Middle Atlas Mt
Sahara 1
Sahara 2
Final Thoughts

© 5 June 2005


Our stay in Marrakech was for 7 nights at the Hotel el Andalous.  It had a wonderful swimming pool that I used almost every day.  It was also close to many activities including the souks and Jamaa El Fna Square (about 15 minute walk).  

A prominent part of the local transportation system is the horse drawn carriages or "coaches" in local dialect.  You hire them just like a taxi, by the trip, half or full day. We hired a carriage for half day tour of the mosque, palace and medina.  There was a carriage stand in front of the hotel.

The coaches let us off in front of the huge rose garden in front of the Koutoubia Mosque.  The Mosque was initially built in 1154.  It is the largest in Marrakech.  There is room for 12,000 worshipers inside the mosque.

It was back on the carriages to the Bahia Palace where 2000 craftsmen performed their extraordinary skills to create a true masterpiece.

The Saadian Tombs were next on our list.  These rulers came after the Berbers.  The tombs date from about the 1600s.  Then we walked around the medina learning about the spice market, a stop in a Berber pharmacy filled with herbs, roots, special soaps, etc.  

The Jamaa El Fna Square is just a fantastic place with snake charmers, storytellers, ladies applying henna, fruit juice carts and many other activities.  We walked back to our hotel to rest, go for a swim (in my case) then return to the square after dark for dinner.  The nighttime square was transformed into numerous food vendors with huge crowds.  just have to see the pictures.  We had vegetable soup, beef and chicken shish-ka-bob, eggplant, green pepper with bottled soft drink.  For desert I had a "mega" ice on a stick (ice cream).  As we wondered away from the food area we nudged our way to have front row seats for some street entertainers playing local music and dancing.  We were a big hit with the crowd.  Next was a booth with clove and cinnamon tea, which was very good.

The next morning I had some stomach upset which Imodium made better within a couple of hours.  This day was free time to enjoy (recuperate), sit by the pool, explore some more and shopping.  I did go for a long walk and noticed the Royal Theater building.  It was very impressive.  Along the main avenue was much building activity with new hotels and homes.

Our farewell dinner was held in a famous, and expensive, restaurant, Dar Marjana, in the medina - complete with a belly dancer.  This farewell dinner was for those leaving Marrakech and flying back to the U.S.  Eight of us remained for another 4 days.

Next day was a full day excursion to Essaouira - about 175 km southwest.

Our guide wanted us to experience eating with the locals so he took us to a local truck stop on the highway - Oasis Cafe.  It had a huge seating area both indoor and outdoor.  The open kitchen had large charcoal fires for tajine and large ovens to bake bread.  We had some beef and chicken with vegetables

The next day was another full day excursion to Asni at the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains.

The following day was another full day excursion to Ouzoud and the "Waterfalls of the Olives."

Our last full day in Marrakech and Morocco was free with some of us walking (about 40 minutes) to the Majorelle Gardens and the Islamique Musèe D' Art and shopping on the way back to the hotel.  Then it was pool time again for me.

On our way to dinner we stopped by an area that was set up for fantasia.  This was completely unplanned and very exciting since we were allowed to be practically next to the galloping horses.

For dinner we all went to a local home of a couple (Abdul and Umnia) with 2 children.  He is a contractor who builds homes usually has 2-3 projects going at a time.  They have been married 4 years.  He built their current home which has 4 levels - 2 uppers floors rented, any family living on the 2 lower floors with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, large living room, reception and dining rooms and family room.  He estimated the value of the building at $300,000 with taxes of $170/year.

Final Thoughts