Monday, March 19, 2012

Moroccan Adventures: Part 1

A few months ago Dan and I found a Groupon for a resort in the Moroccan Atlas mountains.  The place looked absolutely stunning and the price was right, so we bit the bullet and bought the voucher.  I've always wanted to go to Marrakech, so we decided to split our time between the city and the mountains.

We arrived in Marrakech on Wednesday night and made our way to our riad.  I had heard that little kids will follow you around and then--once you've arrived at your destination--demand money for acting as your tour guide.  That definitely happened to us, though in this case we were glad for the help.  It would have been impossible to find our riad without these kids.

Riad Boussa was a real oasis.  It was less than impressive from the outside (as are many Marrakech buildings), but inside it was everything you want a riad to be. It was beautifully decorated and very comfortable.

Riad Boussa's Courtyard

Riad Boussa's Terrace

Since it was already pretty late when we got in, we had a quick mint tea with the riad owner and then headed out to the square.  What a fun atmosphere!  It was so lively with all the food, music and shopping.  We had dinner at one of the stalls, grabbed fresh squeezed orange juice  (for 50 cents!) and took in the night.

Selling Escargot

He let me get behind the counter

The next day we walked all over the city.  We saw snake charmers in the square, spices piled miles high in the souqs, an old synagogue and a palace.  All of my senses were engaged. It was fantastic.

El Bahia Palace

El Bahia Palace

Later that day we met up with some friends from Harrogate; we visited another palace (though this one was not nearly as impressive as the El Bahia), saw a ton of storks, and tried a new fruit.

El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace

I have no idea what this fruit is called, but it was delicious and turned my mouth and hands bright red.  Anyone know what this is?  You peel it to eat it, and it was sold next to cacti, so maybe it's a prickly pear?

That night we had a great dinner on the square with our friends.  The restaurant had a fantastic atmosphere and even included a belly-dancing and fire show!  These women were dancing with a tray of lit candles on their heads!  Crazy!

Moroccan Salad


Belly Dancer

On our last day in Marrakech, we wandered the city some more and made our way to the tanneries where they make leather.  It was both repulsive and fascinating.  To give you an indication of how bad this place smelled, we were given a sprig of mint upon entry.

Animal Hides

Walking around town was so fun.  Marrakech is so vibrant!  As much as I loved it though, the next couple of days at the resort were just as lovely.  I'll be back to share part 2 soon!
Walking in Marrakech

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