A short break at the beginning of March led me to magnificent Marrakesh. It’s one of those places that fascinates you as soon as you step out of the plane. I hadn’t done a lot of preparations before taking off, so it was just the more overwhelming.
Little alleyways, pastel pink walls, thousands of mopeds, scents, sounds and impressions washed over me on the taxi drive to our riad alone. Passing the city wall of the Medina was like entering an entirely different and magical place.
In the midst of the Medina, Riad Azzouna13 awaited me. With its oriental fancywork yet clean and minimalistic design, the accommodation couldn’t have been any better. It was like an oasis of ease, a spicy scent and decent food.
The next morning I enjoyed the view from the cozy rooftop. The Marrakesh adventure was on!
The plan for the day? Getting lost! It’s funny but I developed some sort of orientation here much more easily than back in Amsterdam. Maybe it was my insatiable curiosity that led me further and further through these many lanes – and right into the Souks.
Before arriving in Marrakesh, I had heard many stories about bargaining. My only advice here is: get into it! Haggling is good style here, so take part of it. Merchants usually offer a much higher price than they expect you to pay. So don’t go away if you think an item is too expensive. You might be able to beat it down to a third of the originally stated price!
And with my freshly bought camel leather backpack (for 28 Euros and a smile), I took a coffee break at Café des epices and enjoyed a pot of Maroccan mint tea.
The first architectural highlight was Medersa Ben Youssef. This once Islamic college brims over with beautiful colours, ornaments and little chambers.
I went across Djeema el Fna, the biggest market place in Marrakesh, back through the Souks to have dinner at Le Jardin. You don’t think there are hipster places in Marocco? Oh well, there are! From traditional tajine (which you need to try if in Marrakesh) to Europeanized dishes: This place served such unbelievably good food.
The next day welcomed me with a beautiful and cloudless view over the city – with the Atlas Mountains in the background.
This day I went to see Dar Si Said, a monument to Moroccan mâalems. Again, squiggly ornaments, colourful walls and beautiful woodwork expected me here.
Afterwards, I did a stopover at Le Maison de la Photographie and marvelled at Maroccan photography.
Back on the streets of the Medina, I made my way to the northwest of the city so as to pay Jardin Majorelle, a wonderful botanique garden, a visit.
It comes as no surprise that Yves Saint Laurent himself restored this magically blue place. Also, don’t miss out on the Berber Museum in the midst of the garden where you can learn the basics of this ethnic group.
After an eventful day I enjoyed dinner on the rooftop of Nomad, another spin-off of Le Jardin.
After 3,5 days my plane already took off back to Amsterdam. And even though there was so much more to discover, a short trip is quite ok to visit only Marrakesh. I was lucky enough to do a wonderful pottery tour on my second day in Marocco, so stay tuned for that story!