Marrakech – Day 1

Marrakech – Day 1

After conking out for 11 hours last night, we woke up refreshed and ready to go.

Breakfast at the hotel

Casablanca is a modernized city, and wasn’t exactly what we were looking for on this trip, so we were pretty happy to leave and move onto the next city, Marrakech, which is a 3-hour drive from Casablanca. Along the way, Mohamed told us a little about the language in Moroccan history. Moroccans are indigenous North African Berbers. However, Arabic became the official language when they came under the rule of the Arabs in 7AD. When the French colonized Morocco in 1912, French became the other official language. It wasn’t until 2011 when Berber was reinstated as an official language in Morocco.

Top row: Arabic. Middle: Berber. Bottom: French

We checked into our riad, where we would be staying for the next 2 days. A riad is a traditional interior courtyard within a home, and most have been converted into boutique hotels.

The central courtyard with an orange tree
First course of business – lunch at Café des Épices. I was surprised that I was able to read and comprehend all the French on the menu. Monsieur Dupuy, my high school French teacher, would be relieved that I had not wasted any of his time and effort.
View of the small market plaza below the café terrace

Today was a “free” day without a guide, so we walked around the Medina after lunch. Unfortunately, a lot of sites have been closed due to Covid and renovations, which put a slight damper on our adventures. However, we did manage to find something that was open – Museé de Marrakech. This is not your Metropolitan Museum of Art, Louvre, or the Uffizi Gallery. It is a restored palace riad containing a small hodge podge collection of Contemporary, African, and Arabic paintings, pottery of unknown origins, and Berber jewelry and weapons collections. The highlight of the museum, however, was the interior structure.

The airy covered riad
Something we’d never seen before – Berber decorative brooches traditionally pinned to women’s clothing.
Dizzying and mesmerizing patterns

While walking around the Medina, we noticed that the sales people weren’t as aggressive as the ones we saw in Turkey. However, one of the annoyances we encountered in Marrakech are the people who approached us to “help” us find our way, and then turn around demanding money for the “help” after we’ve reached our destination. We refused to pay out of principle, and were obviously met with some unkind words. We learned our lesson once and declined all help with a stern ‘No’. We’ve even had to take a detour to avoid further harassment. Apparently, other travelers have had similar experiences. If you want to read more, simply Google “Marrakech scams”. In all honesty, in this day and age with Google Maps, no one should need any help with directions.

Other donkeys around the Medina haul all sorts of goods including building materials to construction sites.

The most wonderful things around the Medina are the intricately designed door frames and doors. Back in Malta, I had a field day taking pictures of all the doors as I thought I had seen the most beautiful doors.

The doors we saw in Malta were vibrant and colorful, but the doors in Morocco are truly marvelous. There really is no comparison.

Since the guide will be showing us around the Medina tomorrow, we decided to venture out to the new city.

We wiled away an hour and a half with some traditional sweet mint tea (fresh pressed OJ for Joe) at Les Négociants before dinner

3 thoughts on “Marrakech – Day 1

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