FRENCH PRESS.. PORTUGAL/MOROCCO #ICAEF #mythirdlifeblog
A French press coffee in the morning delivered to me tableside, and my server even presses it down for me. Lord kill me now, I will die in blissful coffee heaven. Just thinking about this brings joy to my heart, I am shallow this way. This was in Marrakech Morocco at our five-star hotel, a delight I will not soon forget.
My amazing, exhausting trip with the #ICAEF culinary learning journey is over, but now it is time to share my thoughts and memories with any that cares to read my stuff. These places are random and not in order from point A to point B. I awoke this morning feeling so good and thought ahhhh, to have some of that exquisite coffee that was served to me in Marrakech would be divine and the breakfasts were delicious as well.
Marrakech, Morocco is a thriving touristy city (the locals from Casablanca call it that, lol). Did you know it is also the most visited city in Africa? Hell, I didn’t even know it was in Africa, but I am truly geographically challenged and that is one of my few faults .. ok so maybe I have more than a few. Although our guide Rachid said the main export is phosphates, it may be fair to say ‘Hashish’ grown in the mountainous areas is also a thriving business. In the end, tourism will probably outstrip everything.
It may be superfluous for me to write about the hotel experience here, but the coffee and breakfast buffet is the best I have ever experienced (Israel was better, I was informed by my peers) how can that be I wonder, as I lose myself once again in memories of mmmm that coffee. Poolside was also a treat.. no plastic lounge chairs here, all poolside furniture was covered in soft red padded foam, round and square, big comfy throw pillows and cushions, huge blanket towels, poolside drinks, foodservice and pool boys and, and omg .. it was lovely.
Would I want to live here at the hotel, maybe but probably not. Marrakech is filled with tons of history and charm, while snakes and belly dancers proliferate. The charming part for me was the buildings here, they are only three stories high, I am serious. This was such a treat because having traveled a lot I have to say that almost every city I’ve been to has the pre-requisite skyline of skyscrapers. These skyscrapers all look the same to me they even had them in Columbia, where I totally expected Juan Valdez to appear on a donkey riding down a mountainside. Damn, I hate most skyscrapers, well there was that one in Beijing called ‘The Pants’.
The colours match here as well and that’s important for us gals, ok just kidding. The hues of orange and yellow and blues are mandated and the exquisite tiles everywhere are a treasure. It is a crime to chisel and steal these tiles, apparently a thriving underground trade, who knew? Or maybe the tile thing was in Portugal, ah well I am not a travel guide host, google it. I like this city better than Casablanca but what both cities have in common is probably the worst drivers of anywhere else in the whole world! Bar none! (well Peru comes close)
The most exciting part of Marrakech for me was the visit to the Yves St Laurent museum. Yes, the famous fashion designer and his partner actually lived here. It was the former Jardin Majorelle residence gone to seed that Yves and his partner renovated and made the famous gardens open to the public once again. His inspiration while living here was also reflected in his fashion designs from that period. The museum with its Berber art collection is also a cultural center as well.. the place now welcomes over 700,000 visitors a year.
Did you know that Yves St Laurent posed nude for a fashion magazine in 1971.. neither did I. He was also the first designer to bring designer women’s fashions to the masses. He brought us the pantsuit and the jumpsuit, pea jackets, and geometrically designed dresses with bold colours. This I learned in the recently opened YSL museum theatre, where they featured a 15-minute clip of his life. TWO BILLION people once tuned in to watch a collection of his works during a half-time world soccer tournament. (maybe the soccer game helped boost viewers, lol)
I found his story fascinating and I just wanted to share it esp. the nude photo shoot, one year BEFORE Burt Reynolds ‘nude spread’ in Cosmopolitan.. hmm good choice of words eh? Morocco boasts approx. 36 million people living here with not quite a million living in Marrakech. Canada only has 36 million people tops, living in the second-largest country in the world.
The Atlas mountain range is also located here boasting the highest mountain peak in Africa. Although a Muslim country with a king.. there is a 40% Berber population here and they go way back in time, kinda like our indigenous peoples?
Make a will before you go .. remember what I said about the drivers!