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Adventures of a short vet

Back to Africa

MOROCCO | Friday, 15 October 2010 | Views [548]

Locals checking out the produce in the market

Locals checking out the produce in the market

I arrived in Marrkech around midday and made a poor effort at bargaining a taxi ride into town. I knew what it SHOULD cost and the taxi driver knew, but unfortunately they had a monopoly and I ended up with the group of them surrounding me and all saying the same thing. Dammit. Next time I’d call one from town. Especially since the taxi driver then got lost and had to call his mate for directions.

After getting settled at the Hotel Caspian I wandered down the chaotic road without turning any corners as I didn’t have a map, and without any street signs visible (which I wouldn’t be able to read anyway) I didn’t want to take any chances at not finding my way back. After traveling solo for 2 weeks I was feeling much braver about wandering around a foreign country on my own, and though I still stood out like a sore thumb there were many more tourists out on the street than in Egypt. I stumbled onto a supermarket by heading in the direction people carrying bags of food, and bought some lunch and bottles of water, assuming that I couldn’t drink the local water. I headed back to the hotel for lunch and a quick nap that turned into a 3 hour sleep. Oops.

After my little nap I walked around the local area checking out the crazy drivers and busy shops. It was a lot like Cairo only less crowded and more cosmopolitan with more women with their heads uncovered and crowds of tourists wandering around (many of them French). Dinner was at a little pizza restaurant for a lovely vegetable tagine. My friends who were joining me for our next Intrepid adventure had been delayed until 2am so I didn’t bother waiting up.

The following morning Sally popped down early as she was so excited and, once Ross woke up, we had breakfast in the hotel before hitting the streets of Marrakech. We walked from our hotel in the new city towards the old city, which we entered through a gate in the old city walls. Our first stop was the El Bahia Palace with its beautiful tiled courtyards and white buildings and a peaceful garden that magically cut out all the noise of the busy city. From there we walked to the main city centre square , Djemaa el Fna, where we visited the souks and wandered down passages that grew increasingly narrow and cluttered as we seemed to descend into the bowels of the earth. Luckily the shopkeepers were not as aggressive as those in Egypt so we were able to actually stop and look at their wares without being hassled, as well as take a few photos. We finally randomly emerged from one of the alleyways back into the main square.

Feeling peckish after our explorations we headed up to the third floor terrace of a restaurant to have lunch overlooking the bazaar. After an amazing lunch of lamb and date tagine we walked back to the hotel to meet the rest of our group. It looked to be a good one. Our leader, Khalid, is a cheeky Berber from a village in the Todra Gorge Valley, and we were joined by 2 Aussies, and American couple, a British couple, 2 other Brits and a German. After the initial meeting Khamed led us to a lovely little restaurant hidden away and lit up like a fairy grotto and we had the first of what would be many delicious Moroccan meals.

Tags: djemaa el fna, el bahia palace, marrakech

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