I must admit I was not prepared for it. I was surely opened to it, but not truly prepared. The buildings, the people, the smells, the images, the motorbikes, the noise….not at all how I imagined them back home. But…let’s start with the beginning 🙂
Day 1: It all started in the plane, when I realised we need to pay even for a glass of water. Somehow it was making me think about the destination…
We landed at 17:00 and waited in line for passport control for about one hour and a half. While we were standing and trying to ignore the hunger and thirst, 2 ladies overpassed almost everybody, until someone finally told them that we are all waiting there for the same thing and nobody is more special there… At first I got angry seeing them so disrespectful for all the rest of us. But then I realised that I am wasting my energy on being angry for something that doesn’t really matter to me. If they chose to treat people like that, me getting angry will not teach them anything. So I calmed down and enjoyed my husband’s presence instead.
When we had finally made it out of the airport, the taxi was waiting for us. The driver explained us the details of what we were seeing and added some personal comments now and then. What made me silently laugh by myself on the backseat was him imitating the horns outside: bouep bouep!, while he was remaining calm and smiling.
As soon as we stepped outside of the car, we learned the most important lesson as a pedestrian: stay all the time on the right side of the road and as close as possible to the wall. You never know when a motor might jump out of nowhere over your feet.
We arrived at the riad, met our host, made a tour of the beautiful building and headed out for the dinner. On top of a building, viewing the main market of Medina, with moroccan music, an inhumanly large meat tagine, fruit cocktails and mint tea…this is how we ended the first day in Marrakech.
We staid at Riad Dar Bounouar – I strongly reccommend it!
Day 2: breakfast on the rooftop, just the two of us, the birds and the sun. 4 different kinds of bread, almond cream croissants, butter, 2 kinds of marmalade, orange juice and coffee. Simply perfect! We tried some yi chuan before the breakfast but the view was toooooo beautiful to stay on the inside of the body and mind.
The city looks different with the sunlight, that’s for sure! We started the search of Medersa, the ancient Coran school. As expected, we entered the labyrinth of souks and got lost. We enjoyed the tentatives of making us go inside their shops, the beautiful objects around us, the little streets with their original lifestyle and we ended up again in the main market. There, a man with a white long dress was waiting for customers. So he tried his luck on us. Apparently his grandfather fought in Romania during the war of 1918 (as my grandfather did) and he has some roots there. Or he doesn’t, but he convinced us to hire him for 2 hours as our guide. His name is Momo (like the diminutive of Michael, he explained to us).
We visited a cooperative where single women (divorced or widows) are preparing the argan oil and we were able to smell the moroccan ingredients and find out details about their origins and usage. We left the place with a little bag of acquisitions and continued to the jewelries shops, as I was looking for a special ring. We didn’t find it, but we’ve seen wonderful sculpted furniture and decorative objects.
We let Momo go pray and get back to his 4 children and only wife (who didn’t give him the permission to have more wives, as the law requires these days) and we continued the search of Medersa. When we had finally found it….we understood why it’s a must to see it! More than 100 deserted rooms, infinite corridors leading to small inner yards and to other corridors and rooms. Getting lost inside the school was one of the nice experiences of the city.
As it was already hot when we have found the exit, we decided to stop for a tea and a henna tattoo. So we started searching Henna Cafe, as it was the only place I wanted to have my skin drawn on. A really small terrace on the rooftop, feeling like a sauna. 8 tables and 3 persons smiling to new arriving customers. 2 tables were already taken and tattoos were already being made. Fatima (the creator of the place) was already drawing someone’s hand so I thought I’ll get someone else to do it. One energizing tea and small conversations with the girl serving the tea, it was Fatima herself who came to give me my drawing. With the help of a translator I explained to her that I want something simple, representing love and simplicity. Her imagination did the rest. I was watching her creating my design and I was feeling her enjoying her gift entirely. When she finished she looked at me and our hearts talked. I had tears in my eyes while she was wishing me happiness and love, blessing us and saying that she will pray for us. I cried. In his arms and with a drawing on my right arm.
We went back to the riad and enjoyed the rest of the day in the peaceful deco of the building. Dinner on the rooftop, a bottle of red moroccan wine and vegetables tagine. It was our 2 years anniversary and it couldn’t have been better than that!
Day 3: He woke me up with a kiss and a song in 3 languages, wishing me happy birthday. Breakfast on the rooftop and off we went for a city adventure! Destination: Majorelle garden! We had to go outside of Medina for this and it proved to be way more complicated than expected. More noise, more motos, more shops, more smoke….When we had finally found the garden, it felt like a piece of heaven! The trees, the birds, the colors! Simply wonderful! I received 2 hands full of palmier seeds for my future jewelries, we met 2 Romanian women and we tried a vintage camera of a German lady. On the way back to Medina we walked aside a former mathematics woman teacher of Marrakech, who lived there for 4 years 40 years ago and we had a small description of how it used to be. After that we helped a Belgium couple find their way back.
It was too hot, too noisy, too dusty for us to even try to get directly back to the riad. Simply too far! So we decided to stop for a tea. We went on the rooftop of another building, promising a 360 degrees panoramic view. Terrace des epices turned out to be another piece of heaven for the day…for my birthday! We shared a tea and a menu and enjoyed the quietness and the sprinklers. And yes, the view is interesting!
On the way back, in line for the ATM (which is never giving you the amount of money that you request), we chatted with a couple from New Zealand. They had been there for 2 weeks and had visited the surroundings of Marrakech. This is how I know now I’ll get back there one day and go visit Chefchaouen!
Few hours later we were back to the beautiful room inside the riad. We had a little chat with the owner of the place and then prepared for dinner. A 60 years old French man (virgo, too) who decided to leave France 17 years ago and buy a house in Marrakech. One accident later and a lot of work, he has now 4 houses and enjoys helping tourists have a great experience in the city. His team in the riad where we stayed was composed of a woman for the kitchen, a men for small chores and Youssef, his right hand!
Being our last day in the city and being really tired, we decided to not face the city life for finding a nice terrace to eat and searched for a place around the riad. We ended up at one of the tables of Nomad. One German couple next to us with whom we’ve exchanged opinions during the evening, excellent food and great service! Plus that I had finally had my candle birthday cake! It was the perfect end of a perfect day! 33 years old already…
Day 4: woke up early, said goodbye to Youssef and the riad, got into the cab and headed for the airport while enjoying the sleeping city. Once back in Toulouse, after talking 30 minutes with a Canadian couple about the city and its surroundings, we spoiled ourselves with a delicious kebab, a long nap and a walk into the city. It’s all the time good to be back home! Oh, and yesterday was my name’s day…
Looking back at the 4 days, I realize that I’ve been talking with so many persons! All from different corners of the world! And I’ve enjoyed every single moment…even the long line in the airport or the never ending coming and going motors!
The food, the smells, the tea, the fruits, the colors, the noise, the houses, the narrow streets, the people…especially the people…Marrakech is a special place that sticks to your heart like a candy. I’ll see you soon, Morocco!