Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Why Marrakech?

Why would anyone buy a house in Northern Africa and move there from stylish, safe and clean Stockholm and at the same time leave well paid jobs you may ask yourself (and indeed a lot of people have asked us this).

 Smells, Colors, Patterns, Textiles

Our love-affair with Marrakech started with work, having global jobs in fashion and entertainment/film, which took us to this vibrant city that is great for photo-shoots and filming  thanks to the abundance of natural light. After falling under the spell of ”the red city” we spent some time in different Riads and hotels exploring the many faces of Marrakech as tourists.

When Per turned 40 we checked in to legendary luxury hotel La Mamounia and later Per held his birthday-party in beautiful Riad Samarkand. When leaving the birthday celebrations sitting in a taxi on our way to the airport, passing the pink walls of the city and in the distance seeing the crisp Atlas Mountains as a backdrop to rows of palm trees, we both felt that we were not done with this amazing city. We simply had to come back and learn more, see if it was possible and affordable to get a place of our own and be part of this amazing community. Marrakech is exotic, vibrant, colorful and for us it was an instant love affair, where the city chose us just as we chose the city. 

Said and done a couple of months later we returned and with the help of Valerie and her excellent real estate firm Cote Medina we visited many different areas and riads in Marrakech. We actually stayed in the one riad we ended up buying. Dining that first night under the stars and taking a midnight swim in the pool we instantly knew that we had to own this magic little place. We bought the house and called it Riad Arabe.

  View from our roof-top terrace at Riad Arabe

Since that day we have visited Marrakech every second month trying to find a way to have the city as a more permanent base. In the summer of 2014 we both felt we were ready for a longer stay so we told our CEO:s we wanted a break from our jobs, rented out our house in Stockholm and decided to move to the Red City for 12 months.

For centuries Marrakech has attracted the most curious, creative and talented people on the planet. We wanted to join the fans.

Why Marrakech?

For us the main reasons were:
  • The exotic Arabic culture combined with the French sense of style - the best of two worlds!
  • Fantastic climate all year round
  • Possible to buy great property for a reasonable price (perhaps even a good investment?)
  • Vibrant city that truly is like stepping 1000 years back in time
  • Low cost of living, employing staff, renovating etc as well as great craftsmanship available
  • Warm and friendly people with a fantastic sense of humor
  • Easy access - a different world just a 5 hour flight away. 
  • The "jet-set scene" of the Arabic world in combination with the strong French influences ensuring great restaurants, bars and clubs while at the same time maintaining the ancient mystique of 1001 nights.
  • An explosion of impressions, smells, colors, patterns and sounds
  • The views of the Atlas mountains and the dramatic sunsets over the medina
  • Interesting history and a modern, liberal Arabic country

Or, as an unknown wise person said:

"Gore Vidal came for the men, Errol Flynn came for the women. 
Degas and Matisse came to paint. 
Mick Jagger and Brian Jones came to party. 
Winston Churchill and Aristoteles Onassis came to have a great vacation. 
Yves Saint Laurent came for inspiration and to design. 
Tennesse Williams, Peter Mayne, Jack Kerouac and William Borough came to write.
 Alfred Hitchcock and the Sex & the City-team came to make movies. 
H&M, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Gant, Ralph Lauren, 
Tom Ford and many more all came to shoot fashion campaigns."

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A change is gonna come...


Welcome to our blog, A Year in Marrakech, and our very first blog post! It is end October and we face autumn and a cold winter to come here in Sweden. But this blog will not be about Sweden or its unkind Nordic climate. It will be about the warmth, sun, colors, smells and noises of exotic Marrakech in magical Morocco. 

 Fall view from a Berber tent in the Atlas Mountains

From mid January we will live in the ancient medina of Marrakech and we will keep you posted on our adventures on this blog that will act as a travel journal for us during, what will hopefully be, a very exciting and different chapter in our lives. Before we leave we will share with you some basic information about us, the authors (Per&Patrick), facts about Marrakech, how and why we ended up there as well as what is going on in our lives before we leave.

Welcome to join us for (at least) A Year in Marrakech - subscribe to this blog if you want to follow the journey!

Fall in Stockholm, Sweden

The greek word Peripeteia is explained as the reversal of circumstances or the turning point from where there is no return. The English word for this is Peripety.

We passed our turning point, peripety, some time ago when we decided to leave Stockholm and move to Marrakech. A longing for something new, something fresh, something different pushed us over and one day we told our bosses we were leaving our jobs (at least for now), bought flight tickets one way to Morocco and rented out our house in Stockholm. We are once again ready to embark on an adventure and start a new chapter in our lives.

You know that feeling when you know for sure that summer is over and that the seasons are changing, the leaves turning orange (at least in Europe), the air is crisp and you can feel the promise of something new, a fresh start for fall - that feeling of anticipation is now upon us. But this fall for other reasons than just the trees shifting colors. This time we are leaving the routines, the budget processes, fashion weeks, premiers and the responsibilities behind and taking on a completely new continent, Africa and Morocco.

You know the feeling...

Fall in Marrakech is of course something completely different. September, October and November are warm and sunny, 20-30C. The palm trees are green and the snowy Atlas mountains are visible in the crisp and clear air, the heat of the summer has left the city and you can enjoy both lunch and dinner outside.

Fall in Marrakech, Morocco

An unusually hot Swedish summer turned into a warm fall where it was possible to swim in the ocean and dine outside all September even in Scandinavia. October came and the shift in season is here again. The drop in temperature is inevitable. The days are getting shorter, soon it will be dark outside most of the waking hours. The decision has been made. We are leaving.

Winter, snow and cold will soon come and here we are, two Swedes and a Dachshund, heading off to Morocco to settle down in the ancient Marrakech medina for the next year or so. Most practical details are hopefully taken care of. We have some final things to wrap up in our jobs before we leave. Christmas will be spent with our friends surfing and hanging out in their beautiful house, Beach Side Villa, on Lanzarote. January 17 we take off and the new adventure begins.

Living in Morocco? - We can´t see why not!

Here we are, writers of this blog and ex-pats to be: Per & Patrick

If you want to join us on our journey, subscribe to this blog and we will keep you posted.
Here we go!