The sun (remember what that looks like...) is shining. The thermometer is heading towards 20º and in the open air courtyard where bridge is played oranges hang temptingly from the lower branches. The Kasbah Bab Ourika, where we are staying, is perched on rich, burnt orange coloured rock an hour's drive from Marrakech in the shadow of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. The journey from the airport last night was an experience. Vehicles with no lights in the dark; pedestrians strolling across busy roads, donkeys pulling carts full of local produce - and enough pot holes to keep a county councillor busy for a lifetime.
But I digress...A delicious lunch on the terrace outside has just concluded. Camel treks are being arranged, massages are being taken - together with the occasional refreshment. This morning Zeb ran the first of his bridge master classes for the 28 people on the trip, with guests from Suffolk, Norfolk and London well represented.
The temperature continues to climb. After waking to clear blue skies, bridge took a temporary back seat and 'culture' took centre stage in the shape of Berber market, a three mile walk away during which a pair of eagles swirled on the mountain breeze...
The stall holders at our local market could learn a trick or two from their Moroccan cousins. In particular, the numerous open air barber's with their cut-throat razers - and a pair of DIY pliers - who double up as dentists. And there is no problem here with double yellow lines and traffic wardens...as you weave your way through the packed donkey car park.
After strolling back through orange, lemon and olive groves, lunch took shape outside on carpets and rugs. A hot picnic with lemon chicken tagine, aubergine and pepper ratatouille, a delicious Moroccan salata, olives, mixed salads - before finishing with yummy orange cake. Supper is every bit as sumptuous but the real surprise has been the local wines - the red could pass for a decent Rhone - which has the inevitable effect on post supper bridge where we tried to put in place our newly found defence skills, following the afternoon masterclass.
An exhilarating day spent in Marrakech, taking in the sights and sounds of the souk and square, offered a vivid contrast to the rural surroundings of the Ourika valley. I almost forgot. The weather today? About 23º, sunny and dry. Same forecast for tomorrow...
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed my week at the Kasbah Bab Ourika. It surpassed all expectations.
What a wonderful week! We both enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you very much for all of your efforts which make your holidays so great. You think of everything and everybody.
Kasbah Bab Ourika was a real find. Amanda, her staff and the lovely fresh food. And those fires in the bedrooms. All this on top of the fantastic views and gardens. Just perfect!
Thank you for organising yet another absolutely wonderful holiday! The hotel was out of this world and the bridge, walks, picnic and even the camel ride were excellent.
Thank you Claudia and Zeb for a marvellous holiday! Very special.
This is to say how very much we enjoyed the week with you and Zeb. Such a heavenly place and brilliantly organised. It’s also given our bridge a long overdue shake up
The two of us greatly enjoyed our time in Morocco – a really unusual and very pleasurable and interesting experience, in excellent company.
The fun atmosphere, excellent company, wonderful hotel, delicious food and drink, ...not to mention the Bridge... were all memorable.
Thank you SO MUCH again for all you did in Marrakech - we simply loved it.
Thank you for another brilliant holiday yet again. We just have to keep coming back.