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      February 2015 > The lure of Marrakesh

The lure of Marrakesh

It is 50 years since Winston Churchill’s state funeral took place through the bitterly cold streets of London in January 1965. His steadfast, bulldog-like leadership of Britain during the war years is well documented and remains for posterity through the number of iconic speeches he made. What is less well-known is his love for watercolour painting.

Privately guided walking holidays in Morocco

The man was an accomplished artist and his paintings adorn many galleries. They are in great demand and as recently as December 2014, his ‘Goldfish Pool at Chartwell’ sold for £1.8million at Sothebys, part of a £15.4 million sale which included 15 of his works.

Privately guided walking holidays in MoroccoChartwell (his English country home) was his rural escape from the demands of daily politics and international statesmanship. Many of his finest paintings feature the grounds, though he also went further afield to paint.

One of his favourite destinations was Morocco and, in particular, the magical medieval city of Marrakesh.

He had first visited between the wars and was enchanted by the brilliant light and vivid colours that filled his every view.

Privately guided walking holidays in MoroccoIn 1943, he returned to Morocco for a summit with Roosevelt in Casablanca, but found time to persuade the President to join him for a quick visit to Marrakesh:

“You cannot go all this way to North Africa without seeing Marrakesh. I must be with you when you see the sunset on the snows of the Atlas Mountains.” And so they went to wander the souks and bazaars of the city he described as “the nicest place on Earth to spend an afternoon”.

Over the years, many artists have likewise been drawn to Marrakesh, including Inntravel customer David Grech, who visited Morocco to explore ‘Beneath Djebel Toubkal’.

This particular walking holiday includes three nights in Marrakesh and four nights in the mountain village of Tamatert beneath the lofty peak of Djebel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa.

We’ve been enchanted by David’s sketches for quite a while now and those of you who attended our Discovery Day in December will have no doubt enjoyed the chance to see his work and chat with him about his experiences.

Here, he recalls his trip to Morocco:

Privately guided walking holidays in Morocco“Thinking back to our trip, my one over-riding memory was the contrast between the calm of sitting in the courtyard of our Riad in the shade of the orange trees and the chaos and noise of the city streets and in particular the main square of Jemaa el Fna.

We arrived in Marrakesh quite tired from work, and were greeted at our Riad with the offer from them to cook us a meal that evening. They set us a table in the courtyard outside our room [left] and we sat there in the warm dusk eating a lovely, freshly cooked meal.

The next morning we had breakfast on the roof terrace, looking out across the city to the snow-capped High Atlas in the distance, before setting out to explore the city on foot. A true city of contrasts!”

There’s no doubt that Morocco is a land of fascinating contrasts and, with so much to see and do, it makes an exciting destination for all ages.

In fact, the acrobats, musicians, dancers, snake charmers, story-tellers, food sellers, and even dentists of Jemaa el Fna, the large square that forms the heart of the city, will keep young and old captivated for hours.

Posted: 09/02/2015 13:45:26 by | with 1 comments
Filed under: art, culture, Morocco

Beautiful sketches, the minaret looks like a real one. Indeed, everybody should experience the two faces of Marrakech. Absolutely worth going :)
10/02/2015 10:37:06

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