April 11, 2012

Holiday Photos: Marrakech

Aah, Marrakech... To me, it's an amazing city that still breathes the traditional Moroccan traditions while embracing modern life. From all the cities we've visited on our trip, Marrakech surely was the most touristy and adapted to foreigners. We spent 3 days in this city and visited almost everything, so if you're planning to go there, don't stay in the city for more than 3 days or you'll be bored! There are lot of posibilities for trips outside the city (like we did too) so don't panic ;)
We arrived in Marrakech in the early evening, tired after a 4-hour train ride  and starving, so our first stop after unpacking was the Jemaa el-Fna square, the central market place where you can have a delicious meal at one of the food-stalls. There are about hundred of them, so it's hard to choose where to sit down and eat! Of course the waiters of each food-stall try to convince you their food is the best of the whole city...

If you're not that hungry, you can still buy dried fruits, olives, dades and the BEST FRESH ORANGE JUICE EVER for only 4 Dirham which is less than 40 eurocents! Seriously, every morning we bought a msemen, Moroccan pancakes (picture) with honey or Nutella or whatever you like which cost about 30 cent each and a glass of fresh orange juice so we had a delicious breakfast for less than 1 euro! SCORE

So, after those pancakes were eaten, we visited El Badi Palace, not so impressive but nice to visit, and the Koutoubia Mosque - the outside, entrance is muslims only - where we sat down for a bit to enjoy the sun. Marrakech definitely was the warmest city of our trip, so we had to enjoy it! I did wear tights though, people were staring at me enough already ;)
Next up: the famous souks of Marrakech! Although they're not so authentic as those in Fes for example, but very big and nice to get lost in. I saved up all my money to spend in Marrakech, because I didn't want to carry lots of souvenirs in my backpack for ten days! I bought a lovely leather bag, a cashmere scarf, delicious spices and my boyfriend gave me a ring (that sadly broke last week :( Luckily it can be repared) and I bought him a silver teapot and tray to match with the tea glasses I gave him for his birthday. Be sure to bargain in the souks! It is considered rude if you just immediately pay the price they ask at first. And the game of bargaining and negotiating makes it much more fun than normal shopping. 

After the hectic and sometimes crowded souks, we could find some rest in the Madrasa Ben Youssef, the 14th century Quran school in the middle of the old city:

Showing off my new bag!

We had lunch in a tiny restaurant that made us drool with its delicious smell of grilled fish. We were the only non-Moroccans eating there! Best tip if you travel to Morocco: don't go to the tourist restaurants! They may seem authentic, but you can get so much better food if you go to a local place and it will cost you less! And the atmosphere is so much nicer <3

Just looking at this makes me drool!

 Next up was the Bahia Palace with its beautiful and peaceful garden:

Our last stop was the Menara of Marrakech with the Sadian pavilion:

 It is told that the sultan slept with a different girl each night in the pavilion and threw her in the lake the morning after... Romantic!

Oh I miss it <3

Photos from our last two days are coming soon! In case you missed it, here are my previous holiday posts: Rabat, Meknes and Fes