Sunday, 17 July 2011

Day 1 - Travel to Marrakesh

Well first of all, thanks BA for not stinging me an extra £40 for the overweight bike bag!

 Goodbye Europe

 Hello Morocco


After a relatively simple flight transfer via Gatwick with a couple of hours layover (which we used for preparation plans at Costa) we arrived in Marrakech with the temp sitting at 34deg which was quite nice after leaving soggy overcast Edinburgh. We were met at the airport in Marracesh and transferred to the Riad Jona situated right in the centre on Medina (Marrakech old town). Although the Riad is situated in the centre, it was inconspicuously tucked away in one of the myriad of small lanes that make up the Medina.

 Yet another mode of transport for the bike boxes

 Le Chat petite

Riad Jona is a remarkable place with an atmosphere of tranquillity. The facilities are good for us too as we knew the bikes were going to be secure, Wifi for this type of stuff, rooftop pool and chill area. The staff helped with any request. Quite a place.

Riad Jona - an oasis from the high temps and madness outside

 Rose petals in the bathroom - the romance!

We headed out to the main square for  our first encounter of Moroccan bartering (which is not for the faint hearted) and the vast array of North African goods that are available is mental. Inevitably items were bought which you will see in later photos. 
 Dates, Figs, Apricots, Almonds etc...

Place Djemaa el-Fna

 In the souqs - Olives

When darkness fell the market place suddenly flipped into a fusion of Moroccan street entertainment with magicians, monkies, snakes charmers and all sorts of weird and wonderful sights and sounds creating a simply ‘mad’ atmosphere. A huge open air eating arena served standard kebabs through to sheeps brains and snails. Negotiating our way through the maze was very intense as the competition between traders was feirce. After finally falling for the sales pitch of one of the stall waiters and enjoying a grill style meal, it was home time.

Sheeps brains 

After dark the madness descends

Back to Riad jona and a good night’s kip! Busy day

But at Riad Jona there is still tranquility
Off to bed. More tomorrow.

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