Blogs from Marrakech, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, Morocco, Africa

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Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech September 27th 2019

Breakfast for one today. Lee is not terrific and decided to stay in bed. Without sounding too heartless breakfast was still very good. I could just about live on the fresh juices and mint drinks here. Apart from that cucumber concoction I mentioned yesterday I have not tasted one that is t delightful. Even now I’m by the retreat pool sipping a lime/lemon/mint and soda drink that is very refreshing and most welcome. At Jemaa el-Fna I had one of the mixed fruit drinks that are spruiked everywhere and again it was delicious, quite filling but very nice. Despite thinking I could live on juice I still managed muesli, yogurt (very good here), fruit, cheese, smoked salmon and a couple of pastries. Thinking that was enough to fortify me for the market I set out for ... read more
Is one of us leaning?
I thought I was ready for Jamaa el-Fna and the souks.
Jamaa el-Fna, the meeting place of the nobodies (and one more).

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech September 26th 2019

Another delightful Moroccan breakfast. Well really Moroccan with the lot. Here the olives still accompany breakfast dishes but so do piles of fruit, petit tubs of slightly flavoured yoghurts, a mixture of cheese and meats more extensive than we’ve seen for a while, an array of cooked dishes again extensive but far beyond what we can even look at and then cakes, pastries and little Arabic pancakes that are great with goats cheese and strawberry jam (sort of east meets west fusion food). Additionally the juices are terrific with the stand out exception of some cucumber based concoction that no amount of doctoring could render it drinkable. Breakfast is around the pool but it’s a pool that I’ve never seen anyone in or even near. Sure they have a pool complex not far away but this ... read more
Breakfast with Lee. Don’t drink that green stuff in the glass.
Rug salesman that will come to you!
That’s the main railway station here in Marrakech.

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech September 25th 2019

Another Moroccan breakfast. Some bizarre juice, pink and a slight grapefruit flavour and no sign of the pomegranate that we bought and asked for breakfast but some olives (?), jams, goat cheese (very nice and very light), honey, yoghurt and some fairly good pastries make a more than adequate substitute. It was on the sun balcony as usual and Rabat showed us another cloudless, blue sky morning with the little breeze we have become accustomed to. A leisurely pace still saw at the station with plenty of time to spare so Lee managed one of glorious fruit cocktail drinks she has had her eye on for a while. I think she’ll line up for an avocado based one soon but it may have been a bit heavy so soon after breakfast and so soon before our ... read more
The mid morning ‘cocktail’, chilled and blended fruits.
The Marrakech Express.
Meditation time?


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It was our final day in Marrakech today, and we were sad to leave the friendly staff of our riad! But before catching our train, we scheduled a hammam experience, which is a traditional spa originating in the Ottoman Empire and widely used throughout the Islamic world. I'm sure the experience varies by spa location, but in a word, here's what it was like for us: Intense! The spa room itself was quaint, accommodating only two people at once. Two platforms joined in an L, so Sean took one and I took the other. It was steamy and smelled of oranges. Our hammam technician was swift and efficient! In limited English, she told us "Robe" and gestured for us to remove our terrycloth robes. Sean was in his swimming trunks, and she told me to remove ... read more
If we were Arabs
Freshly-dyed silk threads
One of the monkey men

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech April 25th 2019

Tomorrow I leave Morocco after 20 days in this beautiful and diverse country. The trip was divided into 2 Intrepid tours: north and south. Both trips differed dramatically in landscape and experience. The north provided a wealth of cultural knowledge with the backdrop of many towns and cities, very very old, from Casablanca the commercial capital to Fes the cultural capital, and the north Tangier where the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet, and the Rif Mountains influenced by Spain. The south was a feast for the eyes with the landscape of the countryside - the Atlas Mountains were magnificent and the contrast as we moved from high to the mesmerising dunes of the Sahara, and then on to the Atlantic Coast and the beautiful Argan tree countryside - incredible. The highlight for me was a night in ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech April 10th 2019

Few desires, happy life ~ Moroccan Proverb HE SAID... Today we were travelling southwest from Tangier to Marrakesh. After arriving by bus from Chefchaouen that morning and spending the day in Tangier, it was time to travel to Marrakesh on an overnight sleeper train. We shared a meal with a local family, jumped into a minibus and drove to Tanger Ville (Tangier’s train station). We arrived fairly late (10:30pm), but our train wasn’t leaving until 11:30pm, so we had a bit of time to spare. There were very few travellers waiting at the station, so I was surprised to encounter an overly zealous (dictatorial) train guard implementing a strict boarding protocol. Apparently everyone had to board each carriage in the order of their cabin, as this would reduce – if not eliminate – the potential for ... read more
streets of gueliz
msemen flatbread
mint tea and pastries

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech February 2nd 2019

It’s always pleasing to set off on holiday when the weather at home is bad, but it’s a bit worrying when the first snow of the winter strikes the night before you leave. Mercifully, the roads remained clear, and BA cancelled European flights but not our flight to Marrakech. Despite a delayed departure, we arrived almost on time. We watched with a mixture of fascination and horror as the luggage carousel threw suitcases down a two foot drop, round a sharp bend and crashing onto the belt, inflicting visible damage in some cases. Mercifully ours survived unscathed! Aziz, our guide for the trip, met us outside, and in 15 minutes we were at our riad. Well, almost – building works meant we had to walk the last few hundred feet. We were welcomed with a refreshing ... read more
Marrakech spice seller
Koutabia Mosque Marrakech
Street in old Marrakech

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech December 26th 2018

Marrakech was a 7 hour train ride from Fes and is one of major stops for tourists, though I'm not quite sure it lives up to its hype. Another imperial city, it is also a mix-up of various cultures and has your typical sites; mosques, medinas, palaces (the King has many across the country) and gardens. This city never stops - motorbikes and vehicles clog up the narrow streets and the honking and sound of the motors quickly grow exhausting. We took a day trip to Ouarzazate (Where-zeh-za-tee), the Hollywood of Morocco. We first traveled through the Atlas Mountains for a few hours, seeing some beautiful scenery. We then stopped of at Ait Ben Haddou, an earthen village along a former caravan route, where we were forced to use a local guide to see the location ... read more
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Ait Ben Haddou

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech December 9th 2018

It is 6.36am. The very first call to prayer started some time ago. I heard it from my bed. The calling woke me and I had no idea where I was / were I am. Then I realised, not through memory but through touch - the bed, unfamiliar, hard, short in length, wide, crisp, in a Riad, in the Medina, in Marrakesh. I get up straight away to hear the callings to prayer that Elias Canetti wrote of when he lived in Marrakesh. On the rooftop veranda of the Riad, I find that I am surrounded on all 4 sides by the amplified call to morning prayer. In my complete ignorance, I follow the sounds from different calls from the minarets across the city by rushing around the roof in complete darkness, scattering cats ahead of ... read more
light
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calling to prayer




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