My close NCT friends decided that the mums should celebrate 10 years of kids and friendship, so after a quick planning meeting we had planned a three day trip to Marrakech, Morocco.
Marrakech is the 2nd largest city in Morocco and is know as the Red City. It is over 1000 years old and is abundant with history, culture and amazing architecture. Today, Marrakech is a very vibrant city, bursting with colour and noise. We went without the kids and husbands to celebrate 10 years of being mums. Here are some of the things you can do on a trip to Marrakech:-
As you step from the city through the large doors to the Rhiad, it was like entering another world. It was a real contrast, from the bustle of Marrakech to our own private sanctuary. The rhiad had a wonderful style, with traditional Moroccan tiles and furnishings.
There was a small, very cold plunge pool in the courtyard at the bottom and loungers on the roof top, which looked out over Marrakech city.
Fall in love with the city
Marrakech is truly a city of contrasts. There are areas in Marrakech that are drab and neglected and others that are awash with bright colours. In particular, the beauty of the buildings and doors in Marrakech is stunning.
One great way to see the city is to hire a local tour guide. This is a great way to avoid getting lost in the winding backstreets of Marrakech. I would really recommend this idea.
We booked ours through the rhiad, where we were staying. He took us to the backstreets and on routes we might not have venture on alone. He gave us lots of history and background information on the way, so we could really make the most of our visit to Marrakech.
Step inside Bahia Palace
This extravagant, historic 19th century Bahia Palace, is a fine example of traditional Moroccan architecture and cultural heritage. This is a must-see when in Marrakech. You will enjoy wandering round the former residence of Bou Ahmed and his 4 wives and exploring the concubines’ quarters.
Nowadays, you can still admire the colourful tiles, stained-glass windows and lush gardens. Take time to wonder round the grounds and delight in the elegance of this royal abode.
Visit the square, Jemaa el-Fna
Jemaa el-Fnaa is the large square in the centre of Marrakesh’s medina and is a must-see visit. It is a busy, vibrant square in the day, but comes alive at dusk when it becomes Marrakech market. One of the best things to do at night is take a wonder through Jemaa el-Fnaa, when it fills wih food stalls, vendors and entertainers.
However, Jemaa-el-Fnaa can be a bit overwhelming at first. Take time to immerse yourself with the locals and marvel at the unusual sights of the snake-charmers and performers. Alternativley, if you prefer to enjoy the ambience at a distance, there are restaurants with terraces overlooking the square
The Koutoubia Mosque
If you are in the square, you cannot miss the red sandstone minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, as it stands looking impressively over the Medina.
This 12th Century landmark is the largest mosque in Marrakech. You will hear the sounds of the muezzin calling the followers to prayer 5 times a day and see the floodlit tower at night.
Sample the souks
No three-day trip to Marrakech, Morocco would be complete without a visit to the Souks. The Souks are famous for their colour and scents. Of course they are also renowned for the vast array of spices, but there are so many other things to buy as well – brightly coloured pottery, tin ware, leather shoes and traditional Moroccan carpets.
We stumbled across a herbal shop in the Medina – Herboriste des Amis. Here we sampled the oils and spices, which are apparently the answer to all our health and beauty problems. Quite a few of the girls made purchases, but I’m still not sure if they have made all the difference!
Tour the tanneries
Marrakech is well-known for its leather goods and people have worked in the tanneries for generations. We took a visit there with our guide as part of our city tour. The men work using traditional methods to separate the skins and soak them in vats full of quicklime and water. They also use pigeon dung in the process.
The smell is unbelievable and it is hard to comprehend how the workers can stand it all day. We were relieved to exit and take some mint to inhale.
Indulge yourself at the hammam
There is a wide choice of hammams in Marrakech and a visit is an unforgettable experience. From the outset of our trip to Riad Moulay Said Hammam we were laughing – mostly because of the teeny tiny paper panties.
There were 5 of us and all came out with different experiences – those who went for their massage first fared better than others, who after an additional 40 minutes in the steam immerged with skin like prunes.
The massage was great, though at times I feared I might suffocate under the masseuse’s ample bosom. The main health benefit from this was probably our non-stop laughter, rather than any of the spa treatments. The things we will do for our wellbeing!
Savour the Moroccan cuisine
Overall the Moroccan food in Marrakech was tasty, but not as spicy as expected. We ate well at our rhiad and also at a variety of restaurants in the city. There were a range of eateries, from rooftop terraces looking over the Medina to the stylish back-street restaurant, Le Foundouk.
We loved our three day trip to Marrakech. It is a vibrant, bustling city with lots of things to see and do.
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