Moroccan Adventures, Part 1: Marrakech

The Morocco trip didn’t get off to the smoothest start in the world, passport control took well over an hour to get through, and that was followed up by a cash machine refusing to give me any of the local currency. After attempt number 2 with a different bank we had some cash and could finally hop in the taxi to the Riad.

Leaving the relative calmness of the airport and venturing on to the streets of Marrakech was a bit of an eye opener. Mopeds everywhere, pedestrians running across the road, kids hitching rides on the back of trucks and the near constant sound track of car horns was assaulting to the senses.

If that wasn’t enough of a sensory overload we were dropped off at the edge of the main square, Jemaa El Fna, and met by Pitchou, the person running the Riad we had booked in to. He led us through the mass of people and maze of side streets to the complete sanctuary of Riad Les Deux Portes, one of the nicest places I’ve ever stayed. We checked in, had some sweet Moroccan tea before having a quick wander then heading to bed.

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Inside Riad Les Deux Portes.

Our time in Marrakech was spent wandering the souks, soaking in some of the culture, and exploring places like El Badi Palace and Jardin Marjorelle. After hearing tales of people being harassed by traders we were pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t bad at all. You do get a lot of offers to look at goods or to be shown around but in 90% of the case just a simple no thank you will suffice. On the one occasion where a local man decided he was our tour guide and was dragging us away from where we wanted to go a member of the tourist police stepped in and escorted him away.

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Jemaa El Fna, Before The Evening Crowds.

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The Cyber Garden, A Place Most Tourist Maps Ignore.

We had wanted to go to the Sahara, but unfortunately we had booked all of our accommodation in advanced with out realising all trips there were a minimum of 1night. So instead we decided to join a day trip through the Atlas Mountains to the place where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed, Aït Benhaddou. The drive was long but the scenery was amazing and the driver stopped several times for photo opportunities.

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The Start Of The Atlas Mountains.

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One Of The Many Roadside Villages.

Once there we had a guided tour of the Berber village, seeing where films like Gladiator were shot and how some of the local people live and make their living there. It was a great place to visit, it’s obvious why it is frequently used as a set and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, there is just so much history here.

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Aït Benhaddou.

After 4 days exploring Marrakech we had to pack up and leave as we had booked a few nights in the coastal village of Tagazhout, a place know for world class waves, and there was a small swell due. Just as well I’d brought my board!

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3 Responses

  1. Sounds wonderful!

  2. We also enjoyed Cyber Park and like you, didn’t feel hassled by most of the vendors on the street. We took 4 days to visit Imlil in the High Atlas Mountains and hiked while we were there. A very good combination for us – but you were smarter and added a seaside visit. Enjoy!

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed Morocco, I’ve got a part 3 to add that includes Tafraoute that you might enjoy, really nice little village, would have liked to spend more time there though.

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