From a love for desert landscapes and climbing higher peaks to providing comfort at times of grief and stress, Morocco has been more than a holiday destination for travel writer Joanna Booth. And after 18 months of limited travel, it’s Morocco’s combination of calm, colour, culture and chaos she craves.
I’ve missed many things over the past 18 months. Friends, family, pubs, festivals, but, as a travel journalist, it was inevitable: I’ve missed travelling.
I miss that wave of heat hitting my face as I walk down the steps from the plane. I miss the roulette of ordering from a menu in a language I can’t understand. And I miss the relentless, thrilling novelty of new views, experiences and people at every turn. And if there’s one country that embodies so many of those elements I long for, it’s Morocco.
You don’t forget your first time here. Tumbling out from the tranquillity of our riad into Marrakech’s main square, Jemaa El-Fna, on my first visit, I was overwhelmed by the smell of spices and the shouts of the traders. I remember the intensity of the sun baking my skin, and how it brought a glow to the apricot tones of the walls and to the minaret rising above them.