Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 5 // Marrakech (مَراكَش)

Background
Marrakech is in inland Morocco, so it's quite a bit hotter without the ocean breeze. Luckily, the heat is dry, so even I was okay when it was 105˚F in June! (Note: I do not tolerate heat well.) Marrakech is a tourist mecca, so there is plenty to do. At the same time, that means you need to be more careful to avoid getting pick-pocketed or ripped off. It's also right in the Atlas Mountains, which leads to many wonderful hiking opportunities! Plan to spend at least a few days in and around Marrakech.


Transportation (EssaouiraMarrakech)
Between Essaouira and Marrakech, the ONCF train costs about 70 dh and the ride lasts between 2.5 and 3.5 hours.

Lodging
Hands down, Douarskoll Guesthouse. I know the website doesn't look like much, but I stayed here, and I can 110% vouch that this is the best place I could have stayed in Marrakech. It's only $15-20/night/person, and is a two-minute walk from the medina. To see photos and read my TripAdvisor review, click here. Mohammad, the owner, is just wonderful. He helped us find places to visit in Marrakech, gave us maps, and even had one of his friends accompany us to a traditional hammam. The room was clean and the perfect temperature, we had a private bathroom, and...there's just so much I could say, please read the review! (It's under Chloe Logan.) Also, I took the pictures below!

View of the common area.
The beautiful Moroccan dinner that Mohammad and Michele made us...
...and the delicious (and included!) breakfast Michele prepared each morning.
Here are me and my friends with Mohammad himself! (Excuse the blurriness.)

Sights
I've already been to some of the sites below, but that absolutely does not mean that I don't want to go again!

When you go to the Médersa Ben Youssef, do NOT just call it "Ben Youssef," as almost everything is named after Ben Youssef. Either call it by its full name, the médersa, or al-madrasa. The médersa used to be an Islamic college, and is the largest school in all of Morocco. This architectural wonder has since been converted into a museum, and it costs 10 dh to enter. The photos below are from my trip.
Me and my friends at the médersa.
Hello down there!

After the Médersa, go check out the Musée de l'Art de Vivre Marocain, which is only a couple of minutes away. Though I don't know much about it, it looks like there's furniture, clothing, jewelry, and other Moroccan household items on display, as well as their history.

This photo of Musee de l'Art de Vivre Marocain is courtesy of TripAdvisor

This photo of Musee de l'Art de Vivre Marocain is courtesy of TripAdvisor

You are going to get to know Place Jemaa el-Fna very well, as it's only two minutes away from the riad! There are snake charmers, monkeys, and all of the orange juice you could ever want. The souks are also right there, and they stay open until around midnight. Plus, you're right at the Koutoubia, Marrakech's largest mosque. Definitely drink as much orange juice as you can while you're here--at 5 dh (less than 75 cents) for a glass, it's even cheaper than water! (P.S. I took all but the first photo here.)
Aerial view of Place Jemaa el-Fna.
This isn't even the beginning of how much OJ there is! (Notice the vendor giving us a thumbs up.)
Place Jemaa el-Fna during the daytime.
I got to hang out with some monkeys!

A friend in France said to go to Menara gardens for sunset. Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to do so when we were in Marrakech, so I'd make this a priority for the next time. She also suggested going by calèche, or horse-drawn carriage, from Place Jemaa el-Fna.
Beautiful, don't you think?

As if going to the Menara gardens isn't a good enough way to end the night, go sit on the terrace of the riad when it's dark--and try to do it during the nighttime call to prayer. The city is lit up in the most magical way, and the view is breathtaking. There are beds in a tent to lay on, chaises to lay back on, and a beautiful city right in front of you.

Vocabulary (French // Arabic // English)
  • un bain // hammam (حَمام) // bathhouse
  • une école // madrasa (مَدرَسة) // school
  • une calèche // nakl (نَقْل) // horse-drawn carriage


Photos c/o TrekEarth, Marrakech-Info.com

2 comments:

  1. Loved this post - I visited Morocco this March for the first time & I'm absolutely smitten! Such a lovely country full of amazing people :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! Agreed, it was just wonderful there. Can't wait to go back!

    ReplyDelete

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