Saturday, February 7, 2009

Passing through two worlds - Marrakech/Mountains

I know you have probably all had enough of looking at snow, but we love it. We love to escape the city and head for the mountains as they loom ever larger on the horizon. This particular day was even better. We awoke, thick fog outside, jumped out of bed into our salapettes, dog in the boot, hundreds of jackets and gloves and off we went. It will burn off we thought, the fog and clouds never last very long in Marrakech. We were wrong and what was more thrilling was the fact that as we climbed the sharp winedy road with huge boulders balanced either side, like an aeroplane we came through the dull clouds and out into blue sky and brilliant sun. Talk about privileged I though, feeling ever more guilty as I knew we had clients in the riad who hadn't ventured up into the sunshine.

It was a special day for me as my daughter had her first ski lesson and loved it, one of those days of motherhood I had been waiting for. I can't wait until we can ski together. It was strangely warm though and it was obvious a big thaw was on as we saw little mountain waterfalls cascading down.


At Zamzam we can ring ahead for you for weather checks, book you a restaurant for lunch up there and organise the transport. Boot and ski hire available and lots of good ski instructors if you want a lesson. There are also tons of tobogans for children.
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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.



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!