Saturday, December 11, 2010

Marrakech on a motorbike! Part 1

Marrakech is probably Morocco’s most famous city and is well know and liked by the tourists. With the Atlas Mountains on the horizon, the Red City is full of charm with it’s hudge winding medina packed with treasure filled souks. And what can I say about the Jemaa-el-Fna square. I’ve never seen anything remotely close to the frenzy of this place at night. I can truly see why every single person who I have ever spoken to about Marrakech has spoken so fondly about the city. I very much enjoyed my stay there and I think that Marrakech well represents Moroccan arts and crafts and many traditional customs.   My only regret is that I feel that Marrakech, because of it’s appeal and warm welcoming, is too tainted by tourism. Food stand owners and shop keepers are used to dealing with tourists so everything is expensive (compared to other cities). Never the less, Marrakech is a warm, romantic and magical city!

Because of the large amount of tourists that visit Marrakech every year, the city is strikingly clean compared to other cities! It’s called the Red City because every building in Marrakech is painted a pinkish terracotta color.

Marrakech has 1 million motorbikes (or so it seems). Everyone rides a motor bike in Marrakech, from the business man to the veiled woman to families and very old folks. The city buzzes and wizzes by in a sea of bikes. And to be no different form anyone else, so did we!

The old medina is characterised by a certain amount of doorways which give access to the old city and it’s narrow winding streets.

The square  Jemaa-el-Fna . This place is very surreal. Looking at it at night time, you could never guess that during the day this place is almost completely empty. Every night at sun down, all of the venders come and set up their stands which they then pack-up and leave with well after midnight. Grilled meat, dried fruits, freshly squeezed orange juice, warm spicy snails, … the list of food to taste is endless. There are also the musicians, the story tellers, the old women who applie henna, the snake charmer, … the list goes on. I have never seen a place like this one.  Jemaa-el-Fna  realy makes you feel like you are in a different time and place.

There’s always time to sit down and share along table to eat a few Maroccan traditional dishes.

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