|One of the many palatial living rooms at L Mansion, Marrakesh|
'It's very warm here' she says happily as we step off the plane at 5pm in Marrakesh. Normally, I don't warm up until it's at least 28°C, (82°F) but after several months of minus temperatures in Stockholm, even I agree that 20°C (68°F) feels warm! The locals seem to be of a different mind though, as they dressed in thick sweaters or wool kaftans with their hoods up.
After a short drive through the bustling, winding roads of the city we arrive at the gates of our hotel, L Mansion. Built on 12-acres filled with blossoming citrus and olive trees, L Mansion is truly an authentic Moroccan palace.
We were greeted warmly by the estate proprietor. After seating us comfortably in one of the many magnificent palace living rooms, we were offered warm mint tea. While sipping our tea, despite the ornate surroundings, the thing we noticed above all else, was 'the quiet'. In fact, as it transpired, we were the only guests. Serving primarily a discerning American clientele, the other scheduled guests had apparently been scared off from a trip to Morocco. It seems the political issues currently happening in the Arab world, while barely visible in the day to day lives of the people in Marrakesh, still impact them greatly.
Having spent about half my life in Sweden, I know that the differences between the Scandinavian countries are many. There is a tendency however, among people not from Scandinavia, to 'lump ' all Scandinavians together as if they come from a single place. 'They are more or less the same' I sometimes hear and even read in various tourist publications or on websites. I guess the 'Arab world' has suffered the same fate as the people of 'Scandinavia', despite the immense differences in each nation and its people.
So here we sit, enjoying the warm evening sun, surrounded by friendly staff with warm smiles, in a peaceful palace just minutes from the crowded streets of Marrakesh - all alone.