It's a shoppers paradise, a photographers dream, culturally rich but an occassional headache...
Marrakech! You stole my heart. No, really, stole it, and I want it back... This is true in a lot of ways, it's rough, the sales techniques are pushy to say the least, you have to always check your change, don't look too closely at something unless you want to buy it, or be shouted at (as in "Excuse me! Come back here, I'm not done trying to strongly convince you to buy it!") and you have to pay for everything , even directions, or if you look too closely at something. If you thought you could negotiate, go train yourself in Marrakech, you will lose, often. So yeah, if you're meek and mild and hate being heckled, then Marrakech (and other places in Morocco) might not be for you. But, you'd be losing out on the heart bit, even if it is theft.
It is very beautiful, so many wonderful scenes to behold and so much charm, check out our pictures below to get an idea. Every step you take is like being in a movie or in an ancient foreign land; which is really truly what Marrakech is. There are some really great people and some wonderful characters too, people are friendly and lovely, even if often they do just want your money. Food is amazing, delicious, varied and real. It's a paradise for just walking around and having adventures, going down mysterious alleys and peering into shops and workshops. The smells, the energy of the place, the shopping...yes the shopping, once you get over the high stress of it, there are some amazing things to buy, antiques, homewares, pottery, rugs, food and spices, it's awesome, really. There's also lots of cool historic places of interest, museums and cultural distractions. There is really something for everyone in this eternal and dusty place. We had the most romantic and exciting time and we would recommend it to everyone!
We stayed at Riad Ayadina, which was one of the best places we've stayed in the world, really really recommend! They also served us a delicious dinner one night, which we'd also suggest you do. We went to Yves Saint Laurent's old house which also contains the Jardin Majorelle, which is a nice escape from the souk's intensity. Check out the Ben Youssef Madrasa, a very old university type institution and worth a visit. Of course you must go to the medina or rather Jemaa el-Fnaa, and the Koutoubia but walk there so you can see all the souks, shops, houses, markets and so much more along the way! We also found a guide for a day, but he just strong armed us into it, and whilst it was good, there was the obligatory coralling into a sales pushy sales experience at one point and we had to "haggle" a bit over the price at the end. Still, semi-worth it as he showed us some things we probably wouldn't have found on our own.
We also had a hammam which was an interesting, if not relaxing, experience! We'd still recommend it! The Bahia palace, Rahba Kedima Square, El Badi Palace, Saadian Tombs, Dar Si Said Museum, Museum Tiskiwin, Mouassine Museum, and the Museum of Marrakech also deserve a mention as they were all cool things to do. There's lots more we didn't manage, so enjoy exploring Marrakech!
Have a look at our beautiful pictures below...
Marrakech photos: Click on the arrows to scroll, or on the image for a larger version (in a pop-up)
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