Our next stop in Morocco was Marrakech, known as the red city (and believe me it’s not hard to see why!). We started the day with another tour guide, another Mohammed, who took us to wear Berber outfits and ride on camels. We were joined by our beautiful friend Annalisa and, since we all have lived in Abu Dhabi for close to two years, it wasn’t the first time on a dromedary for any of us but it was a lot of fun nonetheless!
Karma came in a hilarious form to Brittany (remember her endless sympathy for my impressive faceplant?) when she tried to get me to take a picture of her cross-legged and camel riding; as I turned round to take the picture I heard a squeal and saw her sliding at a 90 degree angle towards the floor, saddle and all. Thankfully she wasn’t harmed, and the guide gently chastised her before she climbed back on and we continued on our way.
Next on the tour came a tannery, where leather goods were being made. Did you know they use pigeon poo to release ammonia and soften the leather? As we left the tannery I spotted a beautiful little donkey by the side of the road. Donkeys are used everywhere in Marrakech, pulling all manner of items on carts through the dusty streets.
Our final stop on the tour was to a Berber spice shop. We smelled a variety of oils and powders, tried Berber eyeliner (a grey powder) and I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the range of dyes they had, all natural and in a bright selection of colours.
After saying “ma’a salama” to Mohammed, we wandered towards the Bahia Palace and I can honestly say it had some of the most beautiful architecture I have ever seen. The simple white walls made the intricate stone carvings stand out, and I adored the Arabic calligraphy throughout. The airy rooms surrounded a luscious courtyard garden with orange trees bearing fruit.I was in heaven! After wandering through the Palace we decided to hit the streets to find some food.
Everywhere I looked there seemed to be another piece of art, hidden in little back streets, or another shop, selling handwoven rugs and other Moroccan souvenirs. The restaurant that we chose looked over the Kasbah Mosque, and as we sat enjoying our tagine we could hear the call to prayer. It’s only when I hear it now that I realise how much I have missed it since being away from Abu Dhabi.Oh and the restaurant was called the Stork Cafe for a reason!
After filling ourselves with delicious food, I suggested walking to the Jardin De L’Agdal as it was meant to have incredible views of the Atlas Mountains in the distance. After getting directions and being assured it was close, we walked, and walked, and walked… it seemed like we had walked around the entirety of the medina walls.
Eventually we found the entrance and, of course, it was closed.. quel dommage. However this just made me more determined to come back and enjoy more of Marrakech and all it has to offer.And now: Casablanca. Stay tuned for the inevitable gin-joint jokes..