We got home late Saturday from a six day trip to Marrakech in Morrocco. And I’ve spent the last four days nursing a sore throat that feels like it’s swollen four times its normal size. I even had a bad dream that I was desperately running through the narrow Marrakech streets looking for a pharmacy…

Luckily our actual time wandering the streets was much more pleasant. Here are a few snapshots from our six days in the country.

outside the Koutoubia Mosque – apparently the height of amazingness in this kind of architecture.

the famous Djemaa el Fna main square. by day it’s a relaxed affair, just a few snake charmers and crazy henna-artists to avoid (seriously this one woman kept running up and grabbing my hand and trying to just start painting!) but by night…

the food stalls are set up and the young waiters (and the odd waitress) vie for your custom, even though every stall sells pretty much exactly the same food. Still, it’s fun to work them against each other –  free mint tea? well that guy was offering free Moroccan salad… the buzz is great fun and the food is cheap and cheerful – meat kebabs, fried aubergine and potatoe cakes, fries, cold coca cola and a big pile of olives.

we spent lots of time wandering the souks and the narrow streets, taking the path less trodden to escape the occasional crowds of tourists and learning how to compete with the many mopeds in the narrow alleyways (it’s all about confidence – which I had none of but luckily Rasmus would just pull me along behind him)

There was also the odd bartering chance when we spotted something we wanted. Which usually involved me looking female and clueless (I know, it’s horrible to retreat behind stereotypes when they’re useful to you!) and leaving the hard work to Rasmus… “I don’t care that you’re throwing in the Berber lipstick and weird teeth-cleaning plant; I’m not paying that much for some tea.”

We did make stops at all the must-see sites. The Bahia Palace…

The Saadian tombs…

the El Badi palace…

“we paid 30 dhr to see a ruin?!”

See all the storks nesting up there?

The storks were much more interesting than the palace actually. We counted over 40 nesting on the wall ruins and flying around.

We also spent one glorious day up in the Atlas mountains. We got dropped at a village called Imlil, in the shadow of the third highest mountain in Africa (apparently. I haven’t checked that fact so don’t sue me) and had a leisurely walk up the valley to our beautiful lunch spot.

It was a world away from Marrakech. The olive groves and date palms had been replaced by broad leaf trees in all their spectacular autumn glory, and the valleys smelled of the apples that sat picked in crates on the roadsides waiting for their journey down to the big city.

The weather was warm but the air was fresh and clean. Cars and mopeds mixed with horses and donkeys and women led their cows on ropes on our path up the hill. Our guide greeted everyone he met by name and told us about the Berber culture and their life in the mountains.

And I got to try my hand at grounding nuts into oil for face creams and salad dressings…

We finished up our week with a fancy meal at Riad des Mers (a lovely change from the tagine and brochettes we’d been eating all week) and even got to drink some wine with our dinner! The whole week was relaxing, warm and interesting. The three things you absolutely need on a holiday!

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