I was so lucky to take a trip to Morocco in August this year. I have a dear friend Colleen that lives in the seaside town of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast and I went to visit her. She takes groups of women on tours around Morocco a couple of times a year. They are sensational tours. She is an absolute pro and has been doing it for quite some time now. She agreed to meet me in Marrakesh when I arrived.
Morocco has always been high on my list of places to see. Just the name conjures up such exotic images, colours and scents....sounds. My imagination goes crazy! All the beautiful paintings by famous french artists fuelled my desire to experience it for myself. I was not disappointed.
I looked forward to hanging out with a dear and beautiful friend even more though. We had been neighbours in Melbourne and Colleen's ready laugh and sense of fun was something I missed. I was glad to see her new home.
The first few days we spent in Marrakesh were just fabulous. Hot! Temperatures soared over 45 degrees each day and it was important to get out early and then to find a place to rest in the heat of the afternoon. Luckily Colleen knew all the gorgeous places to go and we were well fuelled with delicious food and refreshed with mint tea and little pastries. There is so much to see in the tiny lanes and the noisy, busy souks of an old medina like Marrakesh. The people everywhere going about their business, women dressed in their beautiful djellaba and matching scarf and the darling children. Everything you could want or need is for sale. Herbs and spices, handmade shoes and carved wooden spoons. Oh the fabrics, weavings and the rugs.
I hadn't really thought of buying rugs but they were so beautiful....I couldn't resist. The richness of the colour and patterns and texture of Moroccan rugs is just so fascinating. They tell the story of the place, the time and the maker in every fibre. And the stories they could tell about those that had used them...I can only imagine. I felt I was buying a textile treasure. Well I think I was.
I especially loved the boucheroite rugs with their hand knotted strips of fabric...a bit like a rag rug. The colours and prints and patterns employed by the makers were just such a riot. I think they possess such joy. I was lucky to have my friend with me though. There is a game to be played when you buy anything in Morocco and I am not so good at bargaining or at knowing what a fair price is. But, you must sit and have tea. You must enjoy the 'floor show'. Carpet after carpet unfolded to reveal it's beauty. And then you must decide and then haggle. It's all part of the fun.
Of course there was so much more to see and do but maybe that's for another post. I was on the hunt for blue, for indigo and for fabrics to dye.
ps. My friend Colleen Cassar can be found at www.roamlikequeens.com.au