Marrakech - Day 2

Trip Start May 14, 2007
Trip End May 30, 2007

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Monday, May 28, 2007

This morning we had a wonderful breakfast at the hotel.  Fresh fruit cocktail, various pastries, yogurt, orange juice and coffee and divine hot crepes.  Yum. 

Abdul and the medina quide picked us up and we went off to explore Marrakech's medina.  The streets here are a little wider than in Fes but the same hustle and bustle and distinct smells still exist.

We also visited the house of the Grand Vizier.  At one period (I think the late 1800's)  the reigning king died and his eldest son was only 14.  The Vizier ruled the country for about 7 years until the boy was old enough to take the throne.  Anyway,  this guy had 4 wives and over 20 concubines.  The wives each had their own suite of rooms but the poor concubines had to double up.  I find learning about history this way more interesting than visiting museums.  You're walking and standing where they did.  At one point our guide, who spoke beautiful English but with an accent of course, was explaining about the carving and mosaic work throughout the house.  He told us because Moroccons cannot have "feces" on the walls they use something from nature instead, like flowers and leaves.  It was only after he finished the whole sentence that I realized he meant "faces".

In the afternoon we went back to the medina's main square, Djemaa el-Fna.  During the day the "restaurants" are gone and there are a lot less people so we didn't feel as overwhelmed as the night before.  Also during the day is when the snake charmers come out.  Ok, I admit we fell for it and got our picture taken holding a snake and also a few pictures of the mesmerized cobras.  Randy also got a picture taken with a monkey.  There are several orange juice vendors in the square and for one dirham you can get a fresh squeezed, ice cold glass of orange juice.  It's a perfect treat on a hot afternoon.

After meandering around the square we went back to our hotel to shower and change as Abdul had made reservations at a surprise restaurant for the evening.

We had 8:00 reservations at Fantasia Chez Ali.  A wealthy man with a great idea built a palace about 20 minutes out of town and turned it into a restaurant.  You eat in tents that are spectacularly decorated.  But prior to dinner you can walk around and look at all the costumed singers and musicians that line the large walkway.  The whole night is a reenactment of Berber life.  Berbers are the original Moroccans and they now live in the Atlas mountains.  After dinner you sit in stands around an arena as they recreate a typical Berber wedding.  Horses, camels, brightly decorated actors all participate.  It is quite a sight and makes the dinner show "Medieval Times" look rinky dink.  Randy and I were overwhelmed.  It was awesome.

Tired and full of Moroccan food we went back to our hotel room for a last, relaxing drink in the courtyard and to wonder what the next day would bring.
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