I recently returned from a two-week trip to exotic Morocco! For about a month after I returned (I went in May) my mind was buzzing with remembrances of images, scents, colour and pattern. There were many memorable aspects to the trip, but I would say that the souks (markets) were definitely one of the highlights. Everywhere we turned there were beautiful artisan items to be seen, including richly woven and dyed fabric, lovely baskets, pierced metal lamps, gorgeous rugs, colourful ceramics and much more. It was all a bit much to take in at once.
Then, if your sense of sight wasn’t already overwhelmed, there was the sense of smell. The spice market was redolent with heady scents of cinnamon, cumin, anise, fresh mint and more. There were also bins of dates, huge bowls of olives and sticky pastries (swarming with wasps—add the sense of hearing with all the buzzing). Heaped in big piles, the spices and foods also offered a visual treat.
Speaking of hearing, the souks tend to be in the old parts of towns, crowded with narrow streets and busy with traffic (donkeys, push carts, humanity). There was a constant din of many people in a small space. Add to that the sounds of workmen in their tiny shops, beating metal, grinding spices and…well—you get the idea.
Then there was the unique taste of Moroccan food to tempt the palette. Did I mention the spices? I love the Moroccan combination of lemon, mint, cinnamon, cloves, cumin and turmeric. Even though I can get Moroccan spice combinations here at home, I made sure to bring a big bag of spice home to enjoy the authentic Moroccan experience again.
The sense of touch came into play as I ran my fingers over richly woven fabrics and rugs. But the best was the feel of the wooly fur on my camel’s head as I mounted up and rode out into the Sahara!
I’ll post about Morocco again in future, Inshallah (God willing, as they say in Morocco), with more photos I took of the visual riches that I find so inspiring for my art.