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Published: October 10th 2016
SALAM again from Marrakesh What else did I see and experience in the pink city? JARDIN MAJORELLE
Our first attempt to reach the Jardin Majorelle by foot on our second day in town, got as lost and back to the center of the Medina. So, today we got smarter and took a cab.
French painter Jacques Majorelle spent forty passionate years to create this enchanting garden in the heart of the “Ochre City”.
But it wasn't until famous designer Yves Saint Laurent
and his partner, Pierre Bergé, bought the Jardin Majorelle in 1980, saving it from becoming a hotel complex, that the recent history of the garden began. They revived the garden, added to the collection of plants, and made the Villa Oasis their home for years.
When Yves passed away in 2008, his ashes were scattered in the rose garden and a memorial was built in his honor. The garden was then donated to a foundation he owned, that oversees it from Paris.
Collections of 300 species of exotic plants, cacti, bamboo, and trees are landscaped beautifully. There are also a
lovely stream, a pool, a café, the Galerie of Love, and a store. The villa-studio, now houses a Berber museum.
The garden has been described as “a haven of serenity”, but to be honest, while they did not take away from the beauty of the garden, the crowds of tourists robbed the serenity of the place. SPA & HAMMAM
Marrakesh is fascinating, but boy it can wear you out with its scorching sun, the dust, the noise and the attention required so you do not get lost A LOT.
The riad is a quiet refugee, but why not get refreshed, and pampered, in one of the many hammams and spas.
I am very used to massages and love to indulge by getting some in my travels, particularly when the country visited has its own traditional ones, like Thailand, Indonesia, China, India do.
Even tough spas offer massages here in Morocco, hammam
, or Turkish bath, seems to be THE thing to have.
I passed many public hammams, for either men or women, on the narrow streets of the medina. I also knew it
was something most locals indulge in at least weekly. However, I didn’t know exactly what it consisted of.
Well! What a better way to find out then experiencing it?
We went to a small hammam belonging to a riad near ours. Here is how our hammam experience went:
-My girlfriend and I were first taken to the changing area, where we stripped down, put on (awkward) disposable panties, sleepers, and robes.
-Then we were taken to the hammam itself, a steamy warm little room, like a sauna. The attendant told us to take off our robes. We had no idea we were going to do this together, sharing the same little room, so we tried to tell her we preferred to be in individual rooms. She looked very puzzled hearing our ignorant request, and kept asking why as we try to reason with her. We finally gave in, leaving our western modesty aside, and I laid face down on a slab, as directed, and let the fun began.
-Warm water was scooped from a small "tank" over my body.
-After, the young woman lathered me with scented black
olive soap. So far it was relaxing, but next came the vigorous scrubbing
with a rough glove to exfoliate my skin. Well, well… It was somewhat like being sandpapered (haha).
-Following, I was rinsed with more scoops of warm water and was told to stand to be coated with ghassoul
(a natural mineral clay
mined from the Atlas mountains). I then seated and waited while my friend got her turn.
-Finally, I stood in the middle of the small room again, as she scooped warm water to rinse me off for the last time. I opted out of the hair treatment, which is commonly part of the hammam.
Afterwards we put our robes back on and headed to the candlelit massage
room for 45 minutes of enjoyable reflexology. Next was pedicure time
(these are separate from the hammam). Granted this wasn’t a luxurious place, but in the end, we had been pampered for 2.5 hours for just $45. What not to love about it?
Now, for true massage indulgence, we found the more upscale FARNATCHI SPA. The reception woman, Saida, was lovely and accommodating, the place peaceful and elegant. We
went there twice and loved it both times.
On our last day there, after the 1.5 hour massage with local oils and herbs, we had candle lit dinner on the rooftop of the restaurant next door. MOVING AROUND AND GETTING AROUND MARRAKESH
While walking on the labyrinth of the Medina, we had to quickly learn to move to the sides and out of the way of the motorbikes flying by on the narrow alleys.
Taxis’ set prices make it easy for visitors. Within the Medina, ride costs 30 during the day and 50 at night. Going outside the Medina costs 40 during the day. Make sure you verbalize these prices before you enter the vehicles, as some drivers may up the price IN THE END... Did I enjoy my time in Marrakesh?
Absolutely! Do I plan to return?
Absolutely, hopefully with my son and daughter, and with more time to explore the many places I didn’t have a chance to visit this time.
So, so long for now “Ochre City”.
• Scroll down to see more pictures. Double-click to make picture large and
• *** Stay tuned for the next blog on the Sahara experience
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