|El Baddi Palace|
|El Baddi Palace|
|Ben Youssef Madrasa|
|Ben Youssef Madrasa|
|Vegetable Tagine, at Le Foundouk|
|Coffee at Le Foundouk|
|Carts near the Jemma El Fnaa|
|Dar Si Said, secret concubine courtyard|
So we spent our honeymoon (or mini-moon if things go to plan in 2013...) in Marrakesh. I think there is a well worn track in Marrakesh, but it was our first time and we enjoyed exploring. We mainly stayed in and around the medina mooching about during the day and eating fabulous food and drink at night. Here is our top ten in no particular order.
The guide books tended to down play El Badi Palace but we loved it. It's a vast terracotta 16th century palace. Four sunken gardens, with orange and fig trees and you could imagine how opulent it would have been. It reminded me a bit of the Alhambra and I read later that it had been built in the same style and was influenced by the same Andalusian architecture. There are also around 50 storks that sit on huge nests in the old battlements. You can get really elegant views of them flying past from the roof terrace at Kosybar.
Al Fassia A women's collective that serves the best quality food we had in Marrakesh in fact some of the best food we've had anywhere. Chicken with olives and preserved lemons was caramelised savoury and delicious. Pancakes with butter and honey for dessert were generous and hearty. People were being turned away when we were there so worth booking.
Islamic Architecture and Art. You can be wandering around a street and see an intricately carved archway or door handle. More specifically you can visit Ben Youssef Madrassa with cedar and marble inscriptions and geometric inscriptions, the Bahia Palace inlaid gilded ceilings and stucco carving or the Katoubia Minbar at the El Badia Palace.
Dar Si Said is an arts museum with historic and some contemporary Moroccan art full of intricate Byzantine designs and colours. The building itself is stunning with the kind of decoration you hope to see in Marrakesh. Best of all the attendant took us through to a closed of bit of the museum to see the exquisite courtyard that was kept for the concubines!
Pepe Nero Delicious, beautifully presented Italian and Moroccan food served in a pretty romantic garden. Kind, attentive service and they spoilt us because we were on honeymoon, with a delicious chocolate and hazelnut cake.
The Photography Museum - is as much a museum about the social history of Morocco as a gallery of photographic styles. The riad itself is beautiful and calm with a very simple cafe on the roof with fantastic views of the city. Well worth switching to hibiscus tea from mint tea.
Majorelle Gardens. As a young girl obsessed with Elle Decoration I can remember reading about the Majorelle Gardens established by french artist Jacque Majorelle in the 1920s and the bought and restored by Yves St Laurent in the 1980's who's ashes were scattered here after his death. The garden is landscaped and largely full of cactus and succulents with fountains and little pools of water with turtles and species of brightly coloured birds. Stunning blocks of blue, yellow, green and terracotta. The Husband's favourite place in Marrakesh.
Medallion wine. Surprisingly good and they sell by the mini bottle which is good as booze isn't that cheap in Marrakesh.
Getting Lost. Streets aren't well sign posted in the old town and they are a bit "blocky" and higgldey piggldey, and to the unfamiliar eye look quite similar - more so than other places I've travelled to. However getting lost is part of the fun and you'll find things you never expected that way. If worse comes to work you give someone 5 dirhams they'll put you back on the right track. We also ended up with a friendly taxi driver based around Dar el Bacha who was happy to pick us where ever we were in the city if we called and did not over charge us - very lucky as we inadvertently hustled him on price the first time we met!
Dar Rocmarra is in the nicest part of the Medina a 10 minute walk from Jemaa El Fnaa but not in the middle of the bustle and chaos. Jamila the manageress is always on hand, friendly but without ever being intrusive. Nothing is ever too much trouble and her cooking is sensational. We stayed in the suite and it was so pretty, welcoming and romantic. Highly recommended (and far far nicer than another riad we stayed in on the same road which has a better Tripadvisor rating but unquestionably a much worse everything else).
Oh lets make it 11. The colour Majorelle Blue. I love Majorelle Blue.