Monday, March 22, 2010

Living the Arabian nights in the red city

Since we don't look that much like Marrocans, we just decided to be super turists. So yes we have seen snake charmers, people with monkeys, donkeys, riding on camels, got henna tatoo, having street food, bargained for souvenirs, been at a hammam...

For you Aladdin-fans, pretty much like this scene:

Because it was mostly about the big Djemaa el-Fna square and the small souqs (small, mostly covered "streets" loaded with small shops/stalls). Everyone trying to sell you something, or as they say "Come, just look, just look" ,"You buy more, I give good price, presents for family". But they wern't as precistent as I thought they would be and there were no pulling in clothts or blocking your way (as they apparently do in i.e. in Turkey and Egypt).

We arrived at 23:30 their time (GMT) and after filling out forms and getting stamps in the passports (whohoo, finaly a country that will stamp my passport!) we got picked up by a guy with a big suv to take us in to the Medina (old city where we were going to live). At first I thought "is that really necessary?!", supergrande car for just us, but when we were driving on the "roads" of the old city, I was glad that we had a car with good suspencion...

The next morning we got served breakfast at the rooftop terrace of the riad ("hotel", or guesthouse with patio) and we reserved a time for the hammam (spa). We thought it was best to do it as one of the first things, as it includes a scrub, and you don't want to get scrubbed after 3 days in the African sun...! The staff in our riad was very very friendly, one of them speaking english and the other spanish. The one speaking spanish walked us all the way to the plaza from the riad (about 5min walk, that is if you don't stop to look at things...) and showed us land marks to look for, so that we could find out way back :)
After the hammam, which included black soap, scrub, eucalyptos wrapping and then a relaxing massage, we had a lunch at the plaza; I took a lamb tagine (clay-pot stew) and Kasper some meat on sticks.
That day we also went to the Bahia Palace and the Koutoubia minaret, and endning a day full of walking with dinner at the riad; couscous with chicken and vegetables.

The next day we went to the new part of town (Nouvelle Ville), where the french have had something to say about the infrastructure; the roads were wider and there were roundabouts. After seeing the famous Jardin Majorelle, a gift from Yves Saint Laurent to Marrakesh, we took a small break before heading for lunch. After lunch, (which btw was at McD, Yes, we had to try a QP in Marroco ;) ) we took a taxi out to Palmeraie (a place some 6km outside the center with palm trees) where I sat on a camel :D
After taking some sun at the terrace at the riad, we again went out but to the plaza, to see the transformation into a big outdoor food place with foodstalls. We had some shish kebabs (meat on sticks), calamares, sausages etc. And the best part of all; we didn't get sick!

The last day we spent on some last shopping, strolling around the different neigborhoods and a super lunch at a restaurant called Le Foundouk, where Kasper tried the Marrocan spacialty bastilla (pigeon pie) and I got an other tagine but with chicken, lemon and olives.

Very happy and satisfyed witht the trip and weekend, we returned to the riad for a last hour on the terrace before heading back to the airport. We arrived a bit late in a rainy Barcelona, which strangely enough, now doesn't feel that exotic, and almost like home.


ma said...

hmmm jag undrar vad som är censurerat?
I´m happy for you that the trip was so succesful, seems like you guys had a real good time! And are safe back in barca again:)

Viktoria said...

hehe inget ær cencurerat, var bara jag som testade att skriva en kommentar :) sen kunde man tydligen inte ta bort det helt igen :S