It took hours of curious immersion into other travel blogs, into your blogs, to realise that some see the world through the story-filled faces of local people. And some see it through the cracks in the walls of dilapidated architectural foundations. Some of you taste the world through potent spice racks and vividly stained fruits of the forest. Some of you ascend bold terrains and plummet into lucent water, the palms of your hands and soles of your feet directly in contact with the elements, like a new baby to a mother’s breast.
I am yet to discover my own lens. Perhaps I superficially skim the collective surface of several facades but in Marrakech, I saw a city through its arches. Within hours of arriving, these flirtatious arches lured me into Marrakech’s tapering streets and bustling souks. I found them to be simple and understated on the front doors of family homes and cosy Riads and I marvelled at the ornate detail of the arches of Ben-Youssef Madrasa.I frolicked in the splash of colour at the summery arches of the Marjorelle Gardens and once I spotted the first arch, the rest followed suit like a loyal shoal of fish.
I couldn’t help but wonder what the arches concealed. Some were opaque and deadlocked to the interfering eyes of a tourist. Others allowed in a breadth of natural light and air, oxygenation to those of us with a thirst for discovery. I felt a nosy urge to swing through them in monkey-like fashion, to shuffle timidly up the blocked staircases, to snoop into the struggles and joys of the family lives and business skills they were masking.
I cannot explain to you the physics behind an arch and I have no understanding of the structural properties that keep an arch standing but somehow, I was drawn to these semi-elliptical shapes and in almost an instant, as I touched down back in England, the arches were gone. I imagine there just aren’t many around – or perhaps the hurried routine of daily life means that I merely fail to notice them but the pointed sharp corners I keep spotting in London seem uninviting and clinical in comparison.
Pumpkin sneered a little when, in the middle of a dusty side road in Marrakech, under the stony shade of an arch, I blurted out, “I’m going to do a post on arches in Marrakech.” He thought it unlikely that I’d be able to gather enough images on such a specific theme but when I started work on this post and he realised how much trouble I was having scaling down my arch photos, he was soon swallowing his words…
Have you ever viewed a city through its shapes or colours? Do any of these arches catch your eye?