June 19th, 2011
Having immensely enjoyed the Harley road trip with Glenn last October in Morocco, an invitation to a French wedding in Marrakech from Antoine & Emma, new friends that I met in Casablanca last year, was an opportunity definitely not to be missed. So on Thursday June 9th headed down to Casablanca, rented a small Peugeot, and drove down to Marrakech. Thursday night and Friday were spent in the markets and tea houses and on Friday met up with Glenn & Saija who’d just driven that day down from Spain.
Some refreshments and a quick catch up later, we head off into the Atlas mountains to cover the last 60km to where the wedding reception and festivities were being at the held at L’Oliveraie de Marigha which is just south of the small town os Asni. Antoine’s Father, Alain, hosted a very chiq soiree at his villa in the mountains, complete with endlessly flowing champagne, local dancers and drummers and roast lamb and other delicious foods. Quite something to behold.
The next day everyone headed down the mountain and back to Marrakech for the service in the Catholic church there at 3pm, and following the hour or so service we all headed back up the mountain to Asni for the grand reception – and a much cooler mountain climate. With tables laid out among the olive trees and overlooking the mountains in brilliant afternoon sunshine, it was indeed as spectacular a location for the reception as it is possible to get. Again the French rule of seemingly endless champagne kicked in and dinner didn’t get underway until somewhere around 10.30pm or so, at which point there was a professional firework display almost rivaling the Symphony of Fire in Vancouver. As someone from Paris whispered, “this is by no means typical for a French wedding”. By 4am in the morning it was time to hoist the white flag and surrender, although there were still people dancing when I left.
Slow start the next day by all, and a “come in your own time” lunch buffet was available back at L’Oliveraie, all sorts of Moroccan and French food, simply delicious. Bid adeu to new friends and old and headed back down the mountain. to Marrakech and then left/west to Essaouria on the, hopefully cooler, coast. At one point in the journey it was 42C and the little peugeot had no aircon – I think I lost a couple of pounds on the road there! Spent 2 days exploring Essaouria properly this time and enjoying the fresh fish pulled straight out of the Atlantic there. Also went for the double shave – although unlike Glenn last year I didn’t have my scalp shaved as well 😉
Finally spent Wednesday (June 15th) driving along the coast road up through the Safi and Oualidia, stopping back at the fish restaurant I’d been at last October. Finally stayed at a (also the only) hotel by the Airport in Casablanca as flight on Thursday morning was 07.35, and safely back in Holland late Thursday afternoon.
At any rate, it was a super experience and many thanks again to Emma and Antoine, the bride and groom for the opportunity to join an exceptional celebration, and look forward to my next trip back to Morocco – it’s a truly exceptional place. Enjoy the pics.Share