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Published: December 27th 2012
Firstly, i'll just explain the title. 'Marrakech', coz thats where we were, and 'Express' because I reckon its a place you want see and get out of as quickly as possible. Also, the song... It's in your head now isn't it? :D
So, Marrakech. You will get scammed in some shape or form. This is a fact. Its best just to accept it and move on. Our first day consisted mainly of getting completely lost. Marakech is a maze of markets and houses, unnamed alleys and dusty roads. The mosques are the best navigation tool. They are all named and because it's prohibited for buildings to be taller than a mosque, you can always find your way to one. Although we hadn't figured that out yet on the first day, so we spent 5 hours 'exploring'. We did go to the tannery that day. A 'free' tour that required we gift the guide with 200 dh, which works out about £7.50 each. With no idea where we were, we paid and were guided back to the 'big square'. After that, we retreated to the hotel. We found a shopping center 5 mins away. It was quiet and sterile and stuff
had the prices on and you didn't get hassled while you looked. We are bad tourists.
The next venture into the centre of Marrakech was with a guide, on the half day city tour we got for free. It began at an olive grove and we now know a lot about olive trees. The reservoir to irrigate the olive grove had huge fish in. The bread in the picture is about a third of a big round loaf. The fish is big. The tour was informative but not all that interesting. We didn't really go anywhere. Except a spice shop where I bought some saffron. An upside is that you don't get hassled as much in a big group, but we didn't do much more than we did the first day.
Our third visit to the centre was a little more successful. We went to all the places the guidebook suggested. Well, most of them. We couldn't find Palias de Badi. Not for want of trying though...
Day three was an early rise for the trip to Ozoud cascades. We both woke up ill. Annie decided to pass on the trip,
but I wanted to get out of Marrakech. We stopped at a berber market on the way. So SO much cheaper than in the city. Its aimed at locals rather than tourists. The ozoud cascades are the 4th
highest waterfalls in the world. And very pretty. I took lots of photos. :D As we were walking down to the bottom of the waterfalls, we heard a shriek from one of the restaurants we were passing. A monkey had swooped down and stolen the bread basket from a table of four, climbed into a tree and was being chased by a cat. I met a few people on that trip. A couple of girls from Birmingham, Zara and Alisha, whose bargaining skills are the stuff of legend. And mother and daughter, Hilda and Emma. I spent the last day with them as well. We visited the Majorelle gardens, Designed by Jaques Majorelle and the home of Yves saint Laurent before having a look at La Mamounia. La mamounia is a hotel, in a converted palace. And you can tell. It's beautiful. One day I will have enough money to afford a night in the cheapest room. Churchill is said to have
stayed there when he visited Morocco. It's the type of place that has someone at every door to open it for you. It's the type of place I wouldn't mind designing.
All in all, I can't decide if I liked Marrakesh or not. By the end of the holiday, the culture shock had worn off and I was getting into the swing of things, but I enjoyed the trip out a lot more than the city itself. I'm a country bumkin even in other countries I guess. I would go again, but I think marrakech could probably be done in a day if you know what you want to see. Two at most.
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