Morocco…last days!

Anyway continuing from the last post…we’re onto day 3! After another lovely breakfast at the riad (it was different everyday and authentic) we marched on over to the taxi rank and paid 10 dirham (about 75p) each to get to our sight-seeing spots. Marrakesh is made up the medina (the old walled city) and the new city. The medina has a total of 19 gates and we were dropped outside this gate, Bab Agnou which is the grandest of them all.

Bab Agnaou

We spent a little while exploring the Saadian Tombs which is a rather grand necropolis built by the Saadian Sultan Ahmed El Mansour in the 16th century for himself and his successors.

2 Saadian tombs

There was no question on how grand and elaborate this place was as a final resting place for these ancient leaders of Morocco.

5 Saadian tombs archway

Soon we moved on to Bahia Palace, once a royal residencey which is another stunning example of beautiful mosaics, elaborate carvings and stucco work.

12 Bahia palace10 elaborate decor11 Bahia palace decorative doors

Dress (From a stall in Tai Po, Hong Kong) Belt (Accessorize) Shoes (Topshop) Hat (Accessorize) Bag (Salad, Hong Kong)

13 painted ceilings at Bahia

One thing I definitely noticed was how vibrant and colourful Marrakesh was!

8 colours
After the palace we set out to find the spice market…
16 follow the leader2

I was a little suprised to see these ‘piles’ of spices were pretend! The stall owner simply rubbed the spices onto the conical shapes to give the illusion of spices piled high!

17 spices in mellah

We stopped for lunch and had a brilliant view of a whole bunch of Storks chilling out.

20 storks

On the way back to the Riad, we stopped by the Koutoubia Mosque which is the focal point of the city. I think this shot shows just how hot it was, 4pm seemed to be the hottest time of the day!

22 Koutoubia

Something I would throughly recommend is to try the market food in Jemaa el-Fna square. It was atmospheric, fun and a cheap meal! I also was constantly amazed at how the market sellers knew a myriad of languages with snatches of Spanish and even Polish! Needless to say, we stayed away from the roasted goats heads and opted for a BBQ feast!

24 market dinner

After dinner, we had a go at playing the street games. Here is my friend ‘fishing’ for bottles of coke!

25 the square at night

The following day, we ventured out of the Medina and into the new city. We stopped by an Artisan store and found Tagine pots in all manner of sizes!

27 little and large
We then went on a walk to the next destination…
28 stop

We loved this club…too bad it wasn’t open! The signs say le club…for happy people only and la boutique…for fashion people only! We decided to jump for joy and was amazed that this only took one take! The boys on the other hand took many, many takes and it seems that guys only do star jumps!

29 jumping for joy

We managed to walk for about half an hour until we realised that our lonely planet guide was a few years out of date! Luckily for us, a very lovely local offered to take us in the right direction! Though we were taken via a dirt track (which henceforth was referred to as the desert by us) and I was a bit wary of being led astray…

31 follow the leader

…but faith was restored when we arrived! The man would not take any money from us. We were used to giving tips to people in similar situations in the Medina (old city) as sometimes kids would follow you and ask for money. However people in the new city are a different breed and not out to make money from tourists!

34 Jardin Menara
Tee, shorts, shoes(Topshop) Hat (Accessorize)

We finally spotted some camels but they were specifically for tourists to sit on and take pictures…

32 camels

A direct view of the Koutoubia Mosque from the Menara gardens.

33 new city and mosque

Unfortunately, the Menara gardens was little more than a big square pool (with a whole lotta fish) and a small pavillion. It wasn’t worth the tired feet! We ended up hopping back in a taxi and went in search for lunch at the square we began to see as home, Jemaa el-fna Square. After losing a man who was clearly being paid commission to convince tourists to go to his restuarant, we made it into a restaurant where I had another tagine dish of Kefta (meat balls) which was delicious…even if the rice was decorated in a er, interesting manner.

35 kefta tagine

After lunch, we wandered into the Souks where we spent a few hours haggling and trying our best to get things for as little as 10 dirham…75p. A small but rather hilarious detail that I missed out from day 2 in the souks was how the Moroccons loved my friend Lucy, who is fair skinned and blonde. At one of the shops within the souks, we got chatting to the owner and I was offered a camel in exchange for my friend.. It doesn’t matter that he probably wasn’t serious but he gave her a hug that lasted a little too long…and it was one of those moments that I laughed so hard that I couldn’t stop crying. Definitely a holiday story that I’ll never forget!

42 shoe sellers

For dinner we went to another restaurant in the square called Aqua Cafe, so named because it would spray mists of water every few minutes. It was actually, a bit distracting and they soon turned it off when they realised that our extended table was getting quite wet! It had a lovely view of the square…at sunset.

36 sunset

The view of the food stalls in the square with Koutoubia Mosque in the background.

37 Djemaa el Fna at dusk

We headed off to have ice creams at another restaurant and I happily devoured FRESH strawberry ice cream. I’ve never had anything like it, as it was strawberry red rather than the usual diluted pink ice cream, it was almost like a sorbet and so delicious. Morocco is absolutely amazing for fresh fruit and it’s definitely a must!

39 ice cream

A final meander through the souks as we made our very last walk back to our Riad.

40 souks at night

The lamps were so beautiful and a few of my friends returned home with pretty little Moroccon lamps. I barely bought anything on the holiday compared to my friends…but I’ll save my purchases for the next post!

41 lamp sellers

The rest of the night was spent packing in anticipation for our flight the next morning…and so ended our trip!

A shot of our passports the following day when we landed back on British soil, we were such an international group! Such is the beauty of studying a business related degree. Here you can see British, Turkish, German, American, Taiwanese and Chinese passports!

44 passports

I adored Marrakesh and staying for 3 and a half days was more than enough to see the main attractions in the city. If any of you plan on visiting, I would definitely stay in a Riad for a more authentic Moroccon experience, brush up on your French and get ready to do some haggling at the market stalls!

PS: On a side note, Miruku over at Milk Tea is holding a give away featuring some really kawaii prizes! I’m just excited that I’ve found a fellow Arashi fan!

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