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I’ve left Spain for the last time and I’m flying to Marrakech, then Paris! And this is my last post!
What a blur of trip, I can barely remember the order of the places we visited. Instead, I remember feelings and colours and the weather, but the city we were in? I have to idea! I’m disappointed to come to the end of the trip with such a vague remembrance of the experiences. I’m disappointed to miss out on meeting up with friends who are travelling just days after me, and yet I am ready to come home. I miss my bed, my room, the comfort of mum’s food…all a distant memory, sure to shock me as I arrive back, as I look at familiar things with eyes painted by newness and gratitude.
Where did I leave you? We were in Ronda? What a place. Magical and fantasy-like, with houses and shops perched upon a cliff edge decorated with much greenery and birds flitting between each rock face.
We even arrived at golden hour, which made for an supreme colour spread across the rolling farms like honey. After Ronda: Seville. What a gorgeous city. Our walk into town was always a pleasure as we passed a street of cafes filled with locals, and crossed a bridge, underneath which was always someone either kayaking or on a boat. And the Real Alcazar of Seville was something out of a movie. It was splendour in its most literal form, golden and glittering, and utterly stunning. And then it was over, and we moved on to Lagos, Portugal, however with much vigour. The reason? The ocean! Home! Home? Lagos was chilly, almost too chilly for swimming but we craved the ocean too much to care. Our stay there was insubstantial, vague, delusive, as it usually is in holiday villas; a veil of clouds, rain and cold cold cold misted my vision. The setting was not lost on me, but the craving for something real, something permanent began.
Lisbon didn’t help the vagueness, but still, enchanted me with its scenery.
I’ve noticed Europe holds much inspiration for the settings of fairytales, castles and towns. Castles that take your breath away by their synchronicity with nature; hewn into the rock face was a castle in Sintra (a fantastically small village adjacent Lisbon, Portugal) who’s walls could have been man-made blocks or raw rock face. And the colours of the palace across the valley were something other worldly. It was perched on a hill like a giant popped it down ever so gently, stark and bright in the lush greenery. The air up there was incredible, delicious. So crisp and cold, a biting wind invigorating each cell in my body, and so clean, so different to the stench of cities. I felt the fog lift a little from my eyes. If I am taught just one thing from Ayurveda, it is that nature is the ultimate remedy.
Porto was next. I barely left the house. Half out of melancholy, the other because I was becoming ill. Sick! Of all things! In fact I still am sniffling and coughing as I write this, but my sheer frustration of getting ill has prevented it from becoming worse than it is now. I don’t know what’s worse: letting the sickness overcome me so I may recover from it fully, or stay only a little sick for a long time…and guess what? I left my Cough and Cold tonic in Seville! Oh the timing. Thankfully I have a little bit of knowledge for how to prevent any further dive into squalor. Hot water with ginger and lemon sipped throughout the day, early, soupy dinners, early bedtimes and warmth. It’s worked so far, but I am pining for the tonic. That stuff is magic and I bet I would be better by now with it! Have you got the sniffles?
After Porto came Salamanca, and with it a friend!! Finally, someone to talk to, other than Yanis (Yikes, sorry buddy, but you gotta understand, I needed some feminine energy!). We talked and talked and danced and laughed, and my voice left me for a day but it came back so I talked some more. That girl is a riot, and Salamanca either was fun because of her or because it is anyways. Suddenly I had more verve, and things started happening: we got invited into a free art exhibition honouring the life of Japanese painter Toshima Yasumasa, who lived and worked across Spain. We were gifted books (!!) by the curator, who finally had people to talk to in English! The paintings were exquisite. After the gallery we walked past a film set with at least eighty extras milling about, all dressed in the era of the 1920s. The street had old, old cars and dirt scattered everywhere with large boot prints. How thrilling, I wonder the name of the film…A smaller but still encouraging thing happened one night when we met a woman on our walk home, and walked with her, because it was late and dark and it was actually her 21st birthday, and we talked in “perfect” Spanish to her. And the day after I was gifted a pair of jeans that fit like a dream! (A rare, rare thing)
These random happenings solidified a teaching that mum has tried to get me to understand: when you emit the energy you want to receive, you will receive it back, in surprising but fortunate ways. A “can’t” attitude with get you “nothings” and “nevers”, so when you change your perspective the world seems to shift, and you will get what you desire.
We have left Madrid, and spent two nights in our Riad in Marrakech. It’s very beautiful. We are encouraged to speak in low tones, to preserve the tranquility. A breeze rustles the fiery red curtains of the open doors, there is a luxurious feel to the whole place without seeming obnoxious, and it’s suffocatingly hot. The Riad is a stark contrast to the Medina we explored yesterday. The maze of streets made for an overwhelming experience; I was almost rammed by a scooter because I stopped abruptly, and the impossibly narrow streets make it a thrill every time you turn a corner. You really have to flow with the city to navigate it easily, but I still have not wrapped my head around the twisting, winding, untamed streets. It was Eid al-Fitr, so nothing was open, which made for a sweaty exhausting trip for lunch. But in the end we ate, and we ate well. The cous cous here is incredible, and today I am very excited to try a falafel.
Marrakech has already shown me a vastly different experience of travelling. Different to anything we have felt in Spain or Portugal. And it will change again when we fly to Paris, and then again when we finally arrive home. I am grateful to be able to experience some variety while on the trip, broadening my thoughts through difference. Already I am planning my next trip. Travelling has enchanted me and changed me, but routine and solid grounding has kept me sane! Thank goodness I took a leap, and fulfilled a dream. It was scary but worth every cent.
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