Friday, September 19, 2014

Marrakech: markets & madrasas

We headed out confidently into the maze that is the medina. Andrew felt the trusty compass would be a practical tool to guide him around. It worked, but you had to know where you wanted to go - not always possible in a maze. So we switched to Google maps and found even if we were lost, we could always re-orientate quite well.

Being in the wrong place we went with the flow and juggled our plans and went into the nearby Saadian tombs. These were only rediscover in 1917 after some bricked up walls were taken down these were revealed again. In 1603 the mausoleum was built by the Sultan with Italian Carera marble and solid gold and then bricked up by one of his descendants. We stood in a sunny line to take a really bad photo of the tomb.


Then with a bit more GPS we got to the Bahia palace. Here we played the game of "wait for the tourist to get out of my shot", and when they didn't the other game was "OK let's walk through the middle of their shot". Seriously, there were a large number of tourists and this was pretty much off-season as they are coming out of the hot season. The palace was under restoration, but still gave a good feel for Moroccan styles and architecture.


The Ben Youseff Madrasa was a lovely place to wander around. It was an Islamic college founded in the 14th century with student rooms around the upper floors. It is apparently the largest Madrassa in Morocco.


And for something completely different we went to the new town and the Jardin Majorelle. The garden was designed over 40 years by French painter Jacques Majorelle. In 1980 Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé purchased the gardens. After Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008 his ashes were scattered in the Majorelle Garden.

There was a display of YSLs Christmas Greeting designs over the years. They also made nice cushion covers but at €70 each they weren't quite as appealing.

Without a doubt the best meal we ate in Marrakech was at Café Chez Zaza. It was a little tricky to find - it took us 2 nights to actually find it, but we were so glad we did.

Up the top in the open air we had Lamb Tagines with apricots and prunes. Delicious and such good value for money. We wish we could have gone back.

Andrew has been like a chameleon here, blending in with both the scenery and the other tourists.













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