Well I hope you haven’t been holding your breath for this post.  It’s been a while since I’ve cracked open wordpress and pecked away about my latest adventures but I’m wiping the dust off my keyboard because I’ve had an amazing time these past few many weeks, including a trip to Marrakech, Morocco and a return journey to Amsterdam.

For those of you geographically challenged, Morocco is on the north west curve of Africa.  Yeah, Africa.  The first distinguishing feature as I took the first few baby steps out of the fuselage was the warmth.  Coming from London’s coldest winter in 40+ years I was so pleased to strip off my layers to partake in socal-esque weather.  Being taxied from the airport to our rihad was my first encounter with the flow of traffic in Marrakech; otherwise known as insanity.  The streets are filled with clusters of cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, carts, horse-drawn carriages, and people.  Anything short of lightning-fast reflexes here and you’re destined for some cataclysmic collision.  You’re forced to drop your anxieties and just have faith that your feet won’t be crushed by the tire of a motorcycle, hoof of a horse, or wheel of a tractor.  The Riad Chouia Chouia was our place of residence for our time in Marrakech.  The Riad carried an atmosphere of comfort, coolness, and tranquility.  It’s walls were adorned with trinkets of Moroccan culture, its atrium was host to an array of plants and flowers, and it’s rooftop terrace was the site of our late-night digressions and early morning groggy breakfasts.  The Riad was conveniently located a short 5 minute walk from the main square so after a quick settling into our rooms we made our way to the bustling square.  This square was lined with brightly lit stalls that featured various juices, nuts, dates, etc.  Crowds of people were weaving in and out of the area, punctuated by various salesmen all pitching the same, cheap products.  The degree of aggressive entrepreneurialism was shocking.  It was also a glaring reminder of the poverty that inundates Marrakech.  Throughout the trip we were frequented by desperate children begging for food or spare change.  It was disheartening but was part of the experience I had anticipated.  That first night we enjoyed exploration of the square and the markets and some traditional Moroccan food.  The next few days were highlighted by a sketchy tour of the tanneries, some bargaining, more great Moroccan food, sun tanning, monkey handling, and snake charming.  Marrakech really reminded me a lot of a less touristy/glitzy version of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Solid trip, such a great break from the concrete, steel, and chill of London.

A few weeks after Morocco I took a return trip to Amsterdam to visit Annie, a friend who is studying there.  She and the family she is staying with were nice enough to house both me and Josh.  I could use a bunch of other synonyms to describe this house and still abide by Bro Code article 48 but it simply wouldn’t do the house or atmosphere any justice; the house/family/atmosphere was damn cute.  Two cats were perpetually curled up in balls our entire stay, the mother offered us crepes 24/7 with our selection of either bacon, cheese, or ice cream and also took us on a little mini-tour of her childhood home in Amsterdam.  The whole family was super accommodating and the kitchen was stocked with these tea cookies that I still occasionally dream about.  As far as touristy stuff I took a trip back to the Van Gogh museum; which mind-blew me again.  The clear evolution of Van Gogh’s work is truly spectacular.  His perspective on a common object accentuates details that I would normally overlook.  Incredible stuff.  Equally provocative was our visit to the Anne Frank house.  To walk upon the same wood floors and ascend the steep staircase that Anne Frank did over 60 years ago is a harrowing experience.  Amazing.

A lot of other stuff has happened over the ridiculous amount of time I’ve neglected my blog.  But most recently my stomach took a delicious pit stop at French Chef Joel Robuchon’s London establishment, L’Atelier.  Check the pics.

Egg Cocotte Topped with Light Wild Mushroom Cream

House Cheese Selection