- March, 2019
My wife and I travelled to Marrakesh from Barcelona and via Casablanca, sounds rather exotic but we didn't get out of the airport in Casablanca, just a quick change of planes.
Casablanca airport at the time was typical of what I guess are about a tier 3 airport, certainly not comparable to a Changi in Singapore or Heathrow in London but probably a Cairns in Australia although a little more rundown.
Arriving in Marrakesh is an experience to behold, the thing that hits you straight off the bat is the noise. The streets are a total mish mash of vehicles with the most prominent the motor bike and its ubiquitous horn, the culprit for a lot of the noise.
We stayed in the Medina, in a middle of the road Riad which provided an unbelievable contrast. The Medina is noisy, a concoction of smells, busy almost frantic with traders everywhere, motor bikes racing up the lane ways and beeping all the way. You make your way down some narrow lane ways to the Riad, you step inside and there is silence but for the trickling water feature and the warm welcome of Fatima our host. The Riad feels like an oasis in the middle of chaos, neat & clean, peaceful and welcoming.
We were greeted with tea in one of the reception areas of the Riad which whilst I'm not a big tea fan, was happy to partake lest I offend our host. Fatima was very friendly and accommodating but with very limited English, this did not cause us any real problems. In retrospect I think it added to the experience.
The roof of the Riad was also available for relaxing and enjoying some sun, it also provided an opportunity to survey the tops of the Medina. Clearly a bit of a ramshackle of TV antennas, satellite dishes and chimneys.
Breakfast which was included in our Riad accommodation was a typically continental style but with a delightful Moroccan twist. No complaints from us, very enjoyable and taken in the peaceful Riad courtyard with the soothing sounds of the water feature.
After breakfast we joined a guided tour of the Madina, it was a great way to learn a little bit about the daily way of life of the locals living in the Madina.
Some very interesting aspects including the communal bakeries. Everyone in the local community provides the bakery with their dough, they have their unique cloth so the baker knows who belongs with which bread. They are all baked in the oven together and somehow the baker gets it right.
The butcher is a little different to what we are used to, meat is often butchered on site, no refridgeration and is hung in the walk ways.
We didn't notice any candle stick makers but there were plenty of merchants of every description.
Later in the evening we headed over to the Souq Market, a very large market which seemed to come to life as the sun went down. Highly recommend a visit but be prepared to barter for every purchase, the locals seem to enjoy it and many speak excellent english and like any good salesman often have a joke or two share.
There are some restaurants upstairs that provide a great vantage point to look over the souq and also provide a fantastic location to capture the sunset so take your camera. If you have a small tripod now is the time to take it out and get some use out of it.
The next day we took a tour of the Atlas Mountains.
Heading out of Marrakesh it doesn't take long before you leave the hussle and bussle behind as you travel the much quieter less used roads of rural Morocco.
The scenery quickly changes to mountainous sculptures, snow covered backdrops and contrasting rugged rocky outcrops.
Along our travels we stop to experience some fare, the Berber tribes are famous for their sweet tea and are keen to have everyone taste their brew.
The local village children on their way home from school stop for a chat, very friendly and happy to chat with the travellers.
The scenery is quite spectacular along the tour.
As we make our way down the mountain we stop off at a Hotel with some great views of its own. We really enjoyed the day trip up the mountains and discovering the Berbers, its definitely a have to do option if you have time during your stay in Marrakesh.
I hope you enjoyed this post about our time in Morocco, next post I will do on our Africa Safari through East Africa, Kenya, & Tanzania but in the mean time a few images of Morocco are below.
#morocco #marrakesh #atlasmountains #travel
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