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Things we visited, saw, ate in and found in Marrakech
The Jemaa El Fna is one of the most amazing places we have ever seen!
The square is busy at all times of the day and night with tourists, entertainers, market sellers, mopeds and donkeys - well worth a spy. You can either explore from ground level, or, sit in one of the many roof top restaurants and have a meal (or just a cold drink) while watching the hustle and bustle below. The sound of drums and snake charmers fill the air and it is worth going around 5ish so you can watch the market transform from day to night. As the sun sets it makes a lovely impression on the square which takes a gorgeous photo from any angle. The square is lit up as the sun fades with small lights - just magical!!
However, do be prepared to haggle - start off low and them aim for what you consider a reasonable price. Within the square you will be invited in to EVERY shop and stall. The key word if you do not want to visit the shop is "La Shukran" (not sure how to spell but that is how you say it) It means "no thank you" in Arabic and works a treat.
Leading off from the main square are many alleyways. These are fab, and you will get lost - but thats half of the fun! The alleyways are made up of hundreds of little shops, all filled to the rafters with trinkets and treasures. The colours and cobbles are like a scene from a film.
We found a cool company called Splash Morocco who took us on a day trip to the Atlas mountains - totally recommend them!
It is a tiny bit cooler up in the mountains, but still super hot. We were picked up from our hotel and travelled to the Atlas Mountains. It didn't seem to take us long to get there (not hours!) but we were chatting to the guide as we travelled so time flew by.
We arrived at a real Burber house, had a look around their amazing house and garden and then finished by eating homemade bread, honey and butter with homemade Moroccan tea with the family. The best food we have ever had. The family are so welcoming and enjoy showing you their house and telling you about how they live. We were accompanied by our guide Andy from Splash Morocco, as he has visited them for the last few years he is one of the family so you are treated as relatives also.
You then go on to the camel riding - well worth doing, just to say you have, don't wear you best clothes, as bless them they are lovely animals, but are quite smelly and poo a lot!
Then we climbed to the waterfall - Just as you feel proud of yourself that you managed to get to the top and you navigated the large rocks well without tripping (and i'm very clumsey!) you notice the sofas at the top - How did they get up there? We will never know, but, it was great to sit and chill on them, again, having a gorgeous glass of Moroccon tea.
Before heading back to the hotel we stopped off for a traditional Moroccan meal in a restaurant with the most amazing views of the mountains. You are well fed, so if you do this tour skip breakfast!
The Jardin Majorelle are colourful and tranquil gardens within Marrakech. They are quite small (on the scale of other gardens you can visit) but these were by far our favourite. Check out the pond in the middle, if you look closely there are turtles - once you spot one you'll start seeing loads!
As they are small you'll probs only need an hour to have a good look around. You pay a small entrance fee, but it is worth it just to escape the busy life of Marrakech. Again, when you come out there will be a multitude of taxis ready to take you to your next location.
We spotted this on a super hot day while walking around Jamaa El Fna (the market square) You can pay for a 24hr or 48hr ticket and the prices are pretty reasonable too.
As with all red bus tours they are hop on and hop off so it can work out a lot cheaper than taxis if you are planning to do a lot of sights in one day. There are two tours included in the price, the main sights and the gardens. You receive headphones and listen to the guide as you travel around. The top deck is covered but with open sides, so you can manage to get a breeze without burning......perfect! We found this a cool way to find out what else we could visit while we were there, cool down a bit and rest our poor feet.
The Medina is packed with small shops and restaurants. It is worth a visit, but personally we enjoyed the square a little more.
There is a government owned shopping centre. This is filled with the same trinkets and treasures you will find in the shops outside, the only difference is in here everything is fixed price. We found that with a bit of haggling you can get better prices outside, but, if you want gifts with less hassle it is worth having a shop in here.
We found that you do end up in traditional pharmacies quite a lot, normally you are dropped off outside one by taxi drivers or end up in one when offered directions by a passing local. The pharmacies are cool (on your first visit!) they show you lots of herbs and ointments they use which - however they do expect you to buy things, and even if you pick one item you will find they are very expensive! Most people we spoke to had ended up in one (or four) of these shops. The people are lovely, but it may be best to say you have no money from the very start of the demonstrations, as you have to be quite stubborn if you want to hang on to your cash and not spend the lot!
A little hidden treasure pointed out to us by Andy from Splash Morocco.
This is a small cafe filled with old English books. We went there on a Monday night for some food (Which was lovely!) and to join in the Monday night pub quiz. We were told about this by Andy and had a great laugh.
The quiz is created by a lovely Australian lady who makes everyone feel welcome. The cafe is a regular hang out for expats and has a lovely friendly atmosphere. They also sell alchohol here, so if you are craving your favourite tipple you know where to head.....