Marrakesh has many nicknames. Two are in the title.
The first one, less known (the usual one is 'The Red City' due to some of its buildings' color) refers to the actual color of virtually every building in town, even new construction, due to the color of the plaster. The pink color is never too light and never too solid. It's soft if the sun doesn't shine and it's warm and full if hit by sunlight.
The second nickname is romantic and recalls images in my mind now that I visited it.
I am happy I visited a new city. I am happy I visited a new country. I am happy I visited a new continent.
But this is not just to tick some boxes. I am happy because I've extensively traveled Europe and the USA, and therefore nothing ever seemed extremely different from something I have visited before. I love Europe and the USA, but I am happy I visited something that is out of anything that can have familiar view.
Stephanie went there few days earlier than me because she was a speaker at a conference at the University (University .Cadi Ayyad).
We stayed at a friend's riad (riad is a traditional Moroccon house with an interior courtyard) which was an exquisite example of how a plain shell can contain a beautiful pearl. Restored and colorful, the riad was a pleasant insight of actual Moroccon lifestyle.
I arrived Saturday and we stayed together until Wednesday. Saturday and Sunday she had to attend the conference and speak so I had other plans.
I walked the alley and the markets; observed the locals; smelled the foods and spices and incense and teas; talked to many locals and few foreigners; bargained with shop owners.
You definitely bargain a lot, from food to items to taxi fares. It's in the culture of the city. I know it's something you do in Jerusalem too, so perhaps it's a North African custom.
The weather was not the best. It was sunny the first day, half sunny-and-cloudy two days, and it rained the last day. During the night, it actually rained pretty hard.
The city is colorful and lively. The shadows of the souks, or souqs (a souk is a market) can't block the colors of their displays. Colors from rugs, metal, spices, people, cats.
There are a lot of stray cats who wander around, and are let be and often fed.
Speaking of food for people, the food is always good, it's just a matter where you get it and how much you pay for it.
One of my favorite foods was a simil-tajine (tajine is a historically Berber dish) that I've bought on the way back from the tanneries on a dusty, badly paved alley corner from a young man. I wanted it to go so he stuffed the meat in the bread and added olives and oil.
My favorite meal was at our friend's mother's house. She hosted us and other people from the conference and her dishes, traditional and homemade, were delicious, delicate, filling.
I forgot the names, but not the taste and the memory will stay.
The landmarks are the historical palaces and big complexes, and that's where the tourists mostly gather, but they are very interesting nonetheless. Still pink, they can be artistic from the Islamic elegant art depictions, or formal like their former occupiers (e.g.: El Badi Palace).
Noisy, busy, full, colorful - the city has atmosphere.
At least three different languages are heard at any time, French, Arab and English.
At least one person will start talking to you when you even just look at a market shop for long enough (few seconds can already be a catch).
The city has energy and it's alive.