Sunday, 15 June 2014

Marrakech | First Impressions

Our first day in Marrakech felt like two. Our flight landed at half past ten in the morning, having taken off at 6.40am, which meant we'd spent the previous night travelling to Gatwick and hanging around the airport. The excitement of landing in a new country, a new continent in fact, wore off while we were queueing at passport control in a packed room that thankfully had air conditioning. The Marrakech airport was immaculately clean, far emptier than I would imagine any British airport close to an equivalently large city being. They were over charging for ice cream though.

From there regular buses for 30Dh (about £2.20) run into the city centre, the airport shuttle was as empty as the airport, locals having relatives or friends to pick them up and most others prefer cars laid on by their hotels or private taxis. Having since ridden in Moroccan taxis I'm glad we took the bus, I couldn't have handled the stress of speeding through busy streets in old cars with no seat belts on top of how tired I was.

I'd like to know how much they'd charge for a place like this in London...
From the main square, Jemaa el Fna, we made our way down a tiny side street called Rue Sidi Bouloukat that was very easy to find due to the unmissably large Cafe du Grand Balcon being right next to it. This street, we'd been told in advance, was the best place to find budget accommodation near the old town and it did not disappoint, the second hotel- The Atlas Riad- we walked past offered us a double room for 170Dh, or £12. It was basic: bed, window looking over the courtyard, sink, but it was clean and cheerful and meant we could stay in the centre of Marrakech for very little money. We went in and fell sound asleep.

When we woke up reception recommended Snack Toubcal as a good place to eat and drink so headed there for our first of many glasses of Moroccan Tea. The fact it looked out across Jemaa el Fna and allowed us to people watch was another bonus. After being revived by tea we set out to explore the souks, Arab marketplaces.

The souks were narrow and bustling, full of smells and spices, generally you just aimed yourself in the direction you wished to travel and walked but sometimes you have to jump out of the way of a donkey or motorbike. Worse are the cyclists who weave silently through the crowded streets, surprising you with the speeds they reach. Mostly they were covered alley ways with dark shadowy shops, which . Unable to bear the temperatures in the high 20s we sought out another cafe, this time with a rooftop terrace where we could look out of the square of market stalls, and ordered more thé á la menthé.

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  1. Looks amazing. Have a great time!
    Water Painted Dreams xo

  2. wow, that looks amazing, I hope you had a super time! I'm so jealous - I would love to go to Marrakesh! I can't believe how cheap the hotel was too!

    Suitcase and Sandals Blog - Travel, Lifestyle and Fashion