Photograph of Marrakech by Alex Nichol

Marrakech

Marrakech has to be one of the weirdest places I've ever been. It's a medieval market town; a maze of winding alley-ways and bustling souks (marketplaces) hemmed-in between ancient city walls. It's absolute bedlam from dawn til dusk, everyone hustling you for business, even the local street urchins who will tax you for everything, even giving directions to an ATM.

Photograph of Marrakech, Morocco by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM
Photograph of Marrakech, Morocco by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

It's hard to feel completely at ease in a place like this. Peddlers are everywhere, and you really have to have your wits about you. It's little wonder most of the foreign visitors stay outside the city walls in their gated resorts, and only venture into the medina as part of an organised excursion.

Photograph of Marrakech, Morocco by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM
Photograph of Marrakech, Morocco by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

We chose to stay smack-bang in the middle of it all, in the most beautiful guesthouse Riad Ilayka. It was an oasis of calm amongst the cacophony of back-street bartering that surrounded us, and the staff were amazing. They really helped us out when we were caught out by a scam.

Photograph of Marrakech, Morocco by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM
Photograph of Marrakech, Morocco by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

A man pretending to be with the taxi firm who picked us up from the airport guided us through the winding alleys to our hotel, then demanded a ridiculous sum of money in return. As we thought we'd paid for the service up-front, we hadn't expected the fee, and didn't have any cash. It escalated and quickly got aggressive, but the staff at the riad settled up with him and sent him on his way. Every day's a school day in Marrakech.

Photograph of Marrakech, Morocco by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM
Photograph of Marrakech, Morocco by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

Sadly, this wasn't the only act of hostility we witnessed in Marrakech. One angry shop-keeper spat at my friend's feet when she decided she didn't want to buy a pair of shoes from him. Another went ballistic when I tried to take his photograph. I understand and appreciate others' privacy, but there are better ways to ask me not to take a picture.

Photograph of Marrakech, Morocco by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM
Photograph of Marrakech, Morocco by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

On the whole, though, it was an amazing trip and defintiely worth braving the uppity locals to witness the manic medina in full-swing, especially at night, eating sheep's brain off a wooden skewer.

I'd also heartily recommend you take the time to visit the incredible Le Bain Bleu for a true Moroccan Hammam experience. It's a spa like nothing else I've ever experienced, and worth the trip all on its own.

Photograph of Marrakech, Morocco by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

These photographs were taken with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the extraordinary Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM .

Alex Nichol

About the photographer

Alex Nichol is an amateur photographer based in the UK dabbling with landscape, travel and documentary. Alex has shot with pretty much everything, from classic 35mm and medium format film cameras from Zenit, Leica, Hasselblad and Rolleiflex, to digital SLR and mirrorless systems from Leica, Sony, Canon, Panasonic and Olympus. He is currently shooting with the Fujifilm X System.


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