Monday, 26 August 2013

A Postcard from Marrakech

It seems so very very long ago now that we had a long weekend in Marrakech - and of course it was: more than five months ago in fact.

We stayed in a lovely riad in a little, slightly smelly alleyway right in the centre and yet a million miles away from the madness and hubbub that surrounds you there. It was hard to believe once we passed through the front door that the Djemma el-Fna was just a short walk away. And yet it was.

Naturally I had a list as long as your arm of food I wanted to try and places I wanted to eat but we fitted in a lot of sightseeing too: the Saadian tombs, Palaces Bahia and Badi, the medina, souks and Djemaa el-Fna, a hot air balloon ride, the Jardin Majorelle... I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

As ever I took a lot of photos, some serious editing has narrowed down the field for this post. Unfortunately I can't remember exactly what was eaten so there has been a little guesswork. Where possible though I have done my best to work out where we ate.

View from the Kosy Bar overlooking Place des Ferblantiers on our first night

Delicious bread that came with our first night's meal

I think this was some sort of Lamb Mechoui with vegetables

Breakfast at the riad: plentiful and delicious

Front door of the riad: an oasis of calm

Bab Agnaou, built in the 12th century & one of  the 19 gates of Marrakech

The 2nd mausoleum of the Saadian Tombs

Ornate plasterwork & murquana detail

In the grounds of the tombs

Berber pharmacy

View of the Atlas mountains from the El Badi Palace ramparts

16th century walls and view

And a 21st century puss

Tagines ready for the lunchtime rush in the mellah

Djemaa el-Fna looking decidedly calm.. that won't last 

More delicious bread and an olive tapenade at Terrasse des Epices

Trio of Moroccan salads: carrot, aubergine, potato

A posher version of Lamb Mechoui

Lamb, prune & almond tagine

Mint tea: lovely

Approaching the Souk des Teinturiers - dyers' souk

Ironworker's Souk

The Djemaa el-Fna is starting to get busier

One of the many orange juice stands in the square: about 30p

Dried fruit, nut and spice stalls also abound

Not to mention snake charmers

Place des Ferblantiers as dusk falls is a great place to hang out...

people watch.....

and get a nice refreshing beer...

Back in the riad, peace and quiet prevails

Dinner at the riad starts off with a mixed salad

This dish of mixed meat & couscous doesn't look particularly big here... it was enormous

We barely made a dent in it but it was terrific

A simple dessert of strawberries and banana was surprisingly tasty

Our hot air balloon is going up - eek!

Up & away at sunrise

So beautiful & peaceful

The competition...

Giving myself a mini coronary

Our very amusing pilot shortly after this demonstrated a "crash landing"

Back on solid ground and a Berber breakfast 


Boys playing football just outside the Berber village

Petulant camel baby

Stork's eye view of the nests atop El Badi Palace, from the Riad roof terrace 

Detail on the roof

Chicken pastilla to start at Al Fassia, a restaurant in Gueliz (the new town)

Mixed skewers with saffron rice

One of my all time favourites: Kefta Mkaouara (tagine with spicy lamb meat- balls & eggs)

All the food at Al Fassia is exclusively prepared & served by women

Peeking through the cacti at Le Jardin Majorelle

Yves Saint Laurent bought the gardens in 1980 and his ashes are scattered there

Doorway at the Ben Youssef  Medersa

And another on a grander scale

The cedar, marble & stucco carvings are amazing

Closed since 1960 the medersa gives a fascinating glimpse into life in an Islamic college

As the sun sets the Djemaa el-Fna really comes to life: you'll find  whirling dervishes, storytellers, magicians...

And of course dozens upon dozens of food stalls

We started off with some bread & delicious dips, harira and calamari

Sweet trolleys pass by tempting those with a sweeter tooth

Our final stop and the last of our food: delicious little sausages grilled over coals and served with bread, chilli sauce and olives

Lightning fast reactions are required in the souks, else you find yourself mowed down

Shopping in the souks isn't just for tourists

Actually these were the last of our food 

A sweet pastilla and a lemon meringue tart

Le Riad Turquoise, 82, rue Touareg Berrima, 40008 Marrakech
Kosy Bar, 47, Place de Ferblantiers, Mellah, Marrakech
Terrasse des Epices, 15, souk Cherifia. Sidi Abdelaziz. Marrakech Médina Al Fassia Guéliz, 55, boulevard Zerktouni 40 000 Marrakech
Marrakech by Air,

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