Marrakech is a completely different world from Europe even though it was only a little over an hour flight from Madrid. On our first day we walked through the souk including the fruit market, the spices, the metals and other housewares and the clothing. We also walked over to the main or largest mosque in Marrakech. The tower is the tallest in the city and can be seen from pretty much everywhere. There are smaller mosques on almost every corner as well.
We went to dinner around 7:30 local time so Drew could see a football match. It was a Sunday and on our way home the streets were flooded with people trying to purchase shoes or fake Lacoste shirts. It was both amazing and unnerving trying to weave our way through the streets. In fact Andrew tried to get a picture of the snake charmers and when they started walking towards him with a snake I bolted to the other side of the market and Drew was worried because he couldn’t find me at first.
Our Riad feels like a little oasis in the madness and poverty of Marrakech. Riads are not hotels but private residences that have rented out rooms. Most of them have beautiful and relaxing courtyards and ours had two turtles basking in the sun. We were greeted with local desserts and mint tea.
Our first full day we decided to venture outside of the Medina (or old city) and we went to Jardin Majorelle. It is a private garden that is now a tourist site, museum and café. They have lots of local plants but also plants from all over the world including agave. It was relaxing and surprisingly cool in the garden. We ate lunch in the café and enjoyed some local juices.
Afterwards we went to the Saadian tombs. They were quite remarkable and were discovered in the 1920s. The detail of the carvings and decoration are absolutely amazing and similar to what currently exists in the local mosques today (we were able to see inside one as we walked by).
In the evening Andrew went and picked my mom up from the airport and we had a traditional Moroccan dinner at our Riad – complete with chicken tajine.