Three words to describe Marrakech – overwhelming sensory stimulation. The week I spent in the tourist capital of Morocco had me craving for the sights and sounds of the souk (market), and searching for the flavors of its local dishes.
It was my first out-of-the-country trip with some of my high school barkada, and we stayed in Riad Merstane – a quaint guesthouse, less than 2 kilometers from the medina (about a 20 minute walk). The managers, Rashid and Rashid (or as we like to call them, Rashid laki, and Rashid liit) were the most gracious hosts. Rashid liit especially made sure we enjoyed our daily excursions, arranged our transportations, and made our stay as comfortable as possible. Moroccan mint tea was always offered, and the rooms were cleaned everyday.
Breakfast is served at precisely 8 o’clock, but you can always inform them if you want to eat earlier, or later in the morning.
My first night was spent exploring Jemaa el Fna. After three days of wandering around the medina, I’m sure I still haven’t seen every nook and cranny of this place. Corners will lead to another souk, with endless shops and food stalls that will surely put a hole in your pocket. Always bring a few dirhams with you whenever you pass by, and also don’t forget your haggling skills (which apparently, I do not have). 😀
Other places of interest are the Bahia Palace – built in the 19th century by Si Moussa, incorporating Islamic and Moroccan architecture; the Saadian Tombs – resting place of Sultan Ahmed Al-Mansour; and Jardin Majorelle in Rue Yves Saint Laurent. These three spots can be visited in a day. Jardin Majorelle, although a charming garden, can be skipped altogether if you don’t have enough time in Marrakech. I suggest going to the museum, or going for hammam instead.
Oh, I do love Moroccan food, but eating it everyday would have been a bit taxing. So yes, we did have some Italian at Limoni one night. A bit pricey, but good ambience.
Marrakech is a small city, but there is a whole lot to discover. With the good-natured and hospitable locals, plus a fascinating culture full of color, patterns, and flavor; it’s no wonder Marrakech has attracted millions of tourists from all over the world.