Morocco medina madness

A door opens

We checked Kayak Explore in late October to see how the rates were to Europe. We were thinking New Years week. We looked at Amsterdam, too cold. We thought Lisbon? Too rainy and cold. Then we landed on Morocco and saw a flight for 1100$. Sold. I have always loved the Moroccan esthetic. Mixed with simple and modern, they just go together. We set out for Casablanca.

 

The doors of Morocco called.

First stop Marrakesh. Tea on arrival.

We made it to Marrakesh on Mose’s 17 birthday. The P’tit Habibi was our “little friend” in Marrakesh.

In the courtyard.

The lobby.

It was a great spot for us. The kids had their own room ūüėČ

Amazing inlaid everything. The door to our bathroom and closets.

Breakfast on the terrace.

Birthday boy in heaven.

The coolest in Marrakesh.

We found off the beaten path restaurants for authentic street food. Meat skewers! Our fav!

Marrakesh was a visual treat. We hit the markets.

Everything you want, you can find.

In Marrakesh it is customary to hire a tour guide. Our guide first took us to Ben Youssef Madrasa School.

It was the largest and most important Islamic school in Morocco. It has over 130 rooms and housed over 900 students. Amazing to see. Perfectly portioned and the tile work was crazy.

Lovely.

Next stop the Maison de la Photographie. The Maison de la Photographie is, first of all, an Archive, supporting the concept of History of Ideas in Morocco.

Interesting photos of travelers in Morocco are housed here.

And it had a great snack shop upstairs, with a nice view.

Lunch at Le Jardin in the Medina. All greens welcome.

And these guys too.

Next on the agenda of our tour guide was to get us to buy some rugs. So rug shopping we did.

Into the rug souk number 1.

We ventured out to the night market craziness.

And sampled the snails that we read about.

More shopping in the newer, hipper Marrakesh! Chabi Chic. A must!!

We were driven to the beach town of Essaouira on day 3. On the way, our driver stopped at the goats in trees stop. There were babies, too. NYTimes recently did an article about this. It was quite an experience.

It was a beautiful town. We wished we could have stayed much longer there. Like 3 days!

We had an yummy beachfront lunch with sea urchins.

and little fishes.

There were great cafes and shopping.

And the doorways.

all blue and green.

Back in Marrakesh we¬†visited¬†the Jardin Majorelle.¬†It took French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) forty years of passion and dedication to create this enchanting garden in the heart of the ‚ÄúOchre City‚ÄĚ.

Cactus gardens to die for.

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought the Jardin Majorelle in 1980 and saved it from falling victim to a real estate project and becoming a hotel complex. They moved in and he used some of it as a studio for painting. It was stunning!

 

We walked through the Bahia Palace.  The palace was built in two stages by two different men, a father and son who has served in grand viziers Alawite Cherifian.

We spent our last night in Marrakesh having dinner at the most authentic Moroccan restaurant (recommended by a friend) called Dar Yacout. Truly breathtaking place. Private rooms with fireplaces and servers in traditional dress.

Live music too! Once in a lifetime experience!

And the best chicken tagine I have ever had!

The next day we made our way through the Atlas Mountains to Fes. If I would have known how long (8 hours) this was really going to take we would have either added days on to the trip or flown to Fes.

Once in Fez, we checked into the Jardin Des Biehn in the heart of the Fez medina.

We had the Pacha suite, which was very spacious and over the top. The hotel has beautiful gardens and ponds and a really good restaurant, the Fez Cafe.

A hidden oasis, with an art gallery and a gift shop all in a very small boutique hotel atmosphere.

Fes was an amazing experience. It is called the largest pedestrian walking town in the world with over 800 streets in the old medina, you can get lost in one block. A guide is mandatory, just to get you from your hotel to dinner. However many restaurants have people who will come get you at your hotel and then bring you home after.

Our guide took us to the tanneries. Pretty amazing jobs these guys have.

We checked out some mosaic and pottery galleries. Mathilda got to join in.

There were rug souks to find. Coin Berbere was our favorite. I had heard about it in one of my books. These were shipped to us. The government of Morocco subsidizes the shipping of goods from Morocco to the States so it was not that expensive and we got them in 2 weeks!

Nougat stands and slipper shops were everywhere. Everything you could want was everywhere. Everyone making a deal.

Herb carts.

And pickled everything.

The mules were my favorite. The cool thing about Fez is there are no cars or mopeds, only people and donkeys. So not so chaotic.

We wanted to visit the Mellah (the Jewish Quarter) and set out to find it on our own. A young man found us and wanted money to show us where it was, then wanted more money once we got there. That’s how the Moroccans role. Everything has a price.

Stunning doorway to the Synagogue.

 

The University of Al-Karaouine. The oldest known university in the world. The wood carvings and tile were exquisite.

How Moroccans get around.

The great thing I learned in Morocco is the doors are always open. They are the kindest, most patient and welcoming people.

My heart is full.

 

 

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