Got back to London from Pakistan, unpacked, went to work for a week, re-packed suitcase, hopped on a plane to Marrakech. It would be a lie if I pretended to be some kind of jetsetter, the reality is that we planned this holiday in February and the timings were really bad with our trip to Pakistan to surprise my in-laws for Eid.
We flew with Easyjet here from London Gatwick at 6am which was fine except for the inevitable screaming child on board. The flight time is 3 hours from London and so we arrived at RAK airport at 10am, giving us all day to explore and get our bearings.
The medina is only around a 15 min drive from the airport and when you enter the walls through the gates ‘babs’ it gets busy and you see people everywhere. We are staying in Mellah, the Jewish Quarter which is about 15 mins walk from the main square and hustle and bustle.
I didn’t know what to expect when coming to Marrakech because I’ve heard really varying reviews. I can compare it generally to a cross between Camden and Lahore, it’s busy, hot and there are a lot of people. I compare it to Lahore due to the temperature, dust and modes of transport (lots of motorbikes and old cars) and the Islamic factors of design, architecture and religion (to state the obvious). The souks are like a massive version of Camden Lock Stables Market and it’s like London in the way that it’s quite laid back and the locals are used to tourists, they speak a little English and are fine with Western dress code – something I was unsure of when packing.
We arrived at our riad which is a hidden secret behind an unassuming wooden door down a narrow pink alley. I will probably write a full review when I’m back in the UK. We unpacked and headed to the Jma el fnna to explore the heart of Marrakech. We weaved our way through the beautiful souks, agreeing to come shopping on our last day, and then ended up at the Museum of Marrakech. It was 50dhr (£5) to enter and is well worth it. It was renovated for a year in 1996 and has a beautiful, fully tiled patio in the middle with artifacts around the edges and soft Islamic music playing in the background. It’s an oasis of calm and so peaceful inside. Wondering the streets afterwards we were told that today was a festival of the tanneries and they were all open for people to visit. We were shown around by a young guy, showing us how they stretch, dye and dry the leather before it is made into the leather goods that you see around all of Marrakech. It was really interesting to see it all, the only downsides were the smell and the fact that we were pressured into paying for ‘the tour’ and a donation for the workers afterwards. We didn’t agree to a tour in the first place, it was made out that the guy was part of the festival heading in the same direction so was kindly showing us the way. We gave them half of what they asked for, and obscenities were shouted when we walked away – something to bear in mind if you are reading this before a trip…
We then headed back to the our raid for showers and a nap before going for dinner at el Salama near the main square and now are about to pass out in preparation for day 2. Tomorrows plans so far include visiting the Jardins de Majorelle, spice souks, Henna Art Cafe and the Palace de Bahia. Again, if you have any tips please do comment below and let me know!
Take care, K