Our stay in Marrakech was for 7 nights at the
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
part of the local transportation system is the
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
garden in front of the
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
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
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
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
Theater building. It was very impressive. Along
the main avenue was much building activity with new hotels and
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
- 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 -
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
at the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains.
The following day was another full day excursion to
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
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.