Marrakech Part 2

Hello

As I am writing this now I am wrapped up warmly at home wishing I was back in the Moroccan heat.

Day 3

After a lovely day out in the jewish quarter and the Saadian tombs we came back to the Riad and got ready for the evening meal as it was my mums birthday. We went to Le Jordin which was recommended to us through the guide book. After a wonderful meal we went back and packed for out trip to the Atlas mountains the next day.

Day 4 and 5

To break up the trip with a to the mountains was perfect as it was the complete opposite to the city. After an hour and a half drive we arrived and had unpacked we ate lunch and made plans for what to do that afternoon.

We decided on a hike to a local viewing point with a local guide. Unfortunately one of our group was ill so she did not join us for the hike, once we got to the top of the hill and I stopped whining we took in the view which was incredible. When we returned to the hotel all muddy and feeling sore we had dinner, played bananagram and went on the terrace to look at the stars and the milky way.

The next day we split into two groups one who went on a longer hike than the day before and one who stayed at the hotel, I stayed at the hotel and myself and my mum walked down to the next main village to have a look around. After lunch we packed up and went back to the Riad to find dinner waiting for us.

Day 6

As we wanted to try and fit everything in over the next few days we headed to the Ben Youseff Madrassa and the Maison de la Photographie to have a look around. The Madrassa was covered in beautiful art work on the ceilings and decoration around doors, windows and floors. With such high ceilings the rooms were the height of two stories covered in intricate designed  brick work. After admiring the architecture we moved on to the photography museum which was three floors full of beautiful pictures by Moroccan artists.

When returning to the Riad we decided to split up again into groups some stayed at the Riad and the others went to the market again. Walking through the market was different when I was with my parents no one seemed to bother us or shout after us so we were able to shop and not feel harassed. In the evening we had a meal together and played games.

Day 7

To mix up the sights mum booked a trip to see the Ourika waterfall. Two members of the group weren’t feeling great, so the group was split up again. After a long car journey we made it to the waterfall and found a guide to take us up the waterfall. I would recommend getting a guide as we almost didn’t and very happy that we did. Once we got to the waterfall we had some tea climbed a bit more and then headed back to have some lunch. After having lunch on the river we jumped into the car and headed back to the city to join the rest of our poorly group.

Day 8

As it was my mums birthday on Sunday some of us treated her to a Hammam and massage which my dad joined her for so us kids had a lazy morning at the Riad just reading and hanging out.

Once my parents returned we had lunch and went back to the market to find items for the house and ourselves. After looking some Funduqs which were stabling for traders which have been converted into artisan workshops we found one selling good quality leather bags after half an hour of umming and urring four of us walked out very happy with bags or satchels. As we were heading back to the Riad we found a shop that sold ceramics that was just about to close that had a jug that we had been looking for all holiday after some haggling we walked out with the jug.

Day 9

As it was our last day we got up early and tried to cram in as much as possible First up was the Bahia Palace which was full of gardens and beautiful decoration in each room. With intricately decorated fountains to wooden door panels which were decorated  with paintings of flowers. Once we finished at the palace we rushed off to the Koutoubia Mosque the outside was beautifully designed with hidden speakers lining the top half of the mosque so call to prayer was heard. As we were not allowed in the mosque we went to the gardens next to the mosque and had a look around had a drink and wondered back to the Riad to have lunch and then catch a plane.

If your planning a holiday soon look into Marrakech the weather was amazing and the food was superb. Although the Souks were not as enjoyable we found some smaller ones hidden in the city which we returned to multiple times. I would defiantly return again as I could look at the architecture and gardens all day. If you want to see any pictures from the trip have a look at my instagram or twitter.

Bye for now

Sarah

Marrakech Part 1

Hello

As a treat my parents have taken the family on holiday for a well needed break in the lovely hot Marrakech. We are here for eight days so I will split the trip into parts otherwise this post will go on forever.

Day 1

After getting up at three to get a cab to Gatwick we made it to Marrakech and once settled we started to explore the city.

First up the vegetable market, streets full of stalls selling fruit and vegetables packed to the brim on stands. As we walked through the streets people approached us trying to sell us what was on their stalls.

Continuing to the market square we passed the old city full of traders selling clothes, bags, spices and beautiful lamps and bowls all brightly coloured all intricately decorated . Walking through the souk each merchant was yelling that we should come to them that they were cheaper than their neighbour. Finally we made it to the market square as it was a Friday it was quiet as it was the siesta which is when everything closes for three hours so everyone can go home eat and sleep. Again the merchants approached us trying to sell hats, baskets and more spices.

The market felt different from the souk, as not as many men were shouting after us although the women started to call us to look at their stalls. After having some lunch at Cafe de Spice(we found it on Trip Adviser) which I would  recommended with a varied selection from classic Moroccan dishes to more Western meals. The staff were lovely and also recommended other restaurants in the area and offered to make the bookings for us to save us time.

We moved on and continued to look around the market and the area surrounding ending up in a Hammam which is a Moroccan spa to look around. Ending the day we walked back to our Riad (Moroccan house) and found a restaurant that had roof  top seating so we could look at the view.

Day 2

After having a Moroccan breakfast at the riad we called a taxi and went to the new town which is the more modern part of Marrakech with big shopping centres and a massive supermarket.

Once in the new town we went to the Majorelle Gardens originally the home of artist Jacques Majorelle  who originally created the garden. After visiting the garden Yves Saint Laurent bought the garden in 1980 to save it from being redeveloped into a hotel complex. After restoring the garden back to its former glory Laurent and his partner Pierre lived in the house, when Laurent died a memorial was made and put in the garden.

Walking around the garden it did not feel busy, you rarely had to stop and wait to get a view of the different features in the garden which included four different water features. While walking around you were sheltered by multiple palm trees  or shelters that were covered in climbing plants. The garden was complimented by brightly coloured blue, green and yellow ceramic pots bursting with colourful flowers and green plants.

As I continued through the gardens I came to the Love gallery with its walls covered in different Saint Laurent illustrations of  the word Love from various years. These were sent as new years cards  to his friends and clients of the fashion house, my favourite being 1988 with the words Yves Saint Laurent  in different colours surrounding the word love in blue and green outlined in yellow.

After the garden we jumped in our taxi and went to a Kasbah in new town which was like the souk but without the haggling of prices. In the evening we walked to the market square again as in the evening it is meant to be busy and boy was it. As soon as we walked into the square it felt like being a tourist in London, large crowds were surrounding us either gambling or enticing  tourists with dancing or music with hundreds of food stalls in the background.

After wondering around and having every trader we passed try and make us eat at their establishment we picked one with cheers from the staff as we sat down. Seeing as we wanted something light to eat it was perfect, as we sat we were given bread and olives on the house and told everything was good.

The only thing I have noticed so far as a young female tourist  is the men look at us differently calling after us and making rude gestures above clothing to us. The worst of it happened in the souk but the market square wasn’t as bad. While in the new town it does not happen which was interesting.

I am now off to the Jewish quarter and some more exploring in the ridiculous 37 degree heat.

Bye for now

Sarah