Djemaa el Fna

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  • Day169

    We woke up at 2am and got in our taxi at 2:30am 😒
    Our driver was an absolute freakin loon. Whenever we have a pre agreed price the driver just tries to get us there as quickly as possible. Today's driver got up to 110 MILES per hour. That is about 175kmph
    Like, what a psycho . Lucky the roads were empty.
    Either way we made it in one piece.
    We paid our 64 pound... and off he sped. The airport was 42 kilometers away from our hotel and we got there in like 20/25 mins when it should have taken 40.

    We had longer to wait because we were so early. The check in counters didn't open until about 3.40am. So many people were sleeping on the floor.
    Checked in no issues.
    Will had to do the big body X-ray thing thing.
    I was having a chuckle at the Muslim lady in front of me.
    She took her shoes off and had the blue plastic shoe covering things ready to go.
    She then got chosen to do the extra security checks.
    Obviously Not her first rodeo.
    How many times do you get picked before you just start always bringing temporary shoes to get through security with 😂😂😂😂😂

    I am really tired.

    We had hungry jacks because lots of things were closed. Didn't want to eat it so I didn't have much. Just enough to keep the hungry sick feeling away.

    We went to or gate and boarded.

    We were 'priority' again so we got to board first. Don't know why we keep having priority tickets - No complaints though.
    We waited next to this chatty weird woman who has never caught a plane before - she didn't know how to find seat and took like 50 photos of the plane.
    We were so pleased we weren't seated next to her.

    I got a nosebleed as people were boarding and of course didn't have tissues so I had to shove a tampon up my nose which was awkward as crap being surrounded my many Moroccan men.
    I eventually got help.

    We both think we slept a little bit on the plane but am so so so happy we woke up just in time for the drama... 🤗

    I heard this thump sound and turn around to see some bloke punching another guy screaming at him. People stood between them while the guy kept SCREAMING


    He was going ballistic and trying to keep punching him.

    The other guy was like a sloth and took so many hits to the face.

    Ok so backstory is the guy that bit him and got punched bought vodka in duty free and drank half the bottle. The bottle has already been confiscated by this point and Will had overheard the worker say she was going to report him because he had been swearing at her and was off his face.

    So yeah, he then bit someone's ear and the guy gave him what he had coming.

    The dude who got bit was all hyped on adrenaline and causing such a scene that the captain was very close to doing an emergency stop in Portugal. He was warning everyone to sit down. The whole plane was so frustrated that the scene was going on for so long

    It was a bit like yes, I know he bit you but you are the one that is going to cause 200 people problems if we have to land this plane because you are losing your mind.
    People had to make a barrier between them to escort the drunk guy up the front to sit away from him. He looked so dazed.

    The captain was full dead set serious though. I thought we were gonna do an emergency landing.

    So many people were trying to keep the peace.
    It was intense but so juicy all the same.

    When we finally arrived in Morocco we didn't go straight to the terminal port thing - instead the plane stayed in the middle out in the open. We stayed there for 10 minutes and everyone was so annoying trying to get their bags. The captain told everyone several times to sit down and put their belt back on.

    I don't understand how the hell people hadn't cottoned on to what was happening. They were waiting for the Police.
    The 2 men got escorted off and we were then allowed to leave.

    It took ages to get through customs. Will was surprised by the Moroccans appearance. He was expecting black. I was not, they looked exactly how I though - Arab.
    We found out driver and he drove us to our hostel. Lucky I pre organized cause no chance would have we been able to find it. It's up a few back alleys.

    First impressions of hostel are great.
    They gave us breakfast which was fan-freaking-tastic!
    Best breakfast in ages!!
    I think we get it everyday so pretty stoked about that.

    I got given my first bottom bunk - or rather I had the opportunity to chose it yayayay
    We both got a bottom :D

    We dumped our stuff and went for a walk to the markets.
    Hooly dooly! you could get lost for days in there!
    Shop after shop after shop of silks, ceramic plates, clothes, lights, statues, jewelry, gold everything, wools, spices, nuts and more!

    Everyone is so damn nice!
    We ended up in some carpet place that also had like Arabian guns and swords and the carpets are wonderful - very reasonably priced but still too much for us.
    We then ended up in a food section and a nice man asked us where we were from - we said Australia and he said "ahh kangaroo" he then sent us in the right direction. We had the exact same convo 10 seconds later about the damn kangaroos. People always sound so proud that they know about kangaroos.

    Anyway, the second dude then took it upon himself to become our tour guide lol.

    He took us first too a wool weaving dude and then another man took us into his shop to show us his lume*.
    Our "guide" had waited for us and then took us to a silk section and handed us over to another man. He showed us all the natural dyes they use to stain the scarfs.
    He showed us his dad staining the wool and silk.
    He then dressed us in headscarfs and took our photo.
    He wanted us to buy but we awkwardly said no which he didn't like but oh well.

    On went our tour 😂

    He took us to a spice shop.
    The dude in there knew that as Australians we couldn't buy his stuff so considering there wasn't even a possibility of a sale he was extra lovely.
    We smelt 3 spices unique to morocco and others that he said are used elsewhere.
    He rubbed musk soap stuff on us for us to smell and explained that you can't wear perfume in a mosque because it has alcohol in it so they use this for smell instead.
    He talked about Moroccan oil which he put on my arm. He said it shouldn't be in the sun so the people outside selling it have a crappy product and that it should always be yellow and not orange.

    Because he was great and so informative ( and because I wanted one.. ) I took advantage of the cheap massage option also advertised in his shop.
    It cost 2 euro. Winning.
    I had to take my shirt off though (because he needed to reach my shoulders for the oil) which was very risqué considering my location but Will stayed in the room with me and he put up a curtain.
    Bra stayed on just for clarification. Lol
    I sat on a chair and he rubbed my shoulders.
    Mum would have loved it, he showed me no mercy! So painful but so good lol!

    We went outside and our guide was missing so we quickly walked off because our next and final shop was going to be his families shop and even though he promised we didn't have to buy like 5 times, once there he might had been less chill.
    Still, if he had been waiting I would have been happy to follow. He was really nice and said he just wanted to speak with us because his brother is studying in London and he likes to talk in English.
    It was a good free guide and I actually learnt a lot because of it.
    We then saw sunlight for the first time in an hour and followed it out into a market square - we found a cage with tortoises in it and then another with a Chameleon which, when the store owner saw me looking he got out and handed it to me.
    It has a strong grip! So cute! It's eyes are crazy!
    This guys shop was also spices and showed me similar stuff but also some like pure eucalyptus oil that after one sniff cleared the sinuses!!
    We walked on and finally found the correct exit.

    In the open area section - which is huge btw - were some monkeys on leads and snake charmers.
    I'm trying to settle my feelings about the monkeys because they didn't appear mistreated or stressed.
    I didn't like people posing for photos.
    Some dick wanted to give me a henna tattoo I said no but he went to try anyway and squirted the ink all over my hand which has stained and basically looks like I have shat myself. I wiped it off on his coat though 😎

    We had a drink in a resturant where people kept approaching us to sell us things.

    There is a big orange juice market here.

    We went home and had a five hour "nap" hahahahaha

    We went out for dinner to a place just up the street which was great, walked around a bit but the went back to chill at the Hostel.

    We ended up having a terrific night!
    We made friends with everyone at the hostel because it's sort of set up so you have to talk.
    The 2 men workers we have met are really friendly and made us all mint tea which I had so much of I got the shakes hahah
    I'll be peeing all night - toilet not on our floor though so thats a pain.

    Our group of 10 included 3 Germans, 1 English speaking Canadian and 2 French speaking ones and the 2 workers who came and went.
    We talked about the differences in countries and just about everything really.
    I really enjoyed myself.

    In bed now and shockingly, I need to pee.

    Hey, look at that! A proper diary entry. Woo.
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  • Day170

    Slept what felt like an age but it was still only 9:30 when I woke up which meant breakfast was still on woo.
    Same as yesterday and sooo good.
    We then went walking to find a mosque and garden.
    The city was so busy. People busling everywhere. I love the tradition dress.
    The city/buildings are all neutral colours of browns and reds.
    We walked to where the mosque should have been except it wasn't 🤔 a job for another day - we headed to the gardens. It's called Jardin Majorelle. It took some dude 40 years to create the garden.
    It wasn't worth the hype. While it is lovely it's not impressive.
    Lots of cactus plants - apparently there is like 300 specie of plants but there was no really variety in appearance which made it dull.
    It was pretty busy too. We had to wait 15+ minutes in line to buy our ticket.
    There was an attached museum but we skipped it because it was all in French.
    They speak 3 languages here- Berber, Arabic and French. A very surprisingly large amount also speak English well enough to hold a conversation.

    I don't like the state of their horses, a lot of them you can see their ribs. The donkeys look so sad too 😔

    They sell why j think is cactus to eat on the side of the road which I must try before we leave.

    We walked back from the garden through the market maze again - it was suppose to only be 1km away but I think our route was well over 3 - got money out then found a place to eat just around the corner from our hostel.

    One of the guys on the street tried to sell us something and I almost considered it due to his excellent catch phrase - "it's almost free"

    We hung around the hostel a bit, showered and booked 2 excursions for later in the week.

    We went out to eat at cheap place. I got to feed some cats :) :) :) :) :)

    We are so itchy from suspected bed bug bites.

    We played cards upstairs but retired to bed shortly after because we have to get up early tomorrow for our day trip.

    I felt a little sick in bed :(
    I need to drink more water - maybe a little constipated.

    We Emailed the insurance company because the laptop would FINALLY connect woo.
    There were new Aussies in our room. Everyone is always from bloody Melbourne but.

    While Morocco is cheap it's not as cheap as it could be.

    Africans can't drive either.
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  • Day174

    We were going to get a ride in Viviennes cab to the train station but we wanted breakfast first so said bye to her, went upstairs to eat then fart assed around for a bit before heading to the station - 4km walk each way 😒 it's also 38 degrees today
    On the way I got a pomegranate juice from a street cart but it was shit because they blended in the seeds.
    We got there and bought tickets for tomorrow morning instead of tonight. It's only an 8 hour train meaning the "overnight" train arrives in Fez at 2:30am.... like that's helpful..
    we bought first class tickets because it was only 10€ more each and it ensures us a seat. Second class is best In best served - it's also meant to be 38 degrees tomorrow so it will be a sweat fest back there!
    We had some lunch then walked back to the hostel. We were going to see the palaces but decided to go see the one in Rabat instead because that's where the king lives.
    We hung around for hours. I had a very sad tummy because I still hadn't pooed.
    After an episode in the bathroom I felt a little better.

    We have run out of itchy cream so we went to find more but both pharmacies were shut - We went out for dinner at a place a man has been trying to give us flyers for all damn week.
    He was so happy when I finally took one 😂
    It was really expensive but Fantastic food!
    We went out and finally found a cactus to try. I actually liked it - the only problem was it was riddled with seeds.

    Back at the hostel we packed - I have so many stupid coins I popped out to buy a coin purse.

    I got stuck talking to every bloke and his dog.
    First was the boy who lives opposite, then the handbag guy who yells Neighbour every time he sees us - he wanted to know when I was coming to look at his shop, next was the dude who gave us the flyer, then the guy who owns the shop we have eaten twice in and finally the guy whose restaurant we ate at 2 nights ago - he added me on Facebook 😂😂😂😂😂 they are all so friendly but annoying!

    All these interactions were longer than hi how are you .. 😒
    My coin purse was a bank breaking $2

    I have officially ran out of socks, bras, undies, shirts and shorts.
    I smell so bad.

    The shop dude who added me on fb just invited me to his shop for tea hahahaha no thankyou. Bless. His inappropriateness reminds me of Bazil when we first started talking. I wonder if this is how they are with the local girls or just foreigners? I feel like probably both 😂 it's like they think if they don't call you beautiful you won't talk to them.
    He was very firm on making sure I knew that he likes blonde hair. Lol

    Tonight is the first night in the hostel where I am hot.

    We organised a taxi to take us to the station tomorrow - such a rip! Another 15€
    Only option so gotta pay 😒

    I should go brush my teeth but I'm in my bed and out of fear it's going to collapse any minute .. I am gonna skip it.
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  • Day1

    Nach Anbruch der Dunkelheit führte uns die Neugierde zum Djemaa el Fna, dem zentralen Marktplatz in Marrakesch und mitunter beliebtesten Touristenziel. Dort ist es sehr voll, laut und unübersichtlich, und man kann kaum zwei Schritte gehen, ohne von Verkäufern angesprochen zu werden. Hier besitzt jeder das beste Restaurant der Stadt, schneidet die besten Bartfrisuren oder hat das echteste Hilfiger-Shirt. Gerade wenn man den Weg ein Stück weiter nördlich geht und die zentralen Souks betritt, wird es in den engen Gassen fast schon klaustrophobisch zwischen all den um Aufmerksamkeit feilschenden Händlern, den Bettlern und Touristen und Moped-Fahrern, und den hoch aufragenden Hausmauern zu beiden Seiten.
    Hier müssen Sigi und ich ganz klar kapitulieren: Das ist nichts für uns. Zumindest in diesem Bereich der Medina scheinen auch die angebotenen Waren eher Ramsch zu sein, sodass man überhaupt kein Interesse an Verhandlungen und einem möglichen Kauf hat. Wir waren letztendlich froh, als wir uns in eine nette Bar zurückziehen konnten. Trotzdem bleiben wir gespannt, wie die Stadt bei Tag wirkt - und ob wir noch Souks mit (handgefertigten?) Waren finden, die uns mehr ansprechen.

    Interessanterweise konnte ich bereits viele Klischees bestätigen, die mir vor der Reise online ins Auge gesprungen sind. So wurden wir bereits
    - einmal nach Hasch gefragt.
    - mit Minztee begrüßt.
    - fast von Mopeds überfahren.
    - von Verkäufern belagert.
    Um dem Klischee weiter zu entsprechen haben wir bei unserem letzten Stop noch eine "Tajine a la Chef" gegessen. Die war geschmacklich gut, aber auch Neuland für uns. Mal sehen wie unsere Mägen die neuen Eindrücke vertragen. Jetzt haben sie erstmal wie wir eine Nacht Zeit, sie zu verarbeiten. 😉

    P.S.: Übrigens habe ich natürlich trotz minutiöser Planung etwas zu Hause vergessen: meinen Eyeliner 😱😱🙈 Ich werde die Woche über sehr tapfer sein müssen. Aber ich glaube an mich! 🤘🏻
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  • Day3

    Unser erstes Erlebnis mit den Souks war ja leider nicht sehr berauschend gewesen an unserem ersten Abend, daher sind wir nur etwas widerwillig auf dem Weg zu den heutigen Sehenswürdigkeiten wieder durch welche hindurchgelaufen. Und zu unserer Überraschung hat es dort tatsächlich Spaß gemacht! In den nördlichen Souks fühlte es sich eher an wie ein labyrinthartiger Tollwood-Besuch, mit breiteren, festeren Gassen und größeren Ständen. Man kann in Ruhe die Auslagen begutachten, ohne sofort in ein Verkaufgespräch verwickelt zu werden. Und wenn man dann doch mal in einem steckt, sind die Verkäufer sehr sehr freundlich und führen nur allzu gern ein bisschen Small Talk, bringen dir arabische Wörter bei oder geben ihre paar Brocken Deutsch zum Besten. Dadurch wurde ich dann doch mutig genug, kräftig zu feilschen und die Händler einmal sogar auf die Hälfte ihres Anfangsgebots runterzuhandeln. Wirklich billig war das alles zwar immer noch nicht (wir haben für einen Schal, ein Armband, zwei Schälchen und kleine Souvenirs für unsere Liebsten insgesamt über 70 Euro gezahlt 💶), aber die Erfahrung war wirklich toll, und zweimal als guter Feilscher bezeichnet zu werden hat das Ego auch ein bisschen gestreichelt. 😎Read more

  • Day3

    Auch auf die Gefahr hin, dass es ein Running Gag wird: Die Sonnenuntergänge in Marrakesch sind WIRKLICH schön! 😂😂

    Nach den Souks hatten wir eigentlich noch ein hochwertiges Hammam besuchen wollen, doch leider waren die beiden, die wir letztendlich angelaufen haben, bereits ausgebucht. ☹️ Stattdessen haben wir dann eben wieder einmal ein wenig auf einer Parkbank entspannt. People Watching kann auch ein spannender Zeitvertreib sein!

    Als Abschluss unseres Reise-Abschnitts haben wir uns für das Café Kif Kif entschieden. Wer gut aufgepasst hat, hat sicherlich gestern das Foto des Restaurants entdeckt, da mich die Front gestern beim Vorbeilaufen schon amüsiert hat. Die Dachterrasse mit ihrem Blick auf die belebte Kreuzung vor dem Turm der zentralen Moschee und die gemütliche Einrichtung verführten uns zum Hinsetzen, das freundliche Personal und die hervorragenden Getränke schließlich zum stundenlangen Verweilen. Für insgesamt 32 Euro bekamen wir einen Eistee, zwei Cola, zwei Frucht-Smoothies, einen Ingwertee, zwei Burger mit Pommes und Nutella-Taschen als Nachspeise. Jetzt liege ich wie ein vollgefressener Bär auf unserem Bett im Riad und atme. Beim besten Willen, keinen Bissen hätte ich mehr essen können, auch wenn ich es wirklich gewollt hatte.
    Fazit: Lieber wochenlang Wegatmen als auch nur einen Bananensmoothie weniger!
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  • Day2

    Heute sind wir bei angenehmen 28Grad durch Marrakesch geschlendert und haben den Jardin Majorelle & Ben Youssef Madrasa besichtigt 😊

  • Day96

    I love Morocco; the sounds and smells, the food, the people and the laid back lifestyle. Always a pleasure to be able to visit Marrakesh with its ancient Medina of narrow alleys and myriad shops and Riads in the maze like alleyways. The Riads are spectacular, so cool and opulent even when the sun is beating down and its 40C outside; the Riad with its courtyards, fountaiins and shaded spaces is a haven of peace and tranquility in this busy and bustling city.Read more

  • Day9

    I'm having my first Moroccan breakfast. Honestly, I have no idea how to eat it! It's funny how often that thought has crossed my mind lately, knowing that I have no idea what the custom is. I think that feeling of being forced out of my comfort zone is my favorite part of travel.

  • Day26

    Onto another famous Moroccan city, but not before taking the mountain pass to make sure I can say I've seen snow this Christmas.

    However this scenic route meant I arrived in Marrakech just as it was getting dark on Saturday, almost the busiest possible time. So far I had been relying on the trusty 'maps with me' app. It had every single alley of Fes in it, all offline ready for me to use at anytime. In fact in Fes it helpfully told me what was a street and what wasn't. All this made me feel good about picking a hostel in Marrakech that I could ride up to the door. You can probably see where this is going, particularly anyone who has been to Marrakech. But for those the haven't. Take a street 10ft wide, subtract 3ft from either side for the souk stalls, then in the remaining 4ft fit the population of Marrakech doing its shopping, then place me on a 3ft wide bike trying to part the waves, whilst frantically work out which direction I should be going. 45 minutes later I arrive at a location you most definitely shouldn't ride a bike to. Unfortunately the go pro was out of charge otherwise it would have been an amazing video to watch back.

    Marrakech is all hustle and bustle without my input. It's all good natured and enjoyable but I have never been so pestered in my life. It's a great experience, the whole city is just constantly trying to sell you something, even if it's just directions. The main square, jemaa el fna, is supposedly the busiest in Africa and at night it comes alive with a mix of locals are tourists. There are various food and drink stalls, but in the open bit of the square, people gather round Berber story tellers, musicians and dancers. The place just has a constant noise of people and drumbeats.

    I also went to the Bahia palace where there is a bit of quiet and you can see the best examples of the carved plaster and wood.

    1) A local looking out of one of the windows at the Bahia palace
    2) Snow on the mountain pass
    3) More Bahia palace
    4 and 5) Jemaa el fna, the second one is taken on a long exposure so you can see how a lot of the square is busy moving around, but then there are these circles where people are standing listening to the story tellers
    6) Local takeaway
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Djemaa el Fna, جامع الفنا, Djemà-el-Fna, Djema al-Fna, Ĝemaa el Fna, Plaza de Yamaa el Fna, Jamaâ El Fna, Dżamaa al-Fina, Praça Jemaa El Fna

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