Marrakech - Hectic!

Trip Start Oct 10, 2011
Trip End Nov 11, 2011

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Riad Marrakiss

Flag of Morocco  ,
Monday, October 31, 2011

The medina (old town) of Marrakech is one of the least peaceful places we've been to in a while. Getting from A to B is a difficult but fun process of weaving between people, cats, donkey carts, horse-drawn carriages, cars and mopeds. Combined with the wafting smells from kitchens and spice stands (and a few less savoury sources), it is a fascinating assault on all the senses!

The main square in the Medina (which we are not far from) is slightly less busy but just as chaotic, with a mixture of stalls selling orange juice and food, people displaying various wares for purchase, monkey and snake handlers (I still find the cobras disturbing when they look at me directly), musicians and countless other goings-on.

The people here are all fluent in both French and Arabic, and most people have (at least) a smattering of English. A large proportion of the tourists appear to be French, which is unusual based on our other travels. Unfortunately, Moroccans don't appear to have been exposed to the Asian world much, because without fail, Sophia is greeted with "Konichiwa!" or "Hello! Japan?".

One of the best ways to get away from it all is of course to eat or drink. We've been to quite a few different restaurants and cafes and had delicious tajines with all kinds of interesting spices, cous cous dishes, sausages, Moroccan sandwiches and typical local pastries. To go with that, there is always some slightly sweet fresh Moroccan bread, washed down by freshly squeezed orange juice and/or mint tea. Going to a tea house and/or gardens is most peaceful!

The major tourist sites have also been interesting. The intricate woodwork in the Bahia Palace was a standout, as were the Saadian tombs. The open courtyards and gardens of the palace are particularly peaceful and made me think that I would much prefer to have lived in a palace like this than one of the grand European equivalents.
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