On arrival in Marrakech, we were met by Amina from Atlas Tours, who took us to the Ksar Anika – our home for the next four nights. Welcomed with Mint Tea and small pastries, we felt refreshed and ready to start exploring.
We were right in the centre of the Medina all of which is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/331 Indeed we weren’t, it seemed, far from the world-famous Place Jemaa El Fna (itself recognised by UNESCO as a Cultural space – http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/RL/00014 ) Stepping outside the Riad door was a shock. From the peaceful courtyard, we stepped into what appeared madness. As we walked round several corners on our way to the Square – all kinds of vehicles seemed to aim at us. Bikes, motorbikes, scooters and taxis were the least of it, donkeys, mules and horses draw carts and carriages filled with goods (and people). On these back streets, there’s little notice taken of driving rules, or so it seems. At some junctions, there are police, frantically blowing whistles, trying to get the attention of the drivers! The way to the square was through an alleyway lined with shops. We shared this with scooters, bikes and donkey carts – nowhere escapes these!
Once in the square, we stopped to catch our breath at a café. Orange Fanta always seems so much more fluorescent overseas!! We knew the square would be noisy, vibrant and busy. It was this and so much more. Snake charmers (to be avoided at all costs), carts selling freshly squeezed orange juice and spices, women doing henna hand decorations and men shining shoes. As well as this, there were stalls all the way round, on the edges of the souks. The noise was incredible for such an open space – but this was still daylight. I’ll tell you more about the Square at night in another posting.
We dined at the Riad that evening, not feeling brave enough to find a restaurant outside. We were still too unsure of directions and food. The meal, ordered earlier in the afternoon, was delicious. All cooked from fresh and served in the salon, with a blazing log fire at one end and a bar at the other.
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