As our main holiday for 2018 is planned for October we wanted to organise at least one short holiday earlier. We searched Google Maps for destinations and soon we stopped the globe at Marrakech Morrocco. Although we actually wanted to visit by car, we still decided to book airtickets and give it a go.
Just one week before our departure the Transavia pilots wanted to strike, because they could not agree on a new collective labor agreement…question was…when? On Sunday 18/02 the word was spreading that they would strike on the 19th. of February…unlucky for those who could not fly…lucky for us as we had tickets for 20th February…
Our plane was scheduled for 7:35am so we had an early start and woke up at 4am…
By bus we got to Schiphol and after taking in breakfast we prepared for a 3.15 hour flight to the Menara airport of Marrakech. Conveniently we prebooked a taxi which picked us up there for driving us to Riad Aubrac in the Medina of the city. Hello Africa!
The room was ready soon after our arrival at the Riad hotel and we throwed ourselves into the hussle and bussle of the old town. From market to market we strolled without having a decent plan through the narrow alleyways having late Tajine lunch at Cafe des Espices overlooking Place des Espices. On the way to the Koutoubia minaret we scored some huuuge strawberries and a berber coffee from local street venders and by taking a detour along the Jewish Mellah area we got back to the Riad for a short break. We watched sunset from the rooftop terrace and got back to the streets searching for a dinner spot in town which we found at Cafe Kessabine on the edge of Djemaa el Fna square. Local Couscous, Harira and falafel we ate.
After dinner we visited the square itself and took in all the music, street performances and vendors. A bit too much for us as our eyes were closing down already…Looking forward to tomorrow!
This first full day in Marrakech we started at 08:30 with breakfast in our riad. Coffee, sandwich, diary…simple but doing the trick.
We strumbled around through the narrow alleyways trying not to get lost and were heading for the Bahia Palace. By accident we walked by the Tiskiwin museum from Dutch antropologist Ben Flint. In this museum his private western African collection is shown from berber culture to Touareg nomads in Timbuktu and back.
Around the corner we entered the Bahia Palace. Different beautifully decorated courtyards are connected by small lanes and corridors giving you the feeling how a king would live back in the days. Somehow it felt like the Alhambra in Spanish Granada.
From the Bahia Palace it was a short stroll crossing the Place des Ferblantiers for lunch to the ruines of the Badii Palace. Most impressive of this site is the size of it and the Koutoubia Minbar. This ancient Islamic wooden masterpiece dating from 1139 was in use by the imam who climbed the stairs to fullfill his Friday prayer until 1962. After we gazed at the Minbar we climbed the wall at the far corner of the Badii to come close with the many storks and to have a nice view over the medina.
Last highlight for the day we visited the tomb of Saadian Ahmed Al Mansour who did not save on costs to let his tomb being build. The whole compound is basically a cemetery for all the people he was somehow related to.
With a short coffee break on the way we got back to the riad for a quick nap / do some reading on the rooftop before we went out again for having a BBQ dinner at the Djmaa el Fna square for a staggering 40 euros! What a rip off! We did let them know we totally did not agree, but hmm what can you do. We could have known this beforehand when you eat at a tourist trap place like this…