At this point, I have visited close to 40 countries – counting both short stays and borderline cases such as Hong Kong and Macau – in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. This is a life project without limits, in the sense that there are always new places to pay a visit to, and hence the whole thing calls for some realistic milestones.
For instance, I strive to have set my feet on all continents of the world – not counting Antarctica and Central America – before the next year is over. I will probably only go to Ecuador with regard to my first ever visit in South America, but nothing is yet decided in that respect.
With that said, I just recently went to the capital of Portugal and the city of Marrakesh in Morocco. It was a short trip, lasting only for about a week. I was in Lisbon for less than a day and tried to see as much as possible during the evening – from about 6 PM until 1 AM – and then got up early and did some sightseeing, particularly the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and its vicinity, the day after.
It was nice, but my favorite place was actually a mojito bar not very far from Rossio square, where the guest house that I crashed at is located. I can only recall that I have drank a better mojito at Ocean Drive in Miami Beach.
That was in fact the only alcohol which I consumed during the entire trip. At an earlier stage of planning, I considered the idea of visit some night clubs in Marrakech, such as Pacha, but for several reasons I chose not to. Partly because I was alone, and partly due to other reasons.
So basically I got up early every morning, around 8, ate my carb-loaded breakfast at my five-star riad in the heart of the city’s medina – located in a narrow and shady alleyway – and went from the medina to Gueliz and back (or from the medina to some particular monument, such as the Kasbah mosque), and in one case to the Cascades D’Ouzoud waterfalls, about a two-hours drive from Marrakech, and then back in the evening.
Speaking of evenings, I went to the market square Jemaa el-Fnaa for three or four times, where I, for instance, drank freshly squeezed oranges. A quite vibrant place indeed, although a bit too kitsch-esque for my taste. I think that the medina in general is more interesting than this particular place, even though I find the hammam’s, such as De la Rose, a bit overrated.
Lastly, what about body and brains? I have studied some Korean but not for many hours, and I have done some damage control cardio in order to decrease the amount of body fat that I will increase due to quite massive amounts of overall calorie surplus. Actually, I even re-elaborated my spacious room into a simple ‘gym’ and did some light exercises for the entire body, split up into three or four sessions. Albeit the room was largely isolated with regard to the outdoor heat, the powerful fan was very useful in that respect.
But to travel in the proper sense – not just visiting shopping malls and attending tourist attractions and sights – is also to transcend our current ideal, which of course has its limitations. It is to expand one’s inner mental room, and to absorb entirely new impressions. At least partly, I think that Marrakesh is a quite fruitful place in that sense, since it remains to some extent traditional.
And now I am back.