Elizabeth Georgian recently took her beloved Duffler with her on a trip to Marrakesh. Follow her adventures on Instagram at @insearchofs.
I take comfort in the fact that after decades of traveling, each trip still provides excitement, unique experiences, and a new perspective. My most recent trip—Marrakesh, Morocco—definitely took me by surprise, but not in the way I originally thought.
When I first arrived in Marrakesh, it was late, dark out, the streets were packed with people and donkeys and street vendors. It was an assault on my slightly tired senses. The riad I was staying in picked me up in a car at the airport, but after slowly making our way through the winding streets of the medina, the driver parked, grabbed my Duffler, tossed it in a handmade wheelbarrow, and indicated that I was to follow another man further into the tangled, un-marked streets of the medina to the riad.
We walked, dodging donkeys pulling carts, motorbikes weaving through crowded streets, and eventually came to a quieter, darker area where I almost felt unsure that I should continue. But continue I did, following behind my Duffler, which was sliding with the motion of the wheelbarrow. Eventually, we came upon a sign for Dar el Qadi and entered into an entirely different atmosphere, a colorful, peaceful oasis in a sea of red clay buildings and noise. My Duffler--followed closely by me--was brought up to my room and set gently upon a cozy bed outfitted with a white woolen blanket and ample pillows.
After waking the next day, I set out to the souks—Marrakesh felt like one big market to me—to purchase gifts and home décor, mementos to later remind me of this trip. I didn’t make it far without being bombarded by invitations in both French and English to come see this rug, that pouf, those slippers, these lanterns… all for a great price. Frankly, it was overwhelming and by the end of the day, both my dirhams and my bargaining abilities were spent.
The following morning, breakfast was served on the rooftop terrace of Dar el Qadi, a massive spread of baked goods, jams, honey, and never-ending cups of dark, fragrant coffee. The quiet I felt looking out upon the red rooftops, further to tall mosques was fortifying enough for later excursions into the souks of the medina and stunning gardens, such as Le Jardin Secret, that I just stumbled upon. The striking contrast between the noise, crowds, people, and animals was starkly contrasted with the peacefulness of the gardens and the quiet of my comfortable room with my Duffler slowly was filled with treasures from the souks.
On the last evening of my stay, I carefully packed a colorful carpet, soft leather pouf, a ceramic dish, and several smaller scented soaps all surrounded by clothes safely into my Duffler. The next morning, the Duffler then traveled with me downstairs, and leaving the peace of the riad for the last time, the Duffler was again thrown unceremoniously into the wheelbarrow, sliding with each stop for morning traffic. Together, we made our way through the hectic streets, to the edge of the medina. Then back into the trunk of the taxi it went, safely carrying my Moroccan treasures home.
Now, my new carpet sits on the floor of my bedroom and my Duffler is folded up into its tiny pouch, awaiting our next adventure.