Thursday 8 November 2018

Notes from a Travel Journal: Marrakech and the YSL Garden

Today's post from my month of travel blogging documents a backpacking visit to Morocco with a friend. We spent our last couple of days in Marrakech - a decision based primarily on the fact that it was cheap to fly home from there. However, the city is home to the very beautiful Yves Saint Laurent Garden, the Jardin Marjorelle which is an absolute photographer's paradise.

We also went for a traditional Hammam at a spa in the evening; while I don't have any pictures to share from that, I thought I'd include the story as it was giggle. However, the photos throughout are from the YSL Garden.

Jardin Marjorelle: the garden and working place of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, and apparently must-visit location in Marrakech. We visited the YSL museum first, and enjoyed peering at the fashions, picking out which ones we wanted and wishing we could touch the fabric. We then visited the Berber museum housed within the gardens: an interesting collection of jewellery, clothes and artefacts arranged by region, but curiously not dated.

Finally, the main event: the gardens themselves overflowing with plants from across five continents. Giant cacti and succulents grew alongside palms and exotic-looking flowers, and although we had to duck into the cafe to avoid the rain and have a cuppa (I love a good caf) we enjoyed strolling around afterwards as the rain had bedewed everything with shining crystal droplets.

Shady groves of graceful bamboo lined lovely walkways that might end in a fountain or a pond of koi carp. However, loveliest of all was the rich Moroccan blue and the sunny hello of the walls and plant pots, interwoven among the trees. Such a lovely, peaceful sanctuary.

In the evening, Liz and I decided to try our hands at a hammam and so 8:00pm found us weaving down the little alleys of Marrakech Medina looking for Le Bain Bleu. We were ushered inside to changing rooms and given gowns and flip-flops to wear over our swimming stuff, before heading to our hammam room. Neither of us really knew what to expect: all we knew was that we’d booked “hammam and gommage”. The hammam room was hot and humid, lined with three giant stone benches. A no-nonsense Moroccan woman bustled in, sloshed us with warm water and instructed us to lie down. The stone benches were heated, and we were sloshed with more water before being stripped of our tops, sloshed a bit more for good measure, rubbed with oil and then left to chill - or in fact sweat - in the hammam. 

As soon as she left, we errupted into giggles. A poster on the wall sort of explained the process, and we discovered we had ten minutes to lie down, presumably while our pores opened, or similar. 

The lady returned with reinforcements, and Liz and I were then subjected to a salt scrub. It was really good and it seemed as though an entire layer of skin was scoured from our bodies. I’ve never felt so clean! Then we were slathered in a mask before being given some more lying down time (and sniggering time).

The ladies returned one more time to slosh us down, wash and condition our hair, and then slosh us down again. They're clearly big into sloshing. I even kept a straight face as the no-nonsense women yanked open my bikini bottoms to slosh water in them. May as well be fully clean. 

Then we were taken into the main spa area to relax in the hot water pool and drink mint tea. It was lovely!

Quite the experience, but I think we would both go again. Would recommend, but go with someone you know very well.

Kisses xxx

P.S. This blog post is part of my November travel series; I'm spending the month documenting some of the trips I've taken this year, sharing extracts from my travel journal and my photos. My aim is to do this for each day in November as a personal challenge, to get photos and words put together and record some of my favourite experiences from the year. As the weather turns chilly, it's a lovely feeling to curl up in doors and reminisce about travels past, and plot travels for the future.

1 comment:

  1. We really enjoyed the Majorelle Garden when we visited last year, although the Museum hadn't yet opened.