Day 4: we boarded the bus bright and early for the 3 1/2 hour ride to Marrakesh. We quickly dropped our bags at the hotel, met our guide and headed to the famous souks of Marrakesh. A souk is an open air marketplace, and the souks of Marrakesh are the largest in Morocco. They are laid out in a labrynth of alleyways according to the commodities that are sold. We drove past the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque which marks the beginning of the souks, disembarked and began our journey into the exotic maze of markets.
Lunch was first on the agenda. As in most of Morocco, behind the most unsuspecting doorways lies the most beautiful hidden treasures. The Cafe De Jardin was no exception. We literally had to duck our heads to enter through a small wooden door into a beautiful courtyard filled with flowers, birds and even orange trees. The food was as amazing as the setting. Besides our choir tour, we had another grand event to perform, a wedding. Marc Antoine and Desiree would be married in Marrakech and Antoine’s family joined us from France for the festivities. The S.T.A.R.S. welcomed them with open hearts and harmonic voices, as we are prone to do, everywhere.
Now into the world of the souks and first stop – spices, my favorite. The spice shop was another example of the abundance of God. Rows and rows of herbs, spices, essential oils, teas, and medicinal concoctions; everything that could possibly be needed by the body. We rubbed on argan oils to make your skin and hair soft, sniffed nigella to clear your nose, smelled the aromas of spice combinations for exotic tagines and roasted meats, and studied tisanes used for detox and cleansing. Our shop attendant, with his great sense of humor, was educational and very entertaining in his presentation. We ended up singing for soap and lots of hugs and kisses.
The rest of the day was spent exploring every inch of the souks; haggling for leather goods, ceramics, colorful shoes, hand-carved souvenirs, and of course, more olives. Tired but exhilarated by our day’s activity, we ended with a lovely meal and a little line dancing. Remember, our party never stops.