After seeing hundreds of stunning pictures of Marrakech’s famous Jardin Majorelle on Instagram, I finally managed to visit back in June. While I couldn’t deny that the garden is beautiful, seeing it in real life gave me an uneasy feeling. What looked in pictures like an oasis of calm away from the madness of the city seemed more like a chaotic convergence of all of the ‘influencers’ in Marrakech (of which there are many!).
Marrakech has become a hotspot for Instagram influencers from around the world (image: Ethel Da Costa)
The garden is a magnet for Instagrammers for a number of reasons – its towering and oh-so-photogenic palm trees, the striking blue fountains, and the fact that it’s located next-door to the Yves Saint-Laurent museum.
Many of French fashion designer, Yves Saint-Laurent’s designs were inspired by his time in Morocco (image: Grazia ME)
Everywhere you looked people were posing, trying to look casual after having elbowed six other people out of the way to get a prime spot in front of a fountain or a giant cactus while their friend / bored Instagram husband snapped away, hoping against hope that there would be one shot without somebody taking a selfie in the background. Everyone had a smart phone in their hand and I barely saw anyone just looking around and enjoying the garden.
It’s incredible how much easier it is to travel these days than it was a generation ago. But when did travelling become more about getting likes on Instagram than about exploring beautiful places, meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures, and informing our understanding of the world?
As amusing/terrifying as this experience was, it actually made my trip to Morocco ten times better. It reminded me to stop, put my phone down, and enjoy the moment. To appreciate the wonderful places I was visiting with my eyes instead of through my screen.
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