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24 hours in Marrakech Morocco

 

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.

 

11am

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.

 
 
 
 

2pm

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.

 

colourful

 
 
 
 

lovely lamps

 
 
 
 

the shop front

 
 
 
 

 

jewellery and nice souvenirs

 
 
 
 

handcrafts

 
 
 
 

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

 
 
 
 

street view

 
 
 
 
 

5.30pm

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?

 
 
 
 
 

6.30pm

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!

 
 
 
 

open air

 
 
 
 

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.

 

A stroll in a local Marrakech

      A local bread trader selling freshly baked breads

Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco. There are different entrances to get into the Djemaa el Fn Square. You could easily get lost in this maze. A stroll in the narrow streets, I walked away from the touristy square and main souks (about 20 minutes walk away).. I love to see how local people lives, to feel their daily lives. Today, this square and the surrounding souks are still the places where local people came to meet, and shop.

To be continued..

Photo of the day: Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

A Tribute to Love

You probably heard of this place. There’s something about the Taj Mahal. And I don’t know what that thing is.

I couldn’t believe my eyes that its gleaming white glory, a pretty building, made of white marble, and it’s kept nice and clean. The Taj was breathtaking but the city itself was horrible. It’s a bizarre feeling.

So what makes it so impressive? There is a tunnel you have to walk through before heading towards the white marble building, standing and looking at from the tunnel you can clearly see the smooth, shapely lines of the marble. Towards the building, there is the reflection pool running through the middle of the well-kept gardens.

Still what makes it so special? Other than overseas tourists walking along with me, I looked around most of the visitors are Indian. They come to see their landmark, the special charm of Taj built by the king full of glory of love dedicated to his late queen.

Here’s a monument to love, one of the greatest monuments to love in the middle of Agra period. Just Impressive.
 

Flavour of India


 

India is not to everyone’s taste but I find it extraordinary in every possible way, good and bad.

I’m so fascinated with India. I think the first thing that really attracted me to the place was its unashamed use of colour in the traditional and everyday dress, the henna, the hair, the bangles…

 

 

 

The food as well. I love Indian Food, Indian Curry. The food was so delicious and tasty! So I photographed a lot of the food I had.

I do not want to get sick when I travel to India, particularly, I follow some golden rules: never drink the tap water in India, only eat hot food, only eat in restaurants, use hand disinfectant and always wash your hand before putting anything into your month.

 

 

I followed their custom – eating with your fingers can be tricky to start off with, but “how to eat with your hand – the traditional Indian eating style (when you are in India)?”

With a little help from my Indian friend, the lesson is:

  • Ensuring wash your hands well with plenty of soap before the meal
  • First, try pick up food with your last three fingers and thumb, ‘slide’ the food into your mouths using your thumb
  • Now, use your thumb and fingers tear a piece of the bread off, and then scoop the curry or the vegetables, with the bread and then eat
  • Never use your left hand to eat with. Use it only to pass something

I noticed that many Indian foods such as naan or roti are best eaten in this way, even eating rice.

 

 

Indian food is super delicious and very spicy!!! The rich mix of spices that made the food what it is.

Yogurt definitely helps to cleanse the spiciness.

 

 

I enjoyed every meal in India, also followed their tradition to eat with my hands for an authentic experience.

In India, eating with your hands is a tradition. Use only your right hand. Though cutlery is used everywhere, a lot of Indians prefer to eat Indian food with their hands.

 

Ghee Masala Dosa

 

Crispy deepfried bread shells of puri cooked potato and chickpeas, spanish onion, torn coriander leaves and plenty of lentil, accompanying pots of coconut chutney, yoghurt, tamarind sauce, pickles and masala soup.

The finger-licking goodness is addictive.

 

Onion rawa paneer dosa

 

An example of a common cold Indian drink is “lassi”, which is a yoghurt or buttermilk drink that is sweetened and most often served plain.

 

Traditional Lassi in a clay cup, made from buffalo milk with the curd on top from Lassiwala in Jaipur.

 

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