After the intense experience of the Fes medina, it was a delight to arrive in the comparatively chilled town of Marrakech. We had booked a great hotel which was less than a minutes walk off the main square, Djema El-Fnaa (also spelled Jemaa el-Fna). In the daytime the square is filled with people selling things, snake charmers (one placed a snake on my shoulders without my knowledge…not fun), monkeys on chains, women painting henna and our favourite – stall after stall of freshly squeezed orange juice, deliciously sweet, icy cold and about 50 cents NZ a glass! We made many trips to the stalls – they were all the same price and all as good as each other. At night the square comes alive with dozens of food stalls, drummers and people selling lanterns – it’s a busy and chaotic place that is a lot of fun.
We had two full days in the heat of Marrakech – despite it being around 35 degrees, we were keen to explore. On our first day we went to see the Koutoubia mosque, exploring the gardens around it before walking past the Royal palace to see the Palais-El-Badi. This vast ruined palace was fun to explore – it even had storks nesting in the ruins! After this we went to see the beautiful Saadian tombs before heading back for a rest. On our second day we explored the souk, walked to see the lovely Jardin marjorelle, and did a few chores – the most exciting one being booking our 3 day desert trip for the next day! We really liked Marrakech – it’s more relaxed and less stressful than Fes, while still having energy and excitement.