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Published: June 26th 2015
Journey here is was very long, leaving Doah at 3 am and arriving here equivalent of 10pm. But all the plans fell into place, train straight from the airport in Casablanca. Taxi into the Medina area and arriving at our riad hidden in a warren of narrow cobbled streets through a souq.
First impression of the ‘biggest square’ in north Africa was not overwhelmingly good. Reminded us of Krakow but much grubbier. Lots and lots of eating places around the square and in the middle of the square. How so many carts selling orange juice for 4 DH can possibly make a living or so many barbeque stalls in the evening is hard to tell. Lots of tourists. Clearly Ramadan is not the issue here as it is in Doha. We had our first meal just as the call to prayer in the evening was being sung and the cafes were full. Square is described in the guide book as a theatre, circus more like with jugglers, acrobats, snake charmers and men with monkeys on leads, all dressed up in colourful outfits. Add to that the large number of hawkers of watches and the latest iphone and it’s a busy
Our riad is quiet escape form the mayhem of the souq and square. Three stories of rooms around a square courtyard with a roof top terrace full of potted plants and shade.
Unbelievable number of cats of all colours and sizes roam the alleyways, and often the restaurants too.
Although the souqs are crowded and busy it’s good to be in a place with atmosphere and among people living their chaotic lives after the quiet of Doha.
Highlights of sights have been the beautiful Bahia Palace (Bahia literally means beautiful) and it is. Lush courtyards surrounded by colonnaded rooms with intricately painted ceilings, carved doors and cool tiles. Nearby is the Si Said museum another lovely house with a particularly beautirul marriage room with a huge domes and decorated roof.
The Badia Palace is something different again. It is huge and old but nothing left of the once grand interiors. The huge walls that surround the compound have a population of storks that have made it heir home, including a number of huge nests. They make clicking noises which you here all the time as you walk around. The courtyard is the impressive piece
here, massive space with two sunken citrus gardens and a reflecting pool that bisects the whole courtyard and would once have had a big fountain at it’s centre. The video showing an artist impression of what is would have looked like in the 16th
century showed a very beautiful and ornate palace around this amazing courtyard.
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