As-Salaam-Alaikum

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.



Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Oukaimenden - Skiing in Morocco

I just thought i would share one of the most exciting experiences i have had in Morocco so far. If you love skiing like i do then you will understand the amazing revelation that from Marrakech in 1.5hours you can be gliding down a slope on virgin powder.

The drive up to Oukaimenden is spectacular, every hairpin bend you take reveals a more breathtaking mountain scape.

You are probably wondering where the photos of the ski resort with slopes are? well i'm sorry i have to tell you, when we arrived and i saw these boots, skis, lifts and beautiful snow i was off and that was the end of my photos for the day. At the end my mother said was that good? 'i said god i love Morocco, fancy living in a place where you can sunbathe in winter and then decide to go the next day for a ski and a really good lunch in a little snow lodge?? It was actually quite surreal.

The journey back is equally spectacular passing pretty berber villages balancing on the side of mountains made out of mud. Finally pouring out in front of you are the plains at the bottom of the mountains heading back to Marrakech.

There are plans ahead to develop this resort by people from Dubai. The plans are extensive and very luxy so one day this outback little haven of a resort where you can ski all day for £6 will be no more. With the new resort will come more challenging runs, better lifts and an all round European standard resort. I however feel that this little rustic resort with all its natural charm so totally untouched is very special.

Photos on the way up to Oukaimenden

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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!