The big day has come!! Morocco here we come. The feelings were mixed!! Excited and also anxious for the unexpected experiences that the new continent will bring. From the airplane I could only see desert. Only when we reached some kilometers over Marrakesh I could see big hotels with swimming pools. It was about half past 8 p.m. . The design of the Marrakesh airport was very interesting, with construction details and lightning installations. However, it wasn’t designable as the New Delhi one.
When we got out our driver, Mustafa, was waiting for us with the sign “Υπέροχα Πλάσματα» (Wonderful Beings) which is the name of a viber group that me and my friends have. He was friendly and kind. He took us for a quick city tour with the car. It is a busy city, the streets were packed with cars and people. Even the grass areas near the street were full of people, since it was the Eid Al Adha. A Muslim holiday, that celebrates how God substituted Abraham’s son with a sheep, for sacrifice. We ended up to a restaurant and we were waiting for another friend, who was arriving to Marrakesh an hour after us. After 40 minutes she was with us at the table.
The taste of the food was similar to Indian, a lot milder. Tagine (a Moroccan dish named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked), was the main dish and we could not imagine that the rest of the trip we would have tajine for lunch and dinner (there is no photo of tajine below but you will see it on the other posts of Morocco. It was tasteful but at the end of the trip i got sick of it!! I couldn’t smell it. It is kind of stew that we do here in Cyprus and is composed of meat, potato and vegetables.
After the dinner it was time to visit our first accommodation. Our first night at a riad. Riad is a traditional Moroccan home which has an interior garden or courtyard. Mustafa stopped at the side of the road and he called someone. He then asked us to pay him the whole trip package since we had only paid the deposit. Then a guy appeared from a shortcut. He was the guy working at the riad. He introduced himself, Hasan, and he then helped us with our luggage. Mustafa said he will meet us tomorrow at the same spot next day at 9 o’clock in the morning. We followed Hasan through the shortcut that he came from. The shortcut was a bit dark and there were a few people there. Then it was like we got into a narrow labyrinth that you could easily get lost. The bad thoughts were rising, as a lot of articles and videos we searched, before coming, were seeing people getting scammed in Marrakesh.
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After a few minutes, Hasan opened a door and when we got in, I saw a small hidden paradise. A small beautiful courtyard spelled our eyes. Colorful, patterned carpets and Moroccan objects were decorating the whole place. There were big coconut trees reaching the top of the building.The rooms were a dream. High ceiling, double bed, African decor pieces and mosaic bathroom. I could not ask for more!! The best part was the rooftop, where it had sunbeds and a kiosk. It was magical!!! The view was spell bounding. Camera cannot capture the beauty of this place. We sat on the sunbeds and talk for a bit about our excitement of coming here. We then had a shower and slept.
Next day I woke up and found the others on the rooftop having breakfast. We packed our things and we went to the spot that we were going to meet Mustafa. He was there with a travel guide. We farewell Hasan. We put our luggage in the car and we started walking in the city. The weather was awesome, better than Seville.
Marrakesh is also known as the Red City, because everything is build from the local red sandstone.
We first stopped at the Koutoubia mosque, which is the largest mosque in Marrakech.
We then moved to the gate of the Medina. Medina means the old town.
There we visited the Saadian Tombs where sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty where buried. The most exciting room was the one with the 12 columns where the son of the sultan of the Dynasty was buried. The graves in the garden are belonging to the servants and soldiers. Every extra layer on the grave was showing the prestige of the buried person. Also, bodies were buried to side to save space in the ground.
The next stop was the Bahia Palace, but we skipped it because in a few hours we were going to meet with Mustafa and travel to another city, and we wanted to see the main market too. Bahia Palace was built in the late 19th century. The name means brilliance and indeed it was the best palace back then. Seeing videos through youtube the interior seemed to be the same as the Seville one.
So we reached the market which were full of people and animals. People are using snakes and monkeys to make money by taking a photo with the tourists. We were terrified hearing about the animals, but it turned out that if you do not show interest in them, you will be safe. The market was amazing, decor objects, bags, jewelries and shoes. The bargain here was more difficult than India. We bought what we wanted and went to find Mustafa.
I found out about La Mamounia through instagram, one of the most high class hotel in Marrakech. Even Michelle Obama stayed here when she visited Marrakesh. We asked Mustafa to take us there to see it before we leave Marrakech. The securities at the door told us that visiting time is only on weekends and it was a Friday. We begged them and in the end they let us in. They were very friendly. The hotel is amazing. Rich interior in burgundy and gold palette with imposing furniture and lightnings. The garden was huge with a swimming pool and contemporary sculptures. The most beautiful room was one with mosaics columns but it was closed and we could not visit. We left the hotel and we got into the car to head to the desert.
The room I wanted to visit in La Mamounia
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