“What’s your favourite place in the world?”
I never know how to answer that question, because I have different favourites for different reasons. Japan, Canada, Turkey, Slovenia, Vietnam, France, Ireland, and Russia are all definitely at the top of the list. But so often, when I’m asked that question, I answer with Morocco, more specifically Marrakech. I wrote this about Marrakech after my second visit there in 2008:
“Marrakech is my favourite place on Earth. More than Russia, more than Slovenia, more than Hawaii, more than Scotland, more than all of these places I love…I love Morocco more. It is dark and light, it is all the colours of the rainbow, it is loud and beautiful and exciting and terrifying and it does not disappoint. It is dusty streets with donkey carts, it is prayers on loudspeakers five times a day, it is the sweetest oranges I have ever tasted. It is rose-coloured buildings and shaded alleyways, blind men singing for coins, water-carriers clanging their cymbals together. It is Berber carpets and roasting goats’ heads and henna and mint tea and cous cous. It is cardamom and hookahs, camels and snake charmers, mystics and men in long white robes, silver teapots and long strands of beads. It is French, it is Arabic, it opens its doors to any and all. It is frantic drumming, hooting monkeys, the famous Djaama el Fna packed with people, the Koutoubia Mosque looming overhead. It is the souks, the intricate, the incredible, the unbelievable souks, the crowded shops filled with everything one could ever desire. It is lanterns and riads, moonlight and bright brilliant sun, carriage rides and palm trees, olives and figs, spices piled high and street entertainers at every corner. It is dirhams and Majorelle blue. It is bustling and vibrant and it smells so good. It sucks you in, it teaches you, it makes you fall in love, it makes you go crazy, it makes you you never want to leave, it makes you forget your home and everywhere else you have ever known, it taints you for all future travels.”
So, what’s your favourite place in the world?