Marrekech Recommendations

6:08:00 PM Brooke Neal 2 Comments

This is my last post about our trip to Morocco so I thought I'd end with a few last tidbits of advise.  
1. RIDE A CAMEL-- It's cliche, I know, but Eden really wanted to ride a camel and when it didn't happen in the desert I was determined to find a camel in the city.  Lucky for me, they aren't too hard to find, apparently lots of tourists want to ride.  If you leave the Medina and head toward the Menera Garden you will find camels on every corner.  REMEMBER TO BARGAIN! 
2. VISIT THE EL BADI PALACE--Completed around 1600 this once grand palace of Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur is nothing more than a shell.  Dismantled by a later sultan in the 17th century you have to use your imagination to visualize what once was a luxurious palace. Today you can fountains, water basins and wander the underground tunnels.  A brick oven reconstruction sits at one end. Several storks have taken up residence along the wall tops. 

3. BUY A RUG--Okay, not the best photo, but this is the carpet auction.  The Berber tribesmen come down once a week from the mountains to sell their rugs to the local salesman.  It was a flurry of activity, none of which I really understood, but was fun to watch.

Buying a rug isn't that scary, but it does take time.  It helps if you let them know you just want to get down to business; skip the tea and pleasantries. Here's how we do it. With so many styles and patterns it is best to let them show you a sampling of designs.  Each tribe has a unique look, you will be drawn to some and know immediately you dislike others. Once you narrow that down think about size.  Do you need a runner, 8x10, bath mat etc. Next and perhaps most important is color pallet.  If you are looking for a predominately red rug tell them--no need to waste time looking at blues.

Once you've narrowed down those 3 things you are in good shape to find the perfect rug.  If you like something hanging on the wall tell them, they will bring it down for you.  The process takes time, but the more decisive you are the better they can help and the sooner you can get back to sight seeing.  Just remember to BARGAIN!  My husband automatically cuts the asking price at least in half.  Don't be afraid to WALK AWAY if you aren't satisfied.  Remember, there are dozens of rug dealers!  Finally, don't worry about bringing it home on the plane.  These guys can expertly wrap your rug into a carryon size package (we bought a 5x7) that you can take right onto the plane.

We bought our rug from Bazar Filali 24, Souk des Tapis, Rahba Lakdima, Marrakech

4. Go to a Hammam--Okay, this suggestion is for those adventurous souls who don't mind being naked in front of strangers. Influenced by my mother who spoke highly of Turkish baths, I really wanted a skin scrub. There are a myriad of treatments you can choose from, I went the cheap tourist route and opted for bath only.  This consists of a 10 minute steam, soap rise and then, while laying on a marble slab, the scrub.  With something that feels akin to sandpaper, my bather scrubbed my skin raw--and clean. I was shocked at how much dead skin she buffed off--it was actually kind of gross.  After a second soap and rinse I was wrapped in a robe then laid on a gloried lawn chair to take in tea and incense.  The whole thing took about 35 minutes.  Here are the details of the women only spa I went to right in the main square...Les Cinq Sens  72, Place Jemma el Fna 40000 Marrakech
5. Take Pictures with the Animals--Okay, the whole monkey and snake thing is contrived and if you are into animal rights, then you won't like this, but admittedly, I wanted to take a photo with a monkey and my husband was thrilled to have a venomous snake wrapped around his neck.
What I didn't like about the animal interaction is this, the handlers are incredibly aggressive.  If you stop or slow near them, if you pull out your cell phone or camera they will come towards you with an animal whether you want it or not, then expect a generous tip.  They aren't interested in a conversation, they want you to take a picture, pay and go.  EVERY interaction I had with a handler ended up in an argument about money. I paid €1 per picture which I thought was generous, but they always wanted more. Paper money they would say. I refused to cave in, so stand your ground--Believe me, they will take the coin if the choice is nothing at all.
The exception to the testament above was with the iguana salesmen.  They knew we couldn't take one home with us and were happy to show my daughter their lizards.
My last bit of advice is to take lots of pictures!  Morocco is full of things we don't see everyday in Europe from donkey drawn wagons used for real transport to women hand grinding nuts for oil.  Look for the unique, it's not hard to find.


2 comments:

  1. I really am loving your blog posts! I think that I would have had to make an exception on how much I paid for the monkeys.... Those were pretty cool,and there were two..... LOL

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