First immersion in the city

Marrakech Travel Blog

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It is quite exciting to think that this month is the second country I am visiting. Last year I had so much work that I did not have the opportunity to travel enough. This time I chose Marrakech, as in February in most of countries the weather is too cold. Besides, my mother loves Marrakech, and this is my Christmas present to her!

As always I read everything written in Travbuddy and I bought my Lonely Planet. Actually I bought two! Marrakech Encounter and Morroco! I loooove reading about all destinations. But this time I am trying something new! I visited and I bought a tour guide in .mp3. It is a brilliant idea, as every touristic resource has a number drawn in a map and an audio file explaining everything about it.
So what I did is to buy the guide for 17 euros and store it in my iPod. This way we can stroll all around the city, and every time there is something important I can play mi iPod to learn everything about it. I also gave my mother an iPod Shuffle with it so when we are in the plane she can listen the guide…

This morning I overslept, so we rushed all over the place to get on time. No problems whatsover, and Clickair was very punctual! Now I am already in my seat, writing to you guys and checking all my notes and guides. Yesterday I spent all day preparing this trip. It is a five day trip, so I need to organize it properly.

Excitement, that is the word that better describes how I feel today! Once we get to the airport there will be a taxi waiting for us.
What worries me is where to exchange money. I read all about the use of money so first thing we are doing is to exchange money in a local exchange office. If I find an ATM machine I will exchange money directly instead of exchanging euros to Dirhams. Just you know 1 euros is about 11 Dirhams and you cannot get them in your local bank as Dirhams are not imported or exported anywhere. As soon as I connect tonight I will tell you guys what is the best option.

We are staying at Riad Maison Do in The “Medina”, the oldest neighbourhood in the city. You will find a review of this riad in my travel blog. It is located 10 minutes from Jemaa El-Fna! That’s all for now, I will keep writting tonight… ;) It is time to play my audio guide!

It is 1am in Marrakech and I can only say… Woaow! What an amazing city we have been visiting! Lets start from the beginning….
Our flight hasn't been too good as the pilot had to do some manoeuvres to land the plane. They didn't say anything, but we are sure something happened there. For a moment I felt like I was piloting with Tom Cruise in Top Gun… shoot!  I even heard some screams and I could see people`s faces... white…. very white… ☺

During the flight we had to fill out an inmigration form we had to hand it in at our arrival in Marrakech. As soon as we exited the aiport, there was a guy from the hotel waiting for us. Right at the exit you find some official exchange rate offices, so we exchanged all our money. Actually I withdrawn all my money from an ATM machine, which is the easiest way.

There were some water drops, but right when we headed to the car, it started raining like crazy! Raindrops were huge so in 2 minutes we were soaked wet! Damn, what a nice welcome! ☺ It took us for ages to get to the hotel, as one of the main roads was closed.
They drive like nutcases! No rules, actually it is quite scary!  When we finally got to the hotel, everyone in the Riad came to us to say hello! Very kind and nice people! They even gave us a better room for the same price! I booked everything through Venere, and the rates from the room we finally took were much higher! There was notoby else in the Riad, so I guess they could do it with no problem. The room is beautiful and there is also a beautiful and bright patio right in the middle. A man sat down with us and served us a tea while explaining how to move around with a map. It is not easy to find your way around, as streets are very very narrow and not well indicated. Well, not indicated at all! ☺

It was still raining when the man explained everything to us, so they offered to cook us lunch until the rain stoped.
By the way, they asked me if I wanted wine and I bought a bottle of local wine for 7 euros, which was not bad at all! ☺ In the Medina is difficult to find a restaurante serving alcohol, so I guess we got lucky! Then we unpacked all our luggage and got ready for our first experience in Marrakech.

The Riad was around 7 minutes from Place Jemaa-el-Fna. The streets had a very lively red colour, even having rain most of the time. On the way I took many photos as everything looked beautiful! Once we got to the Place, first thing you come across are small booths with fruits and other tasty things. Then, as we walked across Jemaa-el-Fna two guys came straight to us! They put two monkeys on my shoulders so we could take a photo. The photos came out great, although I did not enjoy being forced to pay for them when we didnt ask for it.
My mother came out in the photos too! We were quite annoyed at the moment, but later, once we saw the photos, we laughed about it! They wanted 20 euros for it! We gave them 5 and they got quite angry! ☺ ohhh well… you also find may booths where they sell food and orange juices! As you keep walking around you ended up seeing any kind of shows (snakes, etc…)

From Place Jemaa-el-Fna we went to see Minaret Koutoubia. They say that the Giralda de Granada was inspired in it! Right next to it you find the Mosquee Koutoubia and a small park with a big line of carriages. In “planeta finito”, a travel program on TV, we saw that they cost 10 euros per hour, although we don't know for sure as we didn't ride in it. Once we saw some shows in the middle of the Place, we headed to the souks!

Don´t ever ask anyone how to get anywhere! If you do, get ready to pay money, and they don´t like coins, they want bills! Even if you don´t ask, some of them will walk with you until you give them money.
A couple of times I got quite annoyed and I had to get a litte bit rood in order to avoid them. One of these men even sweared at us! We followed the soaks until we got to Marrakech Museum, Qobaa Almoravide and Madrada Ben Youssef! On the way back to Jam we stopped at Café Arabe (attaching a review).

The terrace is upstairs and has beautiful views over the city! In the winter they close it with some kind of plastic, but in the summer is wide open! You can tell not too many local people can afford it, as it was packed of tourists and did not a single local! If you are around, it is a must see place!

Once we left Café Árabe, we went back to Place Jemaa-el-Fna and we book a table in Le Marrakchi! The had two shifts, one at 7.30pm and another at 9.30pm! if you dont reserve in advance you might not find a table at 7.
30! (attaching a review from the restaurant)

Le Marrakchi is right in the squere overlooking the whole Place. I guess it is a touristic place, but you eat extremely well and for a very small amount of money. It is true than my mother and I do not eat so much, but It only cost us 32 euros for two people!  We had couscous with chicken and vegetables, a tajin with chicken and a  local beer (Casablanca)! Food was really good although they don´t have a very huge menu!

If you make a reservation make sure you tell them to book a table next to the window, as in a clear day you can see the whole Place. The only thing I did not like from the place is how small the tables were! Everyone recommened this restaurant, so we were kind of forced to do it and improved our expectations!

From the restaurant we headed back to the Riad! Woaw, I love talking too much hehehe I will talk to you guys tomorrow!

marg_eric says:
nice blog! :)
grz. Marg
Posted on: Mar 08, 2009
montecarlostar says:
Muy buen blog! A mí también me gustaría conocer Marruecos algún día...
Posted on: Mar 01, 2009
carmepla says:
Congrats, keep on writing
Posted on: Feb 15, 2009
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Marrakech Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Bar / Restaurant with views over the city
Café Arabe is located next to the souks, around 4 minutes from Qobaa Almoravide, although if you don´t find it fast, just ask someone for directions… read entire review
Marrakech Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Restaurant with views over Place Jamma El Fna
Le Marrakchi is right in the squere overlooking the whole Place Jamma El Fna. I guess it is a touristic spot, but you eat extremely well and for a ver… read entire review
Marrakech Hostels review
Beautiful Riad in the middle of the old city
When I started organizing the trip I had to decide whether to go to a hotel or a Riad. For some reason I thought a Riad was a better option if I wante… read entire review
photo by: sweetet