Hi, i'm writing this blog page to share information with all you wanderlust souls out there. Living in Morocco comes with lots of bizarre and unexpected events, which i thought you may enjoy reading about and sharing in the laughter.

My family and I moved to Marrakech 11 years ago from London. The beginning of a huge adventure for us. Choosing which country was right for us to live in had been an extremely long and tiring process. Having made a choice to move to Marrakesh, was in itself a big box ticked. We had two criteria lists, one for our business (opening and running a guesthouse) and one for personal.

Phase two of our journey then began. Setting up home in Morocco, also a non English speaking country with a very different culture to ours. Marrakech is a real melting pot of; languages, tribes, rich, poor, city slickers, country peasants. It sometimes reminds me of that place Luke Skywalker went to, to buy that space ship, with all those different intergalactic aliens. (Any one know what it was called?) After months of beauroctratic paperwork, rendez vous with people who don't turn up and renting from an unpleasant woman for a large amount of money, we bought ourselves a villa. This was not in the plan as we didn't want to tie up our capital in a home. I now realise it is one of the best things we could have done. When you've had a really difficult day here to be able to close the door and relax in your own place really balances you.

Zamzam Riad & Spa was eventually created out of love and we hope you will come and stay and be pampered in our luxury boutique riad.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Voyage to Rabat - Historic sights

My parents have come to stay with us to get some sunshine. My father would only agree to come for a decent amount of time if i organised some trips. The morning after they arrived we set off to do a partial tour of the coast. We left Marrakech and took the new excellent motorway to Casablanca. At Casablanca we took the ring road and followed the coast road, which was very pretty to Rabat. En route we stopped at a restaurant and had a lovely fish lunch, after we walked for a bit and collected shells on the vast expanse of beach.

I loved Rabat, i have not visited for 10 years and even then it was a drive through visit. It had a very different feel to Marrakech and felt very regal. It felt much more Andalusian which of course it is, but surprisingly so. The lovely river and hilly countryside added to the magic of the place. Below you can see a photo of the Chellah wall, one of the major historic sights. The Chellah is on top of the hill and freshwater springs flow out of the hill. It is believed that Sultan Yaacoub's buried treasure is inside, guarded by a prince of the jinn (spirits or entities living in a parallel universe). For years this place once a settlement has been used for burial and tombs.

The entrance to The Hassan Tower and the tomb of Mohammed V and Hassan II.

The Mausoleum is ornate to say the least and totally breathtaking to look at. The carving is so intricate and the marble lavish. The Moroccan people hold their past kings in high regard almost to holy status as the now Mohammed V is the spiritual leader of Morocco too.

The Tower is stunning and impressive from all views. Built by the Sultan Yaacoub El Mansour in the 1100's. It was built as part of a programme with the Koutoubia in Marrakech and the Giralda in Seville.

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Creating the Guest House

We had decided to buy land and build a country guesthouse as per our business plan, about 10 double rooms and suites. The dream was to create a holistic retreat and build our house on the same plot. We were going to have an organic vegetable garden and provide a Moroccan Spa.

Land in Marrakech at that time, went mad. Prices going up daily, lots of people fishing but not really wanting to sell. There is also a problem here of title. ie not much land is titled and to buy land without a title is very difficult, unless you have a lot of time on your hands and like a gamble. We looked at more land than you can shake a stick at, drank more mint tea than you can imagine and got totally no where. It can take weeks to even get a price. You may be being shown a piece of land that isn't for sale or has already been sold. After a year of this we said 'that is it!, we are buying a riad!'

I had a total nervous breakdown and couldn't talk to anyone for three days. He then said this doesn't have to be the end....... It wasn't I have now built an Ecological Camp Adounia in the Sahara Desert!