Marrakesh was my first ‘eccentric’ trip (if you don’t count Eastern Europe, because I am from Eastern Europe!). It came to life in a cold winter evening, while chatting with Sim (she was in Bucharest, I was in Barcelona), making plans for her birthday. At first, it seemed like a very remote one, almost impossible to bring to life. Then we found flight tickets for 25 euro, with Easyjet, from Madrid, and off we went. But this is another story.
The plans for the Marrakesh trip started by selecting a hotel. After talking on Facebook about the above mentioned cheap tickets we ended up with a group of 13 people (after all I only booked for ten). My choice was Ryad Laârouss, a traditional five star establishment in the Medina, close to the Souk (the heart of Marrakesh, day and night). Why I choose this hotel? Because it had enough rooms (we took almost all of them), because every room had a name (Oasis, Baraka, Sheherazade, Abibi – how cool is that?) and because it had good reviews on Booking.
After the landing and bus waiting, while ignoring the taxi drivers who wanted us as clients, we entered the Medina, the old part of the city. Where, we – obviously – got lost, children surrounded quickly us asking for money. They took us to the hotel and then didn’t want to leave until the receptionist threatened them. And this is how, tired and fed up, we ended up declaring our little ryad the most welcomed oasis. We were served hot mint tea once we arrived, which helped us relax a bit.
A bit shocked from all that harassment, noise and crowds (it was, for most all of us, the first Arab country we visited), we stayed in for lunch at the ryad’s rooftop terrace overlooking the city – which was a cool choice: they served wine! You know, alcohol is scarce in Morocco…
The ryad’ rooms were amazing, really! Decorated in the traditional style (I stayed with Sim and our room had some old guns on the wall and mirrors next to the beds – let me know if you figure it out why!), interesting bathrooms and even more interesting interior pool. Each room had different colours and themes, but the same style of tiles in the bathrooms. The hotel stuff was really nice (they arranged the Ait-Ben-Haddou trip for us). The breakfast consisted of the famous and delicious Moroccan pancakes. The ryad’s location was excellent – 10 minutes’ walk from the Souk, where all the action takes place.
Our entire trip was safe – just one month ago there was a bombing down town Marrakesh. The first shock produced by the stinky narrow streets where motos and dunkeys and cars and people got together went away fast, and we never felt in any kind of danger. I believe this is a place my mother would like to see, and when I will take her to Marrakesh, I will stay at the same hotel.
About this, in another story.
PS: I owe many thanks to Kiki and Sim for letting me borrow some of the pictures. And for the great time we had together in this adventure.