We arrived on 2nd January and it was hot & humid, although the temperature drops considerably at night. The airport is a sight to behold – and just a tiny glimpse of what is to become in this very exotic city. We took a taxi from the airport to Marrakech – not a long journey, and inexpensive – well worth doing as public transport needs to be fathomed! The rules of the road just seem to be that there are no rules Apart from if you’re a donkey, and you have right of way. All the time.
Riad Mouna, where we were staying for two nights before heading west to Essaouira, is right in the heart of the medina, which is closed to most* traffic, so we were dropped off outside the walls and taken on foot to the riad. This could be quite an alarming experience, especially at close to midnight, but take a deep breath & go with it. It’s worth it! I’ve never had such an introduction to a city before – but dragging your cases through the medina streets doesn’t half prepare you for what’s ahead!
(*except scooters, donkeys, vans loaded with a million things destined for the souks strapped to the top/sides/next to the driver. So, not closed to traffic at all. Just to let you know…)
Riad Mouna is right at the end of an alleyway (off the street leading to the main square) – once off the main drag, and the noise, it’s surprisingly quiet. Apart from the children playing football – which is what every child in Morocco seems to do The entrance to the riad is through a very small doorway – remember to stoop, and then this…
Although compared to some riads it’s quite basic (!), it is beautiful – full of Moroccan artefacts and intricate mosaics. There’s also a lovely roof terrace where breakfast is served – very traditional with pancakes and juices and wonderful coffee, with a view over the rooftops of Marrakech and away to the Atlas Mountains.
We spent two days exploring Marrakech – and to be honest, as amazing as it is, I don’t know that I could have done any more. Obviously, in the medina restaurants, alcohol is a no-no – we did hear about the “coca-cola rouge” but that was after we’d left – so advice would be to stay in riad or a hotel where you can get alcohol (and in most you can – but sadly not Riad Mouna, as we discovered), if you think a dry holiday is out of the question. However, it wasn’t due to lack of alcohol that meant two days was enough – it’s the fact that it is an assault on your senses and we just needed to get to Essaouira and soak up the laid back, hippy vibes
So, here it is, in all it’s noisy, colourful, dramatic, hot glory. Marrakech…
And, yes, we did buy the beautiful rug pictured above. But that’s another story, for another blog
Riad Mouna – 6, Derb el Bir. Quartier Riad Zitoune Lakdim. Médina – Marrakesh – MOROCCO