Sunday, 18 May 2014

We've just got back from a trip to Rabat, Morocco. It was such a wonderful weekend I'm worried that if I think about it too much, or try to describe it in too great detail, it will slip away from me - I'll realise my memory is incomplete or inaccurate. It's sort of taken on the qualities of a mirage!

So to sketch out our stay, everything we saw was remarkable in its own way: the Kasbah was so colourful; the Medina and Souk were so bustling and fragrant (literally kilograms of herbs were for sale - thyme, mint, others I couldn't identify); the Chellah - a ruin dating back to Roman times, now the roost of dozens of storks - so dramatic; Tour Hassan - a half-built, twelfth-century minaret, covered in intricate Islamic brickwork - so beautiful.
Our accommodation was charming and the food was good.

Even retail in Rabat was remarkable. In the Medina, you could buy anything you could possibly want (fresh fruit and veg (melons, mulberries, artichokes, peas...), the aforementioned herbs, tortoises, teapots, rugs, MacBooks!) There was little touting of wares and, even when you entered a shop, there was minimal pressure to purchase. We did manage to buy a couple of souvenirs though, including a tajine from the charity Terres de Femmes.

I don't think I saw an outlet of a brand I recognised the entire time I was there. Though apparently, there was a Diesel, and a handful of other stores I know, in the Mega Mall, on the outskirts.
When I leafed through a local magazine, it seemed Rabat was less a retail centre than Casablanca and Marrakech. There, I got the impression that there were some good independent boutiques. There were also some striking features on kaftans and beauty treatments.

Anyway, if I were trying to recreate the feel of the holiday at home, I would buy some things similar to the below. There were lovely textiles, rugs and cushions, everywhere. In the Kasbah's Café Maure, mint tea was poured into glasses a bit like these. And the delicious hotel breakfast incorporated lemon marmalade and fig jam - trop bon! A holiday that was trop bien!

 Tory Burch Cotton Kaftan £285, Garden Trading Recycled Glass Tumblers £22 for 4, Toast Hand-Blown Glass £13.50, Thorody Ivor Cushion £75, Bonne Maman Lemon Marmalade and Fig Preserve £2.29, Dinny Hall Talitha Earrings £455, Isabel Marant Textured Bead Bracelet £70

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