Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

Marrakesh, Morocco ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ 2019

Date: 21-22nd September 2019

Travelled: only by foot around Marrakesh

Visited: Marrakesh

Stayed: Parking Koutoubia Mosque โ‚ฌ14, the usual services. N31.6238, W07.99534

Budget: xx days @ โ‚ฌxx per day

Map of Marrakesh, the icon on our overnight parking spot.

Locally known as Marrakech, international as Marrakesh, our guide book describes it as the heart of Morocco. Rabat is the administrative capital of the country, whilst Marrakesh has shared that honour several times over the past thousand year.

We went for a short wander last night, firstly for a cash machine (in Morocco cash is King, no one takes a credit card) and secondly for something to eat. Koutoubia Mosque parking is expensive by Moroccan standards, but itโ€™s like parking your motorhome adjacent to the Sydney Opera House when it came to being amongst the action.

Just 200m from the Koutoubia Mosque, Rue Beni Marine is buzzing with tat and small restaurants.

Marrakesh has been an in-place to be seen since the 1960, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and LED Zeppelin have all lived here for a period of time although I doubt they can remember it. Our plan for today is to walk our guide books half day tour of the Medina. Breakfast done we walk across into the Medina to find the starting point.

A daytime photo of the Koutoubia Mosque as opposed to the nighttime one I posted last blog. Built in the 12th century is 70m in height.

First stop is Dar Si Said, built in the 19th century by the brother of the King in traditional riad style. It is now the home of the Museum of Moroccan Arts.
Our guide described the dome ceiling of the wedding chamber as a masterpiece, make up your own mind.

We manage to find Djemaa el-Fna. A large open space surrounded by tat stalls and cafes. In the middle the snake charmers and monkey keepers.
Hitting monkeys ๐Ÿ’ with a stick and annoying cobras ๐Ÿ is not something we want to encourage.

We visit a fountain that is not worth a photo and a garden thatโ€™s currently closed for renovation when we reach our last stop the Maison de la Photographie. Itโ€™s a lovely old riad (house) which has been converted into a photo exhibition. It has a wonderful series of photos from the the 1870-1960. Your not supposed to take photos of the photos, but purchase a copy.

We discover by chance they have a shaded roof top cafe above the gallery, the height capturing a cool breeze on a hot afternoon in Marrakesh. We share the chicken pastlla and Moroccan salad, by far the best food we have enjoyed on our Moroccan adventure to date.

We return to the Hymer via the Carrefour for some fresh fruit and a bag of ice. We have some recuperation time, before drinks as we watch the shadows extend to the early evening and the call to prayer sound again. So itโ€™s leftovers tonight as we are too comfortable to return to the heat outside.

Our second day starts with a short walk to the Bahia Palace in the southern Medina. Entry is โ‚ฌ7pp for foreigners, โ‚ฌ1 for Moroccans. This seems to be the standard price for all government maintained museums to date.

This riad (come palace) was built for King Bou Ahmed in the 19th century taking 14 years to decorate by a team of master craftsmen from Fez.
There are many decorated rooms, ceilings and doorways to explore as well as the gardens. The riad is cleverly designed into 4 quarters after all Boa Ahmed led a complex personal life with 4 wives and 24 concubines. Itโ€™s good to be King !

You can only have your photo taken in so many doorways before you realise itโ€™s time to move on. As a casual observer I would think these places would be more interesting if they had some original style furnishings.

We move on further into the Medina to Museum Tiskiwin. Much more interesting at โ‚ฌ3pp. The Tiskiwin is the personal collection of Dutch anthropologist Bert Flint. His collection dates back to 1957, covers all areas of Morocco and the Western Sahara.

The collection is housed in this lovely 19th century riad. Itโ€™s cool and somehow captures the breeze. We thought this museum was particularly good value.

You can zoom in and read about the Al-Mansour Tomb here and save me some writing.

Al-Mansour died (1603) in splendour, taking much of his wealth with him, by the looks of it. Amazingly some 60 years later the tombs were walled up with mud bricks only be forgotten for 400 years. An aerial photo taken in 1917 led to its rediscovery.

The tombs are done and so are we. It has been another long walk and the weather app tells us itโ€™s 36 degrees. Pam has her eye on a couple of scarfs so we wander back through the Medina. Despite its complexity we can make our way with relative ease, which saves a lot of time. If you look lost people will try and engage you and offer to help, obviously for some small fee and to take you via their friends shop. Itโ€™s all a bit of a game. But look like you know where your going and they leave you alone, save a lot of time saying no (3 times).

We are back in the Hymer by mid-afternoon, luckily enough someone left the air-conditioner on. We have a very late lunch of English Jacobโ€™s cream crackers (identical to an Arnottโ€™s Sao in Australia) with Spanish ham, French cheese and Moroccan tomato and avocado. Wash down with some Portuguese beer and wine. After a nap we go for a walk on sunset but Marrakesh is done.

Michael and Pam

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