I´m finally taking the time to write about the last stop of our Morocco trip: Marrakech. Probably one of the most-visited and most well-known places in Morocco, maybe even in all of Africa. We´d seen various different sides of this country and we were very excited to find out what the typical “week-end trip Morocco visitor” experiences.
After the night in the desert and the long car ride, we were glad to check into our room in beautiful “Riad Sijane”. The employees were also very attentive and reliable. We spent the next two days doing all kinds of touristy things and spending our last dirhams. Right away we noticed that this city is much more used to tourists than (for example) Fes. Actually, we were surprised by how “Western” it felt. Tourists walking around in hot pants, Moroccan women in skin-tight leggings, noone giving us weird looks or comments. Tidy main streets and squares, kitschy A Thousand and One Nights hotels, bars and clubs, shopping centers. Exactly what an European tourist would hope for when travelling to Morocco. There´s an “exotic” vibe, but nothing too overwhelming and there´s no need to really adapt to the environment. If you´re willing to spend the extra money, you can easily eat tacos or burgers and drink a green smoothie. Here, Morocco has adapted to its tourists. And as many only visit Marrakech, they´ll never know that that´s not how it is in other cities. A German couple who´d just arrived in Marrakech was slightly shocked when we said that Marrakech was really modern and open-minded in our opinion.
Well, I don´t want to lie…we still really liked Marrakech. As exciting as the last days had been, it was great to go out without thinking about how many more layers of clothes you can put on without melting in 36° weather. It was the first time we felt like we weren´t being watched all the time and the only time we felt comfortable being out after sunset. Of course, we grew kind of tired of all the tourists everywhere, but you can´t have everything.
Here´s what you should(´nt) miss when visiting Marrakech:
- Djemaa el Fna (the main square, full of life day and night, artists/food stalls/souvenir sellers… competing for attention)
- Koutoubia mosque (a famous landmark, pretty to look at from the outside but not much more)
- Cyber Park (a park with wifi zones and touch-screen monitors, very clean and tidy, surprisingly nice layout, good for a break from the bustling city)
- Cacti (found all over the city in public places, great for instagram pics)
- Townhall (you´ll probably see it when strolling along one of the main streets)
- Narrow streets, small shops, beautiful doorways… (don´t miss out on getting lost and discovering all the beautiful stuff this city has to offer, no need to buy anything- just soak up all the colours, smells and patterns)
- Snack Adam (an inexpensive fast-food restaurant with everything from pizza to tajines and crepes)
- All the cute donkeys and cats
- Bahia Palace (a palace full of tourist groups and instagram models, 70dirham per person, has beautiful architecture to offer but oh my god…all those tourists!, not worth the money for me- but I guess I´m spoiled from all the palaces I´ve seen in Asia)
- Juices from the fruit trucks on the main square (so good, so cheap (for European standards), but don´t ask me how ALL of those stalls can make enough profit to survive- you´ll get what I mean when you see it)
Fittingly, we spent our last six dirham on Djemaa el Fna- the focal point of the city. Five on an orange juice, one on a cookie from an old lady. During our last night in Morocco, women and children were singing and making noise outside of our riad. We thought they were protesting against something. As we later learned, what we´d call disorderly conduct was their way of celebrating. You never stop learning.
In this spirit, thanks for coming along on our journey to Morocco and see you soon!