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Posts tagged ‘Cactus’

Marrakech on Paper: Rooftop Afternoon at the Riad La Ksour

Our trip to Marrakech would have been half the experience were it not for the utterly comfortable, sensationally stylish and perfectly hospitable experience of staying in the Riad Dix Neuf La Ksour. Despite being located mere steps from the bustling Souks and the main Jemaa El Fna square, as soon as you walked through the discreet doorway into this traditional Moroccan home, it was like entering into a kind of parallel universe, where a haven of utmost tranquility ensnared the senses and provided complete rest in the very centre of Marrakech.

Like most Riads, La Ksour follows the traditional set-up of these ancient Moroccan houses, focusing around a cool patio garden with a pool at its centre before ascending to a resplendent roof terrace from which the views of Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains beyond were all that they were promised to be.

It was on this roof terrace that we loved to pass an hour or so of each day, especially in the morning to hear the first early call to prayer, or later in the evening when sunset turned the pink city even rosier than usual. However under the sun of the mid afternoon, my favourite retreat would be to head for a lovely covered canopy on the terrace where an abundance of cacti and other succulent plants grew in ancient looking pots of every shape and size. The resulting corner was so cosy and green that I would never have known that around me temperatures were ascending to desert highs, and instead I would settle down there, usually alone, with my diary to hand, and write my account of our Marrakech experience.

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Rooftop Afternoon at the Riad La Ksour (2017 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

This little painting, created with gouache on paper, captures that quaint corner and the moment in mid afternoon when I would enjoy it most. Painted in the same format as my Honeymoon Suite series of 2015, it represents a continuation of that collection, and of that same blissful feeling which made our original honeymoon travels so unique.

Thanks to the team at the Riad Dix-Neuf La Ksour for making our stay so comfortable, pampered and safe. You made it for us, and this painting is dedicated to you.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the artwork of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, visit http://www.delacybrown.com 

Discovering Mallorca: Botanicactus

Botanicactus, on the outskirts of Mallorca’s quaint little town of Ses Salines, does what it says on the tin. That is, it’s a large botanical garden with an even greater collection of cacti, and was a true highlight of Easter’s recent weekend of new discoveries on this island of plenty. The collection of plants is indeed so great that it covers some 150,000 square metres of land and features some 12,000 incredible cacti with a staggering 1,000 different species.

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Entering the cactus garden, ringed within an expansive Mexican style tiled-wall, made for an experience quite unlike any other I have had before. This shouldn’t be a surprise, for I have never before been surrounded by such a vast collection of these spiky species, and when cacti grow so huge and tall, and with such an eclectic mix of varieties, the overall effect is to wander into an alien like world, a planet unlike the earth we know so well. The extremes of shapes and colours, all covered by hostile spikes and poisonous looking flowers feels fictional, menacing, and yet immeasurably beautiful.

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What struck me most of all was the beauty of the layering – the complex strata of different species set over and infant of rolling hills which had an overall effect of lavish abundance without equal. Seeing those cacti towering above us, I was unable to believe that these gardens had only been founded some 26 years ago. That just goes to show what some rich Mediterranean soil and a little Mallorcan sunshine can do. Fingers crossed it has the same effect on the cacti we installed on our terrace last autumn…

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2016 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.