I’ve always wanted to explore North African Sun – Marrakesh, Morocco finally. As principal of solo travel I stayed at a tradition riad hostel in the old town. The riad is about 20 minutes walk away to the souks and the Djemaa el Fna Square neighbourhood, which offered the chance to observe Marrakech on a local level.
In Morocco, you’ll find amazing architecture, and one of the best dream travel destinations for traveller where it seems it’s almost impossible to take a bad photograph. To me, this beautiful country appealed to me a colourful world, veiled women, distinct muslim culture..there seems to be no shortage of interesting subjects.
Part 1: Hammam Moroccan Bath
After breakfast, the riad housekeeping lady took few other travellers and I to the local Hammam – the Moroccan style public baths. It is a bit similar as the Japanese onsen – hot spring public baths, though the Hammam retreat was my first time.
I was surrounded by naked women. To be honest I was kind of embarrassed. I received an intense head-to-toe scrub-down experience, a full body cleansing and exfoliating until several layers peel off like strands of dirty spaghetti by using Olive oil black soap. You’ll be amazed dead skins that falls off your body and you’ll literally leave in new skin. Later lay down on the stone floor which took one-and-a-half-hours to complete. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable cultural experience you won’t forget.
Part 2: The souks
You can’t leave Marrakech without at least a quick visit to the souk’s. Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco. The souks are situated on the narrow streets — some covered and some open-air comprising mainly the bazaars, colourful handicrafts and workshops for which Marrakech is so well known. You can also find all kind of things there, from fine leather goods, spices to beauty products, tea pots to tagines, beautiful jewellery cheap but nice souvenirs and much much more. Seriously you can spend a whole day to walk around the souks.
the shop front
jewellery and nice souvenirs
100% natural products – herbs and moroccan toothpicks made by plant
rug sellers, art sellers
dutchy by morocco
eyes on reflections
the leather goods area
Part 3: The men and women
the men business
beauty products shop
white on man v. black on woman
Part 4: Djemaa el Fna Square
This buzzing square is at the heart of Marrakech in the Old City. There are different entrances to get into the Square where you may get lost easily. I only had a chance to visit once in the afternoon. I highly recommend visiting twice, once at daytime and then at night, it’s important since it becomes a completely different place each time particularly the crowds and the foods stall in the evening.
It’s amazingly interesting to visit the square. It was crowded with jugglers, acrobats, storytellers, musicians, snake charmers, horse riding services and juice stalls. We stopped at the snake charmers performance in the centre of the square surrounding by crowds and locals. And yes, that’s how I ended up being entertained by snakes. Looks can be deceiving but again, as the tourist it all seemed pretty fun!
snake charmer performing
pattern of hanger
me and the snake
fresh orange juice stalls
a soft drink or fresh juice?
Part 5: The neighbourhood
The Koutoubia Mosque is very close to the riad hostel. It’s the city landmark and the largest mosque in Marrakech. The 65m high medieval Islamic architecture can clearly visible from far. As this is a 1000 years historic old building and place of prayer, it has been restored and still the most important mosque in the city.
After turning many, many corners, I decided to stay back in the hostel – enjoy some mint teas, relax my feet in a beautiful authentic Moroccan house, shisha on the roof top.
the Koutoubia Mosque
earthy outside, colourful inside
no evil please!
let’s have a cup of mint tea
open top in the house
can you imagine one dish one household, how many satellite dishes in Marrakech?
inside the hostel
shisha-ing in Morocco
The remarkable colours of Morocco shown by photos like these are amazing. Next it will be the wonder of Sahara desert. See you in next post.