Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

our last imperial city, Marrakech

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM
my heart was reluctant leaving the romantic Riad with spectacular ocean views. I pulled my luggage one more time through the Mogador's narrow labyrinth streets. The thud thud thud of my Nautical duffel wheels bouncing off the cobblestones accentuated my impending departure. The evening in Essaouira will stay with me always. At the parking lot outside the medina, our driver Abdoul Habibi was already there with our van ready. 3 hrs later, we arrived at our final imperial city Marrakech. World famous, world popular, so exotic for most, so sad for me since this was my last day. The hotel Grand Imilchil had very nice turkish style seating areas with nice sofas and cushions. However, the rooms were again, just basic. My hotel room had a balcony so I've hosted our last BYO lunch there. T, S, D and T came to share the food brought at the local grocery. The hotel situated in the Gueliz, the modern part of the city, was only 10 minutes from the Koutoubia tower and just behind it, the medina, so our guided tour was on foot. I was pleasantly surprised that the Bahia Palace was included in our walking tour. It was one of the sights I'd really wanted to see. I wasnt disappointed as the palace had the most intricate and elegant Islamic architecture of all the places we've visited. It constantly reminded me of the ones in Khiva. I was happy to at least get to visit 1 major site. The Majore Gardens, the Saadian Tombs, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, so much I had to miss because I've planned to leave a day early. But I did not regret it as by now I was tired of the road trip, tired of using bottled water to brush my teeth, tired of the basic hotels and tired even of group dinners. I actually anxiously awaited the luxurious peacefulness of Sheraton at Schiphol. we spent a fair amount of time zigzaging through the souk, and because it's still festival week, most artisans shops were closed (so what's the point of taking us through the artisan lanes), and same old shops upon shops of ceramics, potteries, leather goods, cheap jewelry, clothing, shoes, spices, ... the souks were beginning to feel old. The souk ended at the Djemaa el-Fna square. the place was already packed with tourists and locals. Vendors were setting up stalls and tables for food and there were already a few snake charmers, magicians and monkeys. I ventured back to the souk for a last chance on ceramics but did not score any. Dinner that night was at the terrace of a local restaurant with Berber music and belly dancing. I had to order a tagine, my last one.


See Marrakech pictures:

marrakech

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