Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 2: Where are we again?

Day 2: First thing in the morning, we had a great breakfast at the riad. The oranges are sooo tasty, the yogurt was really good (the taste was somewhere between plain and vanilla- it was mild, but excellent). There was also something like apple flat bread, pancakes, orange juice, sweet cakes, and potato flat bread. It was a good thing the breakfast was hardy- we needed all the energy we could get since we were going back out into the craziness of the city again! We shopped some more in the souks, but before getting there we stopped by the palais di bahlia (getting lost on the way- we meant to stop by another place with tombs, but missed the turn off completely). The city is a complete maze! The maps can’t even depict all of the streets in this city. It actually worked out well that we got lost; we stumbled across a local “farmers market” with all sorts of things. There were a few fishermen that were cleaning fish right on the street, butchers cutting/grinding up fresh meat, someone selling tons of boiled eggs, fruits, vegetables, etc. It was an interesting find. We also walked by the royal palace which had a crane’s nest on one of the towers. I’ve never seen a nest so big!


We got so lost that we ended up just walking aimlessly. Before we knew it, we were back in the main square again and back in familiar territory. By this time my feet were sore and we were getting hungry, so we decided to stop and take a lunch break. I had an amazing couscous tajine with vegetables, and Josh had a tajine with fish and Moroccan spices. So good! The food here is great- a lot of spices involved, but not a “hot” spicy. It has more of a cumin, cinnamon, and allspice kind of flavor. After lunch and feeling refreshed, we entered the crazy back streets again to find the master artisan museum (one of the places we couldn’t find earlier). Since we had already walked by all the shops and weren’t as enamored with them, we found the turn off easily and found the place without issue. There was some amazing work in the museum including robes worn by kings in the 1500’s. There was some interesting pottery, and crazy jewelry that the women of the Atlas Mountains wore- their earrings were so big that they had to be held up by their hats! With all of that, the mosaics, and the woodwork were beautiful! I've never seen anything like it. It makes me think that we've entered a fantasy with all of the fun architecture here.

After that we walked through the souks and had a drink at an amazing roof top terrace called CafĂ© Arribe. While the souks are a feast for the senses, it can also be overwhelming! Its complete sensory overload! There is something to look at every step of the way, while at the same time avoiding other shoppers, and telling the souk owners that you are not interested. “Maybe later” is a popular saying here.

We had an amazing dinner at Villa Flore where Josh had pigeon wrapped and fried, covered with cinnamon, powdered sugar and honey. Sounds strange, but it was really good! It almost should have been a desert instead of an appetizer. For our main course I had duck (amazing!) with some sweet potato puree and vegetables. Hands down the best duck I’ve ever had! Josh had the lamb couscous with vegetables. They are known here for their couscous which is much different than any couscous I’ve had in the states. The actual grain is really fine here, where back home it is almost as big as a piece of rice. Here you can hardly see each grain they are so fine. It’s really good!

Another shopping spree today sent us home with a fun lotion bottle for our guest room, a pillow cover (which we intend to use as a small table cloth on a coffee table), some sandals for my feet because my shoes were killing me! And we also decided that we are going to go back and purchase an end table from one of the vendors, but that would wait until tomorrow. We also hope to get to the gardens that Yves Saint Laurent purchased so they didn’t become a thing of the past. They are indigo blue (the buildings) and apparently it is a sanctuary of flowers and plants. I’m looking forward to more of a low key day tomorrow going through the gardens and a short time in the souks. But so far, it’s amazing!

My favorite thing so far- getting roped in by the snake charmers and the henna lady. If you ever get to Marrakech, let these things happen once just for the experience!  GB- we did see the monkeys... but they weren't chasing anyone in a suit! I'll keep looking though :)

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