marrakech, morocco | part 1

The smell of smoke and spices will forever trigger memories of Marrakech and everything we experienced there. We spent quite a bit of time in Jemma el-Fna, the busy main square of Marrakech, watching and listening to snake charmers play flute-like instruments and locals sell their freshly squeezed fruit juices. Our beautiful Riad was located in the Medina, so we chose to have meals at the busy restaurants surrounding the square, attempting to take everything in. Stray cats covered the restaurant patios and streets, and tourists strolled in front of the Argana Cafe – or what remained of it. Artwork attempted to cover the destruction from the 2011 bomb that closed the restaurant.

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At night, the square came to life. Smoke from the food stands formed a thick cloud around us and chatter and music filled the air. My husband had monkeys thrown onto his shoulders and shortly after, a woman grabbed my hand and applied henna before I even realized what was happening. Since the square alone is an assault on your senses, and it’s easy for tourists to get lost in the commotion, the locals use these tricks to get foreigners to pay up. We weren’t upset, though — it was all part of the experience. While we searched for a restroom to wash off the sloppily applied henna that was now splattered on my pants, a wrinkled Moroccan woman grabbed me and proceeded to scrub my hands in a tiled cafe sink. I didn’t speak Arabic and she didn’t speak English so we looked at each other, smiled, and went our separate ways.

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The most memorable part of the trip came when a local drove us through Berber villages in the Atlas Mountains. Our tour guide pulled over to the side of the road and we entered a small Berber market where low tarps draped over dirt paths and small stalls selling food, coins and handmade jewelry. A group of men trimmed a donkey’s hooves and fitted it for shoes, a small child sat in a tiny hut while his bad blood was drained, and Berber women laid out makeup on brightly colored blankets. After our short stop at the market, we continued up into the mountains and handed out sweets, notepads and pencils to children who lived in the remote villages. Our tour guide knew every child by name and genuinely cared for each and every one. He pointed out that one of the young boys was diabetic, so instead of giving him candy, we gave him an extra pencil. He was very happy.

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Berber Village
Berber market in Morocco Atlas Mountains
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Our last stop on the tour was lunch at an Imam’s house. His wife and daughter served us Moroccan tea, bread, couscous, and chicken tagine. Money from the meal went directly to the Berber family to assist them in purchasing kitchen equipment, and we were happy to contribute in any way.

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Have you ever been to Marrakech, Morocco?

       
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Filed Under: Marrakech, Morocco, Travel16 Comments
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14585681189196096870 Kelly Ann

    Absolutely gorgeous, you look like you had a great time!

    xx
    Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01513546317036065267 Erinn C.D.

    Great writing! I felt like I was right there. Morrocco is on my list of places to visit. It just looks so intoxicating and wonderful there. It must’ve been amazing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04179656528221580812 lily white english rose

    i love your blog, every time i read about one of the amazing places yo have been my travel wish list just gets longer and longer :D http://www.thelilywhiteenglishrose.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04191594419172393727 Kenzie Smith

    Gorgeous pictures! It looks and sounds like you guys had a wonderful time :D

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03387806821181320202 Haley Bartlett

    Beautiful, I feel like I was right there. I think when you don’t immerse yourself in the culture of new cities you miss out on alot!

  • Anonymous

    “Assault on your senses” is the PERFECT way to describe the square in Marrakech. Great pictures and thanks for helping me recall my time there!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13869128818319260680 Mandy Hanson

    Hi, new follower from the GFC collective. Your blog looks amazing and your doggy looks just like mine!

    Mandy
    mrandmrshanson.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09894619781391696441 Robin

    Stunning! I’m so jealous you got to go!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07281689617194191990 Helene

    these pictures are amazing Rachel- are you getting tired of me saying this?!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08742192061700692696 Blue Dog Belle

    These pictures are amazing!!!

    xo, Emily
    bluedogbelle.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17471021261083581508 Brooke

    Looks like a beautiful life experience! Great pictures! That poor squirrel!

    •♥•.¸¸.•♥• •♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸¸.•♥• •♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸¸.•♥• •♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸Brooke

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03548333029507261654 Rachael

    This is amazing!
    Really love the pictures you take!
    Following you now via GFC

    Rachael
    http://wayycher.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00014093821067456424 Jess

    So lovely, makes me want to go back to Marrakech right. now.

  • http://www.riadlinda.com/ linda

    Hi Rachel

    Loved reading your description of Marrakech & Morocco -sounds like you had a great time. I live in Edinburgh, Scotland & I am also lucky enough to own a riad in Marrakech. I see that you spent some time in Scotland too – lucky you!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06222993319344686659 morgan at quitetheblog.com

    This is the number one place in the world for me that I want to visit! Looks like you all had a wonderful time. I can’t wait to visit someday!

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