So how did our day start? Of course, we all got up early and met for breakfast at seven and then it was time to hit the road for a city tour of Marrakesh.
Marrakesh is the biggest city in Morocco. One interesting fact is that there are no buildings over six stories tall since the main mosque is seven stories high. No large and tall skyscrapers. The Medina or inner city is surrounded by a clay and hay adobe wall that was built in around eight hundred years ago. The new portion of the city is outside the wall and Medina.
We started our Marrakesh tour with a visit to the Majorelle Gardens. The Majorelle Gardens were rescued from being destroyed by Yve St Laurent. He purchased the gardens in ruin and restored them. Most of the gardens were originally planted over one hundred years ago. Majorelle was a famous French artist who fell in love with the beauty and colors of Marrakesh. In the middle of the the Gardens was his studio. The studio was refurbished into a Berber Museum. The museum is quite extraordinary. There are exhibits of the Berber culture including their amazing style of jewelry and clothing.
We then visited a mosque called the “Koutoubia”. This is the main mosque of Marrakesh and the reason why there are no buildings over six stories high. The clouds appearing around the mosque made for some interesting images.
It was then onto the Bahia Palace. The palace is the only one in the Medina and the walls and ceilings were hand crafted and very beautiful.
We then paid a quick visit to the towns of the Saadi Dynasty. It was raining hard and the visit was not as interesting as it could have been. The tombs were all laid out in the ground amongst beautiful gardens.
Now the day really picked up. The group broke up and Olivia, myself and another couple decided not to go back to the hotel but be dropped off at the “Djemaa el Fna Square”. The square is a UNESCO world heritage site. This place is hard to describe. It is a huge flat cobblestone square surrounded by stores and restaurants. There are alleyways leading off the Square to the Souks of Marrakesh. In the Square are snake charmers, people with monkeys, people dancing, acrobats and story tellers. The scene is truly epic. We first needed to have lunch. I had eaten very little for breakfast and I felt light headed. We found a great restaurant on the Square named “Arganan”. The four of us sat down and ordered. I had the rabbit tagine. Very good. Made with dried fruits and in a casserole. It was then off to the souks. I have always told people that you have not lived until you experience a market in Southeast Asia. The same is true for the Souks of Marrakesh. They are alleyways of stores selling everything you could image. It is expected that you bargain. I always will never pay more than one third the starting price and always give the vendor the impression that I am prepared to walk. Almost all the time, the vendor will always say “What do you want to pay?” Olivia had a field day buying earrings, necklaces and clothing. The vendors are very friendly and it is an experience just talking to them and watching the people go by. This Souk, unlike the one in Fes, is much wider so locals deliver goods on motorcycle and cart. We spent about three hours walking around and experiencing this amazing place.
It was now back to the hotel to rest for one hour and freshen up for dinner. We were picked up at the hotel by horse drawn carriages and were driven in them to our restaurant. The restaurant was very Moroccan. Our salad was served in about thirty to forty small dishes and consisted of a variety of eggplant, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins and carrots all made in different ways and styles. The main course I chose was veal cooked with dried fruits. Very tasty and the combination was quite good. While were were eating Moroccan musicians played traditional music and a belly dancer entertained us.
I am so tired and weary from this exhausting and boring day in Morocco.
Talk to everyone tomorrow