Heather in our tailor-made team has just returned from a two week recce around Morocco. Below Heather talks about the emphasis the Moroccans place on taking your time when visiting their country...
“Don’t worry, take your time…” is something I have heard at least a few times a day since arriving here in Morocco. Whilst other countries have memorable phrases locals say to tourists (such as Thailand’s “Same same, but different” or “Cheaper than Asda” on some of the Spanish islands), this Moroccan one is much gentler and gives a good reflection of how Moroccans live their lives.
Whilst the souks and medinas of Fez and the Djemaa El Fna square of Marrakech can often be quite an overwhelming experience, Morocco as a whole can be a very relaxing one. Leaving the medinas behind and entering the door of your riad, you will immediately notice the difference. Check-in is a leisurely affair with a comfortable seat in the indoor courtyard and a tray of traditional fresh mint tea brought to you whilst someone takes your passport details and tells you to “take your time” and that they will show you your room once you are ready.
Meal times are also another important aspect of daily life that Moroccans like to enjoy and you can rest assured that you will most certainly not go hungry! With delicious tagines, meat skewers and fresh salads, it is no wonder the Moroccans want you to have a taste of everything. Meals are usually quite relaxed and sociable and the focus is more on the company and enjoying the food and your surroundings than eating as quickly as you can. Bread and olives are almost always brought to the table as soon as you sit down and, bit by bit, your food will start arriving. Just when you think you have eaten your fill, you will be presented with yet another mouth-watering dish that your taste buds can’t seem to turn down.
Despite all this, I am most often told to take my time when travelling from place to place or when discovering somewhere new. The diversity in the landscapes from region to region is incredible. For example, you can start your morning in the buzzing city of Fez, cross over the cool mountain towns of the Middle Atlas and end the day in the dry heat of the desert. Not to mention the numerous kasbahs, palmeries and villages that you will want to visit and photograph elsewhere.
It can all seem like rather a lot to fit in, however the gentle reminder to “take your time” can be just what it takes to switch off from the stresses of work and everyday life and fully appreciate everything new that is around you.