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Alegria Abroad- Beldi Country Club and Moroccan Medinas
After leaving the desert, we checked into Beldi Country Club, a stunning garden hotel just outside of the city. Locals use it as a public pool and spa and then tucked away in another part of the gardens is an Eco-luxury hotel. With an outdoor space overlooking the Atlas Mountains and gardens of olive trees, palms, and roses in every color this sustainable hotel was constructed with local and traditional materials by local artisans to make the space as gorgeous as it is authentic.
Being at Beldi was an exercise in practicing self-love. We were far enough from the city that it didn't make sense to leave and go to the medina, center of town, so I spent most of my days there wandering around the beautiful gardens, laying by the pool, or spending 3 hours at a time in the spa.
|Beldi Country Club|
Once I was sufficiently soaked, she came back with Moroccan black soap and a rough glove, scrubbed my entire body, and got rid of dead skin that I may have had for centuries to come. I felt like I was glowing when I walked out. From there I was lead straight into the massage room and had all my dead skin replaced with beautifully fresh essential oils as well as one of the best massages of my life.
After that came the facial but by then I swear I was floating five feet off the ground, so I don't remember much of that. Somehow I found my way from the spa through gardens filled with roses and thyme and managed to collapse my way into the bubble bath in my room where I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all served in a beautiful outdoor dining room completely covered in gorgeous flowers. At night, the beautiful Moroccan lamps glowed under the flower canopy, and it looked like something straight out of a fairytale.
We left the Beldi oasis to check into blue and white walled paradise of Le Riad Yasmine in the medina, or old city. Gorgeous pool with a beautiful layout and a lovely French woman who ran the whole thing. As tempted as we were to spend the entire day lounging by the pool it was our first opportunity to experience the medina, so we took advantage of that. What an opportunity it was! I think I bought the entire medina. Poufs, Moroccan rugs, at least five pairs of shoes, because you can’t ever have enough shoes, gorgeous wool scarves, and fragrant teas.
Oh, and leather bags. Because we've entered leather heaven. But, in between all the buying, the experience was a little hectic. The souks, shops, in the medina are set up in a small, crowded labyrinth, and it quickly becomes a muddled mess of confused tourists, yelling street vendors, and motorbikes swerving everywhere.
It took me a few days to get the swing of all the chaos, but once you learn to appreciate it for its insanity, the experience is less overwhelming. We toured the tanneries to see how the leather here is made and found out that it’s soaked in pigeon poop. We talked to amazing makers who truly find their life's purpose in what they're creating and we smelled every spice that has ever existed.
After a super bumpy taxi ride, we hopped out and immediately had all our luggage picked up by a Moroccan man with a cart. He unceremoniously shoved my camera bag right up front where it looked perilously close to tipping and in danger of being run over by millions of motorbikes. I was running to keep up with him still not totally sure what was going on. He led us down a series of small corridors, and we finally ended up at Riad Berbere.
I cried when they opened the door - the entire place smelled like roses and in the middle of the Riad there's a beautiful little pool surrounded by massive banana trees and other lush greenery. It's the best oasis the medina could ever have and completely counterbalances the craziness of the red city.
More to come from Riad Berbere in my next post.