An April 2004 trip
to Marrakech by linet
Quote: Morocco is the gateway to Africa from Europe. In Marrakesh, Islamic culture and European colonial culture are both present. It is a magical city and very chaotic.
There are some great restaurants in Marrakesh, so if you leave this 'healthy eating' madness aside, you may have the food of your life.
In Marrakesh you must stay in a riad: these traditional architectural miracles are clean, silent, comfortable and cool.
1. Taxi is a thing to go from A to B. You did not even get in, but the driver starts talking and talking, wants to be your guide for the day, makes endless offers, but he does not seem reliable enough. You just leave him, go a few meters, turn the corner and you will get a better taxi. There are so many of them, mainly in front of touristic places like Jardin majorelle and Djemaa el Fna.
2. Before you get in, he tries to agree on a price with you - like one asked to take us to bus station for 30 dirham. Don’t believe him. Meter is always cheaper – the one we took to bus station for 5.6 calculated by the meter.
3. If a driver tells you that the distance is too short or meter is not working, don’t believe, just get out. He will rip you off 100%.
4. Never go to a restaurant or hotel offered by a taxi driver.
5. From Friday afternoon it gets harder to get a taxi and Saturday nights is very difficult.
They will also inform you about riads. Built between thick and high walls, these miracles of Moroccan architecture take care that no noise or dust can come into the house. There are no windows for outside but a beautiful garden in the middle. Once upon a time, big families would live in these houses. Married girls would leave the house for the mother-in-law's house and a new couple would get a room. And once upon a time it was also very inappropriate for ladies to go out, for any reason. So the roof or the terrace was the place of the woman. That was the place where they met each other by jumping over neighbors’ roofs to socialize. It was not allowed for men to go to the roof out of respect to other families.
Staying in a riad is an experience you should not miss in Marrakesh. Not only for the atmosphere and the feeling but also for the fact that the rooms are so cool in summer as if an air-conditioner is working inside.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 15, 2004
94, Derb Moulay Abdelkader - Medina
+212 (6) 6115-8179
Tajine was a bit too fat, but that's the way it should be, I am told. Decoration is very elegant and general atmosphere of the restaurant is very romantic.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 15, 2004
9 Derb Zaouia El Kadiria Riad Zitoune J’did Medine
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 15, 2004
El Badi Palace
Place Des Ferblantiers
Attraction | "Souks"
There may be some locals chasing you to hire them at the entrance, but once in the souks, you should be left alone.
There are carpet souks, carpenters, dyers souks, spice souks where you can also see very unusual material which locals still use in witchcraft and mostly illegal in many countries (teeth, and parts of rare animals), babush (colorful slippers) souks can all be visited. You should have the courage to negotiate in souks. Even though I was told to pay half of the first told price, you may get in touch with reasonable sellers sometimes who tell you a good price at once. But once I could not find the appropriate price for a teapot. The prices I was told were mainly European prices. Fortunately, there is a big retailer in Morocco called Marjane, so I have found my teapot against affordable prices. So you can keep it as the last option in case souks are not for you but you’d still like to take something with you of this country.
Djemaa el Fna/Jamma el-Fnaa
Attraction | "El Bahia Palace"
Bahia Palace and Gardens
Along Northern Edge Of Mellah
Marrakesh, Morocco 40000
Medersa Ben Youssef
Place Ben Youssef
(044) 39 09 11
Ave Yacoub el-Mansour
(00212) 044 30 18 52
Please note that visiting gravesites is a taboo for Moroccan and Islamic culture, so it is kind if you dress conservatively and be silent.
Next To Kasbah Mosque, Off Rue De La Kasbah
Attraction | "Djemaa al-Fna"
You can eat at one of the food-stalls. Each has a number so you can remember it next day. There are almost all type of food sellers: sheep heads, kebabs, orange juice, dried fruit sellers.
There are women making henna - don't worry, it will go off in two weeks if you wash as much as me.
There are the dentists, witch doctors to consult your troubles, singers, dancers, magicians, snake charmers and water sellers.
Beware that every photo you make here will cost you bucks. Especially beware the snake charmers who throw the snake on poor tourists and ask for a huge sum to take it back. If you want to eliminate the hassle, go up at one of the cafes around the square to watch the party.