The Magic of Marrakech Morocco
Hello Morocco. We have arrived to explore your wonder, beauty and mystery.
As we land we have just flown over hundreds of acres of beautiful green orchards and vegetable gardens, and I am impressed at the resourceful manner the Moroccans are already displaying.
We arrive to be hit by a wave of warm air as we cross the tarmac.
Our passports are stamped, and note, they add a tracking number on the last page of your passport you don’t even realise is there – all hotels require this number.
We are booked into a Riad, and the guy turns up late at the airport to collect us – not a good start. We nearly give up on him, but he turns up and we hop into the awaiting vehicle.
As we are staying in the Medina, I had read it is best not to pay the cheaper price and get dropped off at the edge and end your own way in. This proves to be very correct.
We approach the city walls of the Medina and we are actually feeling like it is a surreal experience being here in North Africa.
We walk across the square at sunset, and as it is Ramadan, the market food area is fast becoming alive with locals eating at the stalls.
The aroma of the food is making us hungry, and we can’t wait to get to our Riad.
As we twist and turn our way through the Souks, we are pleased this man is with us, and we spy all sorts of things we want to come back to purchase. In fact it is an overload moment for me.
We arrive at the Riad and are impressed with the area outside our room. We are asked for full payment up front which is a bit weird, and we pay. Something I don’t usually do, and won’t do again.
The room has three single beds, and Explorason thankfully goes for the skinny one nearest the bathroom. One roll and I would have been off! There is a central courtyard in the Riad and an upstairs terrace area too.
Explorason enjoys a dip in the plunge pool in the courtyard!
The first night I get what feels like jet lag.
We are led to a restaurant to eat, and I wanted to eat at the markets, but we sat and by then I was too tired to eat.
I learnt when you order a juice, unless you ask it is mixed with orange juice, so banana and mango are best asked to be mixed with milk, but you also need to request they are cold, and often are not. They just don’t have ice. Things you get used to.
Here we eat at the market stalls one night. Tajine’s are often wonderful, and very flavoursome.
Salads and skewered metas are also bountiful. Happy staff pose for pictures.
You get a great sweet fresh mint tea if you look for one that has it prepared in the glasses – number one food staff definitely has it.
You can see the smoke rise as they start to cook. Being Ramadan there are some weary, and short tempered locals. Hot, hungry and tired from the lack of food.
So when 7:45 p.m. comes along, the food market is alive with tourists and locals all hungrily eating.
This can be a place where you get pestered, sneezed on and heckled, but in the end I would wander through with a smile and a shake of the head.
My throat grew sore with the repeated declines as we wandered through to where we wanted to eat.
Also beware – they might serve out plates of olives and condiments and tell you they are free if you ask, then they will add them to the bill at the end.
Now make no mistake. The are some Aladdin’s Caves in the market. Once you are in, it is hard to escape.
There are camel, cotton, lamb, sheep and even donkey hair mats, rugs, carpets and runners. Some are machine made. Some handmade, and some are antique.
You ned to know your rugs so if you plan to buy one do some research as the prices vary.
I heard the cheapest place to buy is near Rabat where a big carpet handmade can be 300 – 600 DH, but I am yet to confirm if that is true.
Shipping and postage is crazy prices if you try to do it yourself, so if you buy, let the seller ship for you, and get a valuation and receipt.
Also be aware that customs for places like Australia will take snakeskin and some other things off you, so be wary of what you buy.
There are snake charmers in the middle of the square, but be warned – go near and pay.
I bought two leather pouffés and we had a bit of fun! They pack flat so idea for travel, or a fun hat I joke.
At night the lantern and lighting stores are just so beautiful.
I bought a few cheaper ones, and I am pretty glad I did.
However, not sure how well they will ship home.
On one occasion we were lured into a spice and oil souk in the rear of the Medina.
This guy was a pretty smooth talker, and seemed nice. He even offered to have us share the Ramadan celebration with his family in Meknes, but the timing was wrong for us. He did gain some sales from us including the treasured Argon Oil.
I also managed a two Euro massage – and I wish I was there right now having another – she was good!
Every night when we went out to dinner we made new friends at the market food stall.
This group from Mexico we ran into several times, and they helped me to bargain some prices on things too.
We ended up meeting and having lunch with them one day as well. It was nice to make friends.
Another time we made friends with a Dutch Mum and her daughter, and ended up doing a tour with them next day – just lovely people!
In total, we spent four days in Marrakech. It is a pretty clean and safe place we felt.
It has been easy to get around (even when we were lost in the Medina).
They say the thing to do is to watch the sunset from the rooftop of a restaurant in the square.
So up we went. You have to buy a drink to get in, so we do. Coke is about ten or fifteen DH.
We have a wonderful time in Marrakech. As the sunsets we say farewell to this city.
We’ve made friends, fed the local cats and kittens each night in the alleys, and we have shopped.
Now it is time to move on and see some more of Morocco. If you think you will see a better sunset in the desert, you may well not. The colours here are so vibrant, and the desert has a haze of sand, so enjoy them here.
To me the magic of Morocco really is in the beauty of the creation of the most vivid sunsets I have had the pleasure to behold.
Sadly I can’t recommend the wonderful Riad we stayed at as we had a problem financially that I am trying to resolve, where we were ripped off. I’ll blog on it if we don’t get our money and expose the thief. But I hope he is honest and sorts it out. I patiently wait on that one – in hope !