24 March 2012

On Location in Morocco

With April creeping up faster than expected, we’ve got the marathon running through our minds. The Marathon Des Sables that is.  Just a hop, skip and a jump over the Mediterranean is Morocco, the rich and vibrant gateway of North Africa. The Arabic influences and Berber culture give this stunning country an awe inspiring and authentic atmosphere. While the extremes of the scorching Sahara desert and chilly snow capped Atlas Mountains provide the perfect backdrop to a fascinating and exquisite journey through Morocco. But where to start? Let us share our favourites with you…

THE MARATHON DES SABLES

It is said that the best stories are those which can stand the test of time. A very true point when talking about The Marathon Des Sables, a race against the clock that sees crazy competitors cover 150 miles of desert in just 11 days. Forget the London marathon and take training up a notch as this is not a race for the faint-hearted, or even the relatively strong hearted mind you. This marathon across the Sahara desert is said to be the toughest in the world and as we sit at our desk at PINCH HQ, we are in no position to argue. An entirely unique (and may we say completely mad) way to see the Sahara, this marathon would give even the fittest of athletes a run for their money.

DJEMMA EL FNA, MARRAKECH

DJEMMA EL FNA, MARRAKECH

A visit to Morocco wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Djemma el Fna, the UNESCO recognised city square in the heart of bustling Marrakech. It may be a coincidence but this unique ‘L’ shaped square may as well stand for labyrinth, as its souks and stalls are hidden amongst winding alleys where you can find everything you could possibly need. Whether you are feeding the 5,000, re-vamping your wardrobe with a bit of Moroccan style or adding some culture to your home, get lost in the Djemma el Fna and let your senses be your guide.

HAMMAMS

The Hammam is the epitome of Moroccan design and culture. Traditionally, built using mud-brick and tadelakt, a limestone plaster that traps moisture, their design features a huge domed roof with a star shaped vent that enables steam to escape, along with any steam you may want to let off as well. Hammams all over the country are still traditional, practical and eye catching, centuries after their first use and much like the ancient British tradition of the Roman baths, the Moroccans use the Hammam as a focal point for social engagements and town chitter chatter. A quality luxury hotel is likely to have one on-site to sink into after a long day of getting off the beaten path.

LE FOUNDOUK RESTAURANT

Tucked away down a side street in Marrakech lives a man wearing a red fez. There’s not much that distinguishes him from your typical Moroccan gentleman, that is until you see his lantern which he uses to guide you along the back streets of Marrakech. Your destination? Le Foundouk. An exquisite and luxurious restaurant that encompasses all the traditional foods and flavours Morocco has to offer. From home made flat breads to fruity tagines, sit out on the roof terrace and look out over the Aladdin like landscape.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

Morocco is a country with a mystical culture and something new and exciting around every corner. Discover the delights, charms and never-ending surprises this exquisite country has to offer as you take your PINCH of inspiration to Black Tomato for expert advice on how to make the most of your Moroccan adventure.

Words by Alice Glaze

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