For the May-day bank holiday weekend, we went surfing in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, my favourite off-season sun fix from London. From the road, the dormant volcanoes looked dark, barren, and quite uniform. But this time we took our trekking boots, stepped into the picture, and were rewarded by these eerie and magical views…
Our local guide, Marcello from Canary Trekking, took us for a 3 hours light trek of roughly 7km, and were rewarded by these breath-taking views…
I have published several articles about Lanzarote before (here and there) so I will leave it to a photo diary. It all feels quite eerie and magical… but as they say, a picture speaks better than a thousand words. Continue Reading
As a touristy destination, Morocco almost has it all: sunny pretty much all year round, direct access to quality surf spots, mountains, cultural cities, fantastic food, stable political background, cheap access from Europe and no Continue Reading
when we decided to book a trip to Morocco for New Year holidays, my first thought was “great, I’m getting an argan oil refill!” Last time I went there it was to Rabat for my Continue Reading
Like the King’s wife, Salma of Morocco, my friend is from Fes. Unlike her, she is a full time executive worker in Paris and married a French guy from the Caribbean The common point to all Moroccan weddings isn’t the rum-punch; it’s that the bride is always a princess. Like in little girls dreams, she’s pampered, fed delicious delights, being introduced to the party on a sedan chair….
Moroccan weddings are a major institution, and 3 days of festivities could feel quite intense; however, life goes by at a different pace there, and the seamlessly organised step by step process is also very patronising, securing. First because they’ve invented the wedding planner concept with their tradition keepers (the neggafates), so no schedule slip and no worries – at least for the guests.
I flew there 2 days prior to the wedding and we steamed and scrubbed in the hammam at the sound of women’s songs and chants…marvellous way to relax and gather amongst girls. Unsure if it’s the pampering or the carb and sugar load but the whole pre-wedding experience feels pretty childish, in a good way. more info on Morrocan weddings.
And the actual wedding ceremony is a spectacular ballet of – extremely sweet – food, from the pastilla to the Cornes-de-Gazelles and other honey & almond-heavy deliciousnesses.
And if you thought European weddings were colourful and Kaftans were a austere dress ? mmm not quite there; guest are rivalling with not so traditional kaftan of all colours, shapes, fabrics, folding it up the knee and dancing till late.
The diversity and refinement of kaftans is fascinating from a fashionista point of view as it gives a canvas that can be declined in to so many versions! I went to the wedding wearing a long gown but instantly wished I had rented one! I had never realised it could be so sophisticated and also figure flattering with the large belt that can be adjusted. To get a better idea, check last year’s fashion shows, and my favourites.
Do’s and Dont’s in Rabat
- do stay in a Riad in the medinah, avoid the Hilton (Sofitel) unless you’re on a business trip. I stayed in Ali’s Riad Zyo, an oasis of hospitality. I could eat his home-made beghrir everyday for breakfast…yum
- do bargain argan oil, rose water and orange blossom water: each time I open the bottle, my bedroom travels back to the souk
don’t go for just a weekend when travelling from London – with no direct flight to Rabat you will have to fly to Casa and take a train. That’s not true anymore: Ryanair has open a direct London – Rabat, knock yourself out, they’re at £25 at the moment!! It’s cheap and rather easy, people are friendly enough they will show you the way in French or broken English.
Readers Corner – what do I take in the plane?
for those who can read in French: Partir – Tahar Ben Jelloun
Morocco is an enticing country, with lovely, welcoming people and Rabat combines the wealth, the Mediterranean sea-side and diet. When tourist guides all focus on Marrakesh and Essaouira, I felt pretty privileged to have been invited to Rabat and shared delicious home made Couscous al-fresco.
From there, where next?
surfing in Imessouane, Dakla or Sidi ifni which I have been recommended recently. And given how welcoming people are, how good the food and how consistent the weather is, it’s on the “get back” list. Or maybe who knows, one day I put my guts together and sign up for the Marathon des Sables