My Backpack had been sitting patiently in the corner of my room for a week begging to go. It’s been ten years or so since I pulled on the straps and set off without a phone or laptop….and how reliant I have become upon them. I’m often bemused on arriving in new and amazing locations to find travellers scrambling for reception or wi fi to update social networks. On this trip I wanted to be without that technology. Maybe it’s a foolish notion but being un-contactable installs a certain feeling of distance and removal from the buzzing, beeping, texting, ringing everyday life that has become so normal.
Fresh coffee and early morning goodbyes at the airport gave way to meeting old friends and climbing aboard a New Years Day flight to Marrakech. The plan; to climb the highest peak in the High Atlas Mountains named Mount Toubkal. December’s strict training regime of touring and catching up with friends over the festive period seemed the obvious choice for a climb to the summit 4167 meters above sea level. With New Years Eve still just about fresh in my mind we stepped from the Taxi into the pulsing madness of Marrakech with its snake charmers, monkeys on chains and the ever present hum of mopeds. The call of the hawkers in the square….. Bonjour, HELLO, MISTER, hey MISTERS… you want smoke the good shit, hotel, how much you wanna pay….mista. Good price. The main square Djamaa El Fna buzzes late into night with music, story tellers, stalls and all kinds of food sizzling in cast iron pans sending thick smoke and steam into the night air.
Stray cats nonchalantly weaved through the square like wide eyes scruffy ghosts. We find our lodgings for the night and prepare for the mountains.