Photographers are a rare breed. They see the world through the lens of a camera, always aware of beautiful shots, stunning vingettes, powerful moments. And if ever there was a photographer whose lens I wish I could peak into, it would be Jose Villa. Because his life – and every nook and cranny within it – has soul. And texture. And a sense of space and life and history. So when he gave us this rare glimpse into his travels to Morocco – complete with the most breathtaking views and rich, gorgeous palettes – well, we felt like for just a moment, we had been right there with him. There’s so much more in the gallery.
SMP: What was your overall impression of Morocco?
JV: It’s a stunning country with amazing traditional values. Their passion for their families was incredible to watch.
SMP: Had you been before?
JV: No, but I had always wanted to go. As a photographer, I find that I’m drawn to countries that are hard for Americans to travel to. It’s just so darn far! But it’s completely worth the trek.
SMP: Was it how you imagined it would be?
JV: No. It was so much more then what I imagined. If I’m being honest, it proved slightly challenging to get around, primarily because of the language barrier (I tend to stick to countries where I speak the language), but I’m so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone on this one.
SMP: Where did you stay?
JV: We stayed at the Villa Rose Sultan. It’s a small boutique hotel about 15 minutes outside of Marrakech. The owner, a young 30 something year old with a dream, built this stunning resort. I stayed there for 8 days and it was so relaxing. A really great place for some downtime and daydreaming.
SMP: How long were you there?
JV: 8 short days
SMP: Which cities did you visit?
JV: Marrakech, Essaouira, and the stunning Atlas Mountains.
SMP: Any not-to-miss excursions?
JV: You must go to the Atlas Mountains. We rented a car and drove up the hill. It took 2 hours but it ended with the most stunning views I’ve ever seen.
SMP: Any not-to-miss sites?
JV: The Souks in downtown Marrakech are a must! Be ready to buy a block full of gorgeous, handmade items. Walk to the Jamaa El-Fnaa and, as I mentioned, visit the Atlas Mountains.
SMP: The most beautiful thing you saw?
JV: The view from the Frances restaurant overlooking the Jamaa El-Fnaa at sunset.
SMP: The most delicious thing you ate?
JV: Believe it or not, it was French food at a local restaurant by the Atlas Mountains.
SMP: Your favourite thing about Moroccan culture?
JV: The amazing home decor and sense of design. It truly is inspiring.
SMP: Did you bring back any great souvenirs?
JV: Yes, I brought Joel, my husbang, a man bag! Of course, I couldn’t leave without a rug from the market. I also picked up leather handbags for my sisters and mom. And I can’t forget the camel shoes I picked up at the Souks.
SMP: Your favourite Moroccan word/saying? What does it mean?
JV: Shukran. It means thank you! It was the only thing I could remember.
SMP: Anything notable you’d like to add?
JV: Go to morocco to experience a few days in incredible light, color and camels!