The moment I walked in Marrakech I was taken.
The Medina of Marrakech (ancient historical center) is full of stores selling anything you can imagine. Seriously. Whatever you want they have, and if they don’t have they will make. That’s just how Moroccans are. They are business people, merchants above everything. So do not be offended or sensitive about being offered a high price, the point is to bargain, in fact if you do not bargain is taken as an offense . You must ask for a better price, or as I call it “Moroccan price!”. It takes some time to get into the bargaining game, but once you are in it, you can’t stop. And you just go with the flow of the buying and bargaining and laughing and getting serious with the sellers. Just try it.
When I made it to my hostel, Earth Hostel, I was very confused. I didn’t know if this was actually someone’s house, or a hostel, it looked so homey and the guy that opened the door was receiving me as an old friend.
Few moments in, and I knew this was the right place to be. All the music, mess, laughter and atmosphere of the Medina was also inside the hostel. I am usually very reserved, and I particularly do not like to stay in hostels, because well… I am kind of an anti-social. But, Morocco brought out on me the most social, loving and chatting butterfly in town! I made friends right away with the staff and the other travelers and I went to have dinner with a new friend from Hong Kong, and had the most amazing time.
Dinner at Jemma el-fna is the most traditional (and touristy) thing to do while in Marrakech, but I do not recommend it. The food is below standards, and price above it. Although I would recommend it for the reason of feeling wanted by every worker in the area. They follow you, sing for you, smile, offer the best price, offer themselves, offer their lives for you to seat at their table! Funny enough, every stand offers the same food. Just pick the fullest place and they will make a table appear out of nowhere, or just make one right there and then, just for you 🙂
Oh! And they will clap when you finally choose their place. No better welcoming ever found, red carpet treatment!
The square is full of food trucks at night, but during the day you can see fresh juice stands, men walking around with their monkeys in chains (no animal rights protection here! be aware if you are sensitive), and the stars of the square: the cobra charmers. Oh yeah… these are real cobras. In fact, one charmer died a few months ago right in the square after being bitten by one of these friends.
Next day I visited the Les Bains d’Orient Hammam. And the only thing I can say about it is: I was re-born that day.
This lady took care of me as a mother, with loving treatment, and baby-like pampering. I would never forget how they made me feel at that place. Absolutely recommended: (Les Bains d’orient, Marrakech ).
The best food I ate in Marrakech is from Black Chich. Seriously. I never expected such a first-class menu in the heart of the Medina. It is just so touristy that I was skeptical of the quality. But they shut my mouth with the most delicious food, and the beyond expectations service. Incredible staff and food. Do not miss it! Just a short walk from Jemma el-fna.
I never wanted to leave Marrakech, I wish I was born there, so I can grow up in this labyrinth of stores and colors. Surrounded by shiny tea kettles and precious stones. Marrakech has so much passion, so much heart. It took mine away. And now it is there forever. Marrakech has so much going on at all times. Pure Intensity.
I am already planning to come back. I feel I am taking so much with me from this place, I just hope I left enough love and gratitude for these people who taught me so much in so little time. Because no time is enough in a place like this.
After a week in Morocco I took the train again, from Marrakech to the majestic Fes.
Read my story in Fes here.