Sunday, December 06, 2015

Rock the Kasbah.

Rock the Kasbah. If by rock you mean get lost, then yes I did rock the kasbah. Repeatedly! But back a day, a last minute flight deal meant I was on my way to Marrakesh. Only a 4 hour flight from Glasgow. I touched down around 16:00 and immigration was straight forward. I had arrange to get picked up from the airport. So I met the driver and he shuffled me towards the car, I thought I was going to have to drive as he pointed at the driver seat, but of course it is left side drive here, so I was thankfully in the passenger seat! 
The airport isn't to far from the old town (the medina) where I has booked my riad (hotel with rooms set around a courtyard). Still we entered the old walled town and the driver parked. Now we had to walk. Throught the busy market, then down an alleyway, getting quiter, down another dark alleyway. Uhhh, we are we going? Arrived at a rather non-descript door and then when you enter it was a very nicely decorated patio, with fountains and rose petals littered about. I had a seat and a very tasty pot of sugary mint tea was presented (Morocco's national drink). 
The French owner turned up shortly, just as well, as my Arabic is non-existent so about on par with my French, which is what the staff were speaking. :) Handily the owner spoke English fine. She gave me a map and some info about what to see, so after getting settled I headed out to Jamma El Fna to see what was happening. That's Marrakesh main square not Ras Al Ghul's home. 
Lots of number food stalls, with people trying to drag you in, if you so much look at a menu. I settled on No. 1 stall, I doubt there is much difference between most of them, except a few only selling some food. I settled on a chicken tagine, and got some bread & sauce (one tomato based, one spicy). After dinner I tried to return to the hotel, but got hopelessly lost, eventually made it back thanks mostly to google maps.

The next morning I head off to Majorelle Gardens. A tranquil garden by a French Painter, Monsieur Majorele. Inside was a small memorial to Yves Saint Lauren. Entrance to the gardens and the museum was 100 dirhams. There was a small museum about the Berber folk of Morocco, which was also worth a visit. I went off on a wonder down a main road, having a nosy around. After that I jumped in a local petit taxi, heading down to the other end of the medina. 10-15 min ride cost 20 Dirhams. Not much more than a pound! Although not always the case, depends on what price you can agree. I managed to jump into the taxi as he was letting somebody else off.

Then I was getting lost in the kasbah. Eventually I manage to find the Saadian Tombs (I had walked straight past the huge building). Kinda empty inside, but a couple of places where the intricate decorations could be seen. Worth a quick stop and only 10 dirhams, but it looked like there were tidying it up, so expect the price to jump!

I tried to find the palace, but ended up in some sort of industrial area! I abandoned that idea and found a cafe for a chicken shwarma (plus frites!)

Next up was Ben Youssef Madrasa. A large Islamic college.Not much in the rooms, but central courtyard was certainly impressive, next door was the Marrakesh museum. Some interesting things, such as a massive chandeliery-thingy, okay I don't know what it was!

At night time I returned to Jamma El Fna for a spot of music. During the day the snakecharmers are there, but as night falls a ragtag cluster of musicians led by a mullet haired banjo singer (decked out in an all red Nike tracksuit) entertained locals who perch on plastic stools giving a a dirham or two for the performance.

Also on show was a crazy little guy, who I watched for 5 mintues and couldn't make head nor tail off. Just a crazy shirtless shouting guy with a crowd watching him! At least I think that was a show...

The next day if was off to Agadir for a spot of gentle R & R at the beach.  A nice spot with a looong wide beach and promenade made for dusk strolling. Loads of restaurants nearby, an easy place to chill out. They even sell beer! I popped into to an 'Irish' Bar named 'La Truite' for a pint of Pression and a plate of olives. Just like Dublin!

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