Boutique within the boutique hotel
My French friend was rather demanding when it came to the use of the French language – very Académie française – he was giving me daily lessons and insisted upon only the most correct grammar. So he laughed a lot about the notion of a “boutique” hotel. He and his wife thought it very strange but when one day he encountered my small gift shop tucked away in the corner of the entrance, he was thrilled:
“Voici la boutique!” he cried with great joie de vivre. He insisted that his wife come and look too. “Voila!”
The boutique was, however, getting low on stock so John and I recently travelled far and wide, mostly to Morocco, to find interesting and unusual gifts for you to take home to your grandchildren.
Anis toothpicks, Berber lipstick, foot scrapers from the hamman, silk purses and much more. Have a browse when next you visit the boutique hotel in Cartajima. You may find things you never knew existed.
And that is what happens when you cross over the few kilometres of the Straits of Gibraltar onto African soil. You can stay in Tanger where the ferry arrives or venture further south either by train, or car (which is much more tricky and more dangerous) or fly from Sevilla which is what John and I mostly do. Choose your season and you can get to Fez or Marrakech on a very short flight at a very cheap price.
And you could not even begin to imagine the treasures you find in a place like this, the Djemma el Fna square in the very centre of Marrakech. It´s an ancient trading and market place where people from all over the world still gather to inspect the wares on offer.
But you have to be brave and fearless. Morocco is not for the faint of heart. You have to be prepared to stray down dark alleys to seek out the strange and wonderful. You have to be prepared to fight off the shoeshine men or, if you are younger than us, the hash sellers.
John and I once did a cooking lesson which wasn´t actually very interesting and nothing that the accomplished cook of Los Castaños didn´t know, she said modestly and with her tongue firmly in her cheek! We shared the class with two young Danish guys and, when we met on the rooftop of the building to eat what we had watched being cooked, we exchanged experiences like you do when you meet fellow travellers.
Whilst it turned out that we were constantly being heckled by shoeshine men, they were frequently stopped and persuaded to buy some hash. Their shoes were just as dusty as mine! Anyway, if you need any assistance getting to Africa, we can help. We have contacts with good reliable guides who will protect you from all hecklers.