2000, Rest Day in Marrakech
are many aspects making Marrakech worthwhile seeing. The most important
is the unique atmosphere of an oriental city with a large bazaar and busy
life. People are wearing their traditional clothes, behave in their traditional
ways and keep their houses in traditional style without paying much regard
to the latest European fashions. Moroccans are very skilled artists and
many of their goods, houses, even their food is embellished marvelously.
So we can only recommend a visit to Marrakech for shopping, dining and
breathing in the different atmosphere - just outside Europe.
But two stories have to be told. When we took a taxi from our hotel to
the souk, the taxi-driver started to talk about how foreigners get pestered
by people trying to sell stuff or "guides" offering their service
in the souk. To avoid that problem, he said we should get a good guide.
We politely said "no" as we had no interest in good guides or
bad guides. He still brought us to a back entrance of the souk where a
guide was already awaiting us and would not let go of us. So we went back
out of the souk and left when suddenly the taxi driver came running after
us, asking if there was a problem and telling us we were going the wrong
way. This was probably not out of human concern, but the driver normally
takes money from the guide, while the guide normally takes money from
the shops where tourists buy at and from the tourists themselves, of course.
We just left these people and when we reentered the souk from another
entrance, another guide approached us, but we totally ignored him, not
speaking a single word to him or even looking at him. He could not be
sure that we understood him at all so after a few minutes he let go. In
the souk itself we were not really pestered again, just the usual "come
and see my shop".
While the first story made the afternoon more interesting, the second
is actually more tragic. For dinner, we were invited by the hotel where
we must have caught some bacterial infection. We were careless and ate
some salad, always a bad idea in these countries. Anyway, Team Busch had
to struggle the next days with Kaya being hit the worst with high fever.
Overall 1 hour 47
official results can be looked up on this website
Out of the hotel,
into the street.
But most streets
look like this, with lots of small motorcycles. These bikes also
happen to drive in the smallest streets with many people at reckless
Most of the
souk is covered. Although in some places, the bazaar has become
a tourist trap, it is still very authentic and fully functional,
selling mostly to Moroccans all kinds of goods which tourists would
not buy anyway. Those goods on offer for tourists (carpets, pottery,
textiles metalwork, woodwork, paintings) are actually quite nice
and seem to be reasonable quality.
On that same
place they also have many small street restaurants - everyone dressed
in white is a cook. If you want to try them out, remember that white
does not kill the bacteria.
Some of the
streets in Marrakech are quite narrow
Inside the old
city is the souk or bazaar, where people from all over the area
come to buy and sell their goods.
The big place
in front of the souk could be described as the centre of Marrakech.
Here they have belly-dancers, snake-charmers, beggars, trained monkeys,
chameleons (dry and fresh) and tortoises for sale, wise old men
sitting around - just like you would expect in a romanticized view
of an oriental city.