
The Ouzoud Waterfalls were a glorious break from the busy city. We ambled through olive groves and along a river bank before emerging to the open gushing water in front of us.
They are the highest in Northern Africa and are still used to help power mills to make grain. The sides of the rock still have big caves where ancient Berber tribes used to live.
In a 10 minute break along our walk we ran into the fresh waters at the base of the falls!
Bianca also got incredibly excited about rock formations. Privately message her for more info.
On the drive back we were lulled to sleep by the peaceful, desolate mountain landscape. We would drive for an hour and there would be nothing and then just one house randomly placed in what seemed to be an inhabited place.
Wails of the infamous artist to Hips Don't Lie were thrown at us as we crossed the bustling square in search of dinner.
Why everyone thought Bianca resembled Shakira we still have no idea. Was v stressful having to run away from convincing street food sellers! Finally we stumbled upon some yummy aubergine.
We missed our train to Fez but instead Bianca befriended our host's Italian pal and managed to wangle a heavily discounted night in a hotel!! Thanks to Bianca and her mother tongue!!
Long long lengthy train journey! Got sad because we invested in some crap Oreo wannabe biscuits. Ran out of water and almost started seeing mirages. I slept. Bianca listened to Lorde's new album (highly recommend). I looked out the window and listened to Toto a lot. Not much more to report.
:( tasted like cardboard
Fez was truly spectacular. We met fantastic people. This picture is from an evening we spent climbing a hill that overlooked Fez. Beeeautiful sunset and ruins that we clambered over.
Funky Fez hostel was soooO cool. We spent a lot of time sprawled on the balcony listening to groovy guitar tunes played by talented guests.
We googled art galleries in Fez and it came up with Gallery Dar Balmira. We trudged through the back streets to find this beautifully ornate riad. The inside was covered with photographs of Moroccan nature and people from the owner's travels.
He showed us the roof and all the chirpy birds he kept. After some conversation, it emerged he was Jearld Moldenhauer, a key activist in the European and Canadian gay rights movements in the late 20th century. He spoke of his hatred for tattoos and his various travels.
We grabbed a train one (common) sunny day and headed to Meknes. The city had ancient building after ancient building and we climbed up to the roof of a mosque to find a stunning pink house!
CARPETS; Carpets were everywhere in Morocco. Hanging over you in souks, around you in cars, under your feet in hostels. They were all remarkably loud in colour. We went to the biggest carpet shop ever in Fez!! It was like being in a woollen jungle or an emperor's palace.
Our last night was a sad one. We seriously considered not boarding our ridiculously cheap flight back to Stansted at 6am.
Our Italian pal Pietro cooked up a feast at 1am in the morning- it was d e l e c t a b l e. We sat and smiled with full tummies.
Our travels in Morocco were filled with colour, good food and kind people. Highly recommend going! This piece might not be our most poetic and grammatically sophisticated piece but it's a true reflection of our jottings and weird observations as we ambled around the country.
Thank u for reading and let us know if we can ever recommend places to you!
F & B