Marrakech 27/02 – 02/03/2015
Off the bat, first knockings I apologise for the song title used for today’s blog. I have ummed and ahhred for many a week on whether to use it, it is corny, it is a terrible song, but I have a soft spot for Neil Young so it gets in. Marrakech more than any other place is the Marmite metropolis of Morocco. You will either love it or hate it and the Marrakech centric Marmite here is spread thickly on both sides of the Toast. The good news is we loved it. It may have something to do with being in Morocco for nearly three months and knowing all the little scams, it may have been we were due for a city, for the buzz, for the people, for the rip-off.
As Gloamers we do not adhere fully to the Motorhoming way of life. So we did not spend the full stopover in Marrakech in the van but in a bijou Riad in the Medina.
Before we went there we spent a couple of days chilling in the Relais du Marrakech Campsite. Now I know I have said this before, but this time I mean it, it is the best campsite we have stayed in Morocco. Sorry for all our previous favs but the Swimming Pool set within the tropical gardens takes it. And the ice cold beer on sale after a seven week layoff was the icing on the cake.
Here is a picture to back our claims.
We also met up with a splendid couple and spent a delightful couple of hours chatting. Like any good holiday romance we swapped emails and in their words; it was great, nobody got pregnant.
We had always planned to stay in Marrakech as we both wanted to experience a Riad, for those grannies not sucking eggs these are small boutique hotels, ideally within the Medina. In English, a bit of an overpriced, upmarket B&B. Many of these places are down never to be found alleyways and as a consequence you are offered the luxury Limo and pathfinder service to the drum of your choice. An option we went for. Unfortunately we had a bit of a hiccup as they sent our pathfinder to the airport and not the campsite to pick us up. Never mind, we managed to spend the hour’s delay topping up the tan. When we finally arrived we were quite smitten with the place, although to this day we never did receive an apology for the rubbish taxi service, knobs. It is a complete haven from the noise and hub-hub outside as well as being uber cool, temperature wise. The place was also uber cool from a décor perspective as you can see from the pictures. The house used to belong to a Pasha and the grills over the internal windows were to allow the women to see without being seen. Our room had a screened window at eye-level whilst sitting on the throne, beats reading a book.
The atrium of the Riad was inhabited by two families of House Buntings (small cute birds) who would swoop down for crumbs and off-cuts of Msemmens. When we arrived back after our first day we noticed one of the babies had fallen from the nest. We tried to encourage it to fly, it wouldn’t, tried to get it to drink water, it wouldn’t. Between ourselves and a Swiss Engineer we sourced the Internet to see if mummy bird would accept it back, it would. So we got a ladder and put it back in the nest. It was great the next morning to hear a re-united family singing in unison. Here is a picture of our saved flyer.
Enough of that, we are tourists, we had places to see, experiences to be had, money to be wasted. After a short recce from the staff we headed off on our own for the Jemaa-el-fnaa, the square of the dead, the main place. The reason being as ever, was, the ride on the pony and trap around the town. Here they have a new twist to get you to part with your money early, Horse wee. The stench is overpowering from the rows of attendant, bored unfortunate nags. Hold your breath and negotiate and you will get your just price. About £12 for a tour of the Medina and a swift trot to the Majorelle Gardens.
Here are a couple of Pics:
The Majorelle Gardens are wonderful, fantastic, beautiful, restful, stylish, just a bloody pleasant place to be. This is what the second sphere at the Eden project in Cornwall should be. If you ever go to Marrakech make this place your second stop after the square. Majorelle was a French painter who came here to live because of bad health and fell in love with the place. After his death the place fell into disrepair until a somewhat talentless but rich fashion designer by the name of Yves St Laurent took it upon himself to restore it. Well Yves, I never bought any of your clothing but hats off to those who did to enable the restoration. C’est Magnifique. Here are my bad pictures, but before a link to the official website for more info; Majorelle Gardens
That evening we eat in the hotel and the food was in a different league to anything we have experienced in Morocco. So, so special.
The next day after another helping of world class food, namely breakfast at the Riad Menzeh we had a plan to do the Bahia Place, the square by day and night, the Souks, and the Medina. This we did. But before we did we had to fight our way past the kids who hang around the front door of the Riad trying to get the Internet password. Give these people credit, they will never stop trying to improve their lives. If you are reading this kids; the password is menzeh11. A picture of my favourite scammer, Ahmed, with his Versace top. Is everything in Marrakech designer?
Next the pictures of our trip around the old town:
Marrakech is like Harrods of old, as the bus adverts I remember as a child, where you could buy anything, including Elephants. Well we didn’t see any elephants for sale but most of God’s other creatures could be had for a price, as were carpets, jewellery, fake designer goods, even Yves clobber, no standing on station here.
We went back for a siesta before heading back for sunset and an evening in the square. One may be noticing a theme here about the square and you would be right. The square is one of those places everyone should do once in their life. The rest of Marrakech is all right, good but not world class. It does not blow your senses like India, Moorish architecture is better in Spain, and how TripAdvisor make it the best place in the world is just plain wrong. It is good fun for a couple of days, end of.
Now for the pictures in the evening
If you would like to know more about the history of Marrakech then check this out; Marrakesh Wiki As this is Easter we have made a Video of our time in Marrakech and it is here; Marrakech video or on our YouTube Channel or from the Menu above.
Well we like Marmite and we loved Marrakech.
Love to all