Saturday, March 22, 2014

the Marrakech Medina souks

so I mentioned in the last post that I had sent GA off with Aziz on the morning I was recovering from a 24 bug- to see the Bahia Palace... GA later reported the place crawling with tourists so no good photos- and despite my instructions to Heidi and her instructions to the local DMC Aziz took GA to a carpet factory instead of to the Saadian tombs (per my instruction) - so by the time I met up with them around 11am GA had already done so much shopping that Aziz was carrying her purchases LOL... 

Mustafa had picked me up (actually a hotel employee walked me to the gate where Mustafa was waiting because he cannot leave the vehicle unattended (think about that) and then we drove to meet GA and Aziz in a place in the Medina where you could pull over in a mini-van... some of the driving on the narrow streets was hair raising... but he maneuvered the van expertly through the narrowest of lanes and got us there unscathed!

Then the three of us set off on foot to explore the souks of is a map- and I defy you to use this document as such! LOL

we stopped roughly a hundred yards from where Mustafa let me off to make a purchase - it was souvenir buying time now- our last day of the trip (but for the return to the US tomorrow) - so here are some photos from our first few minutes away from leaving Mustafa-

a breakfast place- LOL

refrigerator magnets

LARGE decorative tassles- for whatever use you may find for them- LOL

bracelets-  and scarves-

I love this photo because I tool a sequence of four of them to get the arch and the street and the woman in the checked head covering moved the plastic bag in front of her face with each successive photo (such EGO- as if I were taking a photo of HER instead of the street in the medina) but this one was the first and so this is the one I picked to publish (because seriously - LOL- it was SOOO not about you lady, even though you thought you were so much the center of attention..)

the local "starbucks"

and my first stop for buying a tile place - I got a tile with a hand for my collection of hands and then a cat (LOL- of course!)

the craftsman made me a heart with my initial- LOL (no extra charge so clearly I overpaid for the tiles- LOL)

before we headed into the souks in earnest we stopped for lunch at a roof top cafe where we had excellent pasta dishes (enormous excellent pasta dishes) for a change of pace from the Moroccan fare of most of our meals--- although the photo from their card was taken in the evening - the terrace was lovely in the daytime as well...

I tried matching this map up with the one from the hotel above - LOL - good luck!

back down into the streets and alleys- first we went through the metal crafting area- where they work in shops the size of closets (why the street becomes a part of it) and each one has a second floor for storage of materials or finished goods awaiting pick up for shipping or sale in the markets-

then on to a leather working area-

a closed workshop- this is all the bigger they are- 

the locals were also getting lunch- 

but we continued on-

finally arriving at a Berbere pharmacy where GA did some seriously shopping- while I took photos- LOL

then a few more lanes of miscellaneous stuff and out into the square just one away from Jemaa el Fna which we finally reached and where we met up with Mustafa and the vehicle-

we headed back to the hotel and left Mustafa with our final goodbyes and kudos for a fabulous job of driving us around for the last nine days--- really really really good driver! we walked with Aziz to the hotel and I spotted this "well protected" house across the alley (this might be the less expensive alternative to ADT- LOL)

we stopped at the front desk and asked them to reserve a table for us for dinner at Maison Arabe - which is walking distance... we said goodbyes to Aziz who would not be taking us to the airport in the morning (the job of a transfer agent who regularly works the airport for the DMC not the guide)

we head out later for dinner and find the place closed but a man said that we just weren't at the entrance and offered to take us there - so we followed him (not closely) around the corner into an alley- I know I know - this sounds stupid but we let him get ahead by quite a bit and just steps from the main street we could see that at the end of the alley there was a sign and a doorman for the place- so I gave the man who helped us a bit of baksheesh and we happily entered a magical domain- where we had our last dinner in Morocco... a fabulous dinner of salmon after a wonderful ravioli starter and some excellent dessert...

we walked through hallways lit by filigreed lanterns and found ourselves poolside in a candlelit restaurant that was exquisitely lovely....

perfect ending to a wonderful and wonder filled trip!!! 

the next day we went to the airport and had all the usual airport hassles and then some but we were home by the end of a very long day and got to sleep in our own beds and be grateful for the opportunity to learn about another culture while creating even more appreciation of the lives we lead... that is travel... enriches the traveler when away and when at home--- 

I have been home bound now for less than four weeks and as you know from posts stuck in amongst the trip journal - I have been busy with two sets of company and concerts and new places we have tried and yesterday we had lunch after a boat ride with our friends Al & Carol (of River Cottage fame- LOL)- so we always find ways to make retirement excellent fun!!!! I highly recommend it... next up three plays, the wine walk at the Ringling and the Sarasota Film Festival which has the world premiere of a film I supported through Kickstarter- so stay tuned!

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