Aromatic sense of fresh Mint Tea and the Koutubia Mosque

Marrakech Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 4 › view all entries
Koutoubia Minaret

This blog should read, October, 1996:I have been lazy, well not really lazy but busy with living life that some of the things I have wanted to do have taken back seats. Writing about my many travel experiences has always been something I wanted to share; I have shared quite a bit already. I have wanted to write about Morocco for a while now, but time . . . well here it is. When I think Morocco, the one thing that comes to mind, the one thing that awakens my senses is the smell of mint in hot tea. Now if you don't know it yet, I love tea. I grew up taking HOT (steaming hot) tea prepared by my mom, until now you cannot get me to drink lukewarm tea, it has to be hot. It was one of those unplanned trips where a friend decided to take me with him if I dared go to a place I never went before.

Koutoubia Minaret by night
'Yes' was my reply and the next thing I know, we were off to a country predominantly Muslim, but interesting with a French influence. Morocco for a long time was under French rule. Morocco lies in the northern region of Africa and is home to the Atlas Mountains (one of the mountains I should have to venture to).

By the time I traveled to Morocco, I did not have the mind to appreciate what I was seeing or experiencing. I had got my first passport that year and had made three trips that year; first was a road trip to Kenya, second was also a road trip to southern Africa including Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland. The third was a flight to Mombasa also in Kenya. My friend and her husband took me as a house guest back to their home in Marrakesh; this was after a week in Casablanca where Amina's husband had stopped to check on some businesses he owns there. One would think I should have some great memories of Casablanca right? Wrong, I do not because I did not go out much while in Casablanca. We dined out twice in Casablanca and attended a Friday Prayer at one of the mosques before leaving for Marakech.

I do remember Marakech however; the thought of it brings back the most aromatic sense of fresh mint tea and roasted nuts. Besides the mint and nuts, there seemed to always be the smell of something cooking, exotic spice scents in the air. Amina's family was very prayerful and it seemed to me that her mother always had something cooking outside. While Marrakesh is an urban town, I did not spend much time in the city center; Amina's family lived in the outskirts from where you could hear the sound of music, distinct Arabic music. I stayed 4 days with Amina's family and on the fifth day, she took me to the Djemaa El Fna Square.

The Djemaa El fna square is like 'the' entertainment center, the beating heart of the town. Marrakech, of course I only visited once in the night time when its at its best. Amina could not take me there at night because of her strong religious ties (not that anything evil takes place), but she did not want to be out in the night at the Square. To respect her I did not insist, well it's not like I knew better what I wanted to see. We did spend time sampling food from the many food booths within the Square, the aroma of spice inviting us every which way we went.

On my last day in Marakech, Amina took me to the famous Mosque, Koutoubia. I was particularly excited about this most because I learned about it during my history classes back when. The history of the Maghreb points to this historical mosque constructed under the order of Caliph Abd Al-Mumin Ibn (phew, what a name). This mosque and fresh mint tea are the two most memorable experiences of Morocco that stayed with me. I should love to return to Morocco now that I know what I want to experience, the food and the people. 

"Travel is an exciting and adventurous passion, it is quite expensive but the reward outweighs the expense. If you can afford it, do it!" Africancrab.

Africancrab says:
Awesome, I can't wait. I will bring back some spices too. I love cooking, maybe when you come visit I can cook, bring your aderfos with you he-he! I bet your mom is a great cook.
Posted on: Mar 11, 2010
dieforu says:
yeah,and Jan tasted moms cook,hehe:-DDD,i think he like it!!u can ask him!heheh:-DDD...yeap u can take,there are some people live in mountains and pick up the herbs there and sell them in bazzaars:-)
Posted on: Mar 11, 2010
Africancrab says:
Ha-ha! Mom still cooks, good for you. O' I should like to briing back some of the teas you have. I don't remember what tea I took when I was in Thesaloniki, it was many years back.
Posted on: Mar 11, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Koutoubia Minaret
Koutoubia Minaret
Koutoubia Minaret by night
Koutoubia Minaret by night
Marrakech
photo by: sweetet