30.12.2007 - 05.01.2008 18 °C
Next stop on our Christmas holiday was Marrakech. We came here on our last trip and we loved it last time so we thought we would spend our new years there.
For Marrakech we booked a place which looked great on the internet, but when we arrived we found that the photos were obviously from the opening days 4 years ago. The place had been let go quite a bit and was not all that great after all.
We stayed one night and found the area pretty dodgy as well. So we got out of there the next morning with a uncomfortable discussion with the owner about why we wanted to leave.
But we found a great Riad to move to,
I was certainly more relaxed in this place
We spent the next 3 days lounging around the Riad and shopping in the souks
Rishi finally got herself a Jalaba to use for her dancing, but the first place we went to turned out to be a designer store (although you wouldn't know it just looking at it) and he wanted about €500 for a single Jalaba, and this was after trying them on for about an hour,
We celebrated a pretty low key new years with dinner looking over Djnaa El Fna, you can really beat that view
After a relaxing new year we headed back to Casablanca, This was the one place we really hated last time in Morocco. So this time we didn't know what to expect.
We booked a hotel right in the Medina to get right in amongst it
This is a view from the roof of our Hotel
The hotel was reasonable, but a step down from our Riads thus far.
We did a walking tour that we had a map for through the new and old town, and there were some interesting sites to see. But the city is just generally dirty & loud. Adding to that you have quite a lot of homeless and general vagrants & drunks which is unusual from a Muslim country.
We actually had a few drunks first start talking to us then start to get aggressive, but we were able to walk away quite easily. But I could see that you could get yourself into trouble quite easily
One highlight of Casablanca though is they still have quite a large French population and quite a few French restaurants. After eating tagine & cous cous for almost 2 weeks I was ready for something different right down the road from our hotel was a great Restaurant in an old citadel
I had a great steak
We also went on another night to a French restaurant right in the city, we hadn't booked as we didn't think it would be that busy, but when we turned up there were two huge bouncers dressed all in black at the door. At first I thought they wouldn't let us in because they just stood there staring into the distance. Then once we reached for the door they moved aside. Once inside it was a total contrast to the busy streets of Casablanca.
It was a full white linen restaurant with a full French menu & wine list, it was a bizarre experience to eat there. We didn't drink wine though, it just felt strange being only a few k's from one of the most important Muslim mosques in the world
I went all out and had a dozen oysters for starter
And that was the end to our second Moroccan trip. It was certainly a huge difference going back again (especially outside of Ramadan) We really enjoyed our time, and found it quite relaxing with only 3 stops in two weeks
Then back to Barcelona for 2 more days, this was now our fifth stay in Barcelona in the last 3 years. By now we have seen almost all the 'must see' sites and our last few stays have been more about finding the best coffee & the best meal. We went back to our favourite tapas bar 'Cal Pep' http://www.calpep.com/Galerias/plats/indexgalery.html Simple food cooked fresh right in front of you.
Following a 2 hour lunch with a bottle of wine followed by a couple of glasses of cava at a nearby wine bar we somehow got into a shopping spree
defiantly a different experience from the souks of Morocco