Published: February 11th 2008February 3rd 2008
Our last breakfast in Marrakech was as good as all our previous ones; only a little earlier. We left the hotel and walked to the bus station, just outside the medina, for 9 o'clock.
The bus stations was another of those must-do Moroccan events. On arrival we were greeted and ushered towards a bus and then charged extra for our bags; another 20 DHR. This was followed with a 45 minute wait on a full bus for our departure time. This was not any normal boring wait, no, it was special. We were bombarded with beggars, the blind, kids, sellers and preachers all asking for money in their own special ways.
To get out of the station the bus has to traverse many obstacles and people by means of shouting and people banging on the sides of the bus. The journey was pretty uneventful, although the change in landscape was strange as it changed from dry arid land into more fertile and green scenery.
One problem with arriving by bus is the arrival at a bus station. Here lingers touts and hustlers, all wanting a few dirham commission for getting you into their hotels. A 'normal' hustle starts
with telling you how great their place is, this quickly moves on to them saying that they have a special Moroccan price for you and a suitable follow on is then how perfect this place is for you. On refusal they will then lie; the place you have reserved will be 'closed' or 'full' or maybe the 'showers won't work' and this will be followed with the first things repeated. All very fun.
A short walk through the medina and a dozen or so more 'hustlers' and we arrived at our hotel Smara. Pleasant enough, sea view, proper toilets...it will do nicely! Our window looked out on the ramparts with cannons and further on to the sea and crashing waves.
On first stop was the beach with its 'unspoilt' coast, although we ended up at the port by mistake. Plenty of fish grills, lots of fishing boats but very little sand. We watched the boats sway with the waves for quite a long time before continuing on to the beach. Beautiful sea and silky sand occupied us for most of the sunlit hours; coasts were strolled, waves dodged, holes dug and much fun was had by all. We
must have looked like fun loving people because the number of times we were offered kif, hasheesh and space cakes was astounding.
This is not to say that nothing interesting happened, quite the contrary, as we were walking along after eating a couple of delicious ice creams I recognised a familiar face! In Essouiria of all places. It was Ian, a Scot who we met in Plovdiv at the Hikers Hostel. The weather couldn't be more different as in Plovdiv it was some of the worst weather from our last travels! Ian has been travelling for 12 years cycling around the world and it just so happened that our paths crossed twice! After chatting we made our way back to the hotel.
While going over a few things the light started to change colour; watching from our window we watched as the sun slid away behind the sea and as blue turned to crimson and gold.
We ate tea across the road from where we wanted to, the other place was empty, and sat down at low tables with candles. The place was nice, the staff were lovely and the atmosphere was lively but the food was
bland and all tasted of very little. The price was right so we were happy enough.
We watched the evening go by from the ramparts listening to the waves crashing before retiring to the bedroom to read the paper and think of good old freezing Blighty!
There are more photos below