Looking Back at Marrakesh

Pictures from Marrakesh: Tea sets
Marrakesh is filled with colors and smells you’ll remember all your life.

As I browse through my iphoto library and reminisce about past travels, one place in particular always jumps out. The bright colors of Marrakesh just pop as I scroll through, despite the fact that the photos I have were taken with a point and shoot before I knew the first thing about taking a decent picture! Marrakesh is a city I have now visited twice, yet never quite fallen in love with. I found the vendors too aggressive, and the locals never seemed quite genuine. Just the same, there is something magical about Marrakesh that keeps me thinking about another visit. I’d especially love to go back with my current camera and try taking some portraits– it is the type of place where a person’s face can tell a story.

Today I’d like to share some photos from my last trip to this busy city, and I’d also like to know, for those of you who have also been to Marrakesh what did you think? Did the pushy vendors bother you? Did people often touch you and grab you? And ladies, did you have a different experience based on whether you were walking with or without male company?

Pictures from my trip to Marrakesh

When we first arrived to the center of historic Marrakesh I remember the bizarre stands surrounding the square. This man had an assortment of teeth for sale, which I swear looked real. There were also snake charmers and lots of of people with monkeys. The most annoying experience for me was a girl selling henna tattoos who roughly grabbed my arm and started applying a hideous tattoo without my permission– and when I ripped my goo covered arm away she had the audacity to ask me for payment.

Pictures from Marrakesh: Teeth for sale
Teeth for sale in the center of Marrakesh.

One thing I do love about Marrakesh (and Morocco in general) is the delicious mint tea. Drowned in sugar, I would never make this sweet treat back home in fear of cavities, but it’s one of those things that taste amazing in the moment.

Pictures from Marrakesh: Mint Tea
Sweet mint tea at a small café.

Despite the aggressive vendors I encountered, the market (souk) is an incredible experience for the senses. You can smell foods cooking, fragrant spices and mint, see colorful displays at every corner, hear music and shouting, touch soft silk and satins. Everyone must experience this type of market at one point in their lives!

Pictures from Marrakesh: Dried fruits and nuts
Dried fruits and nuts for sale.
Pictures from Marrakesh: Mint for sale
Mint was everywhere!
Pictures from Marrakesh: Snails at the market
Snails in broth were a popular snack.
Pictures from Marrakesh: Olive vendors
I loved the olive vendors (though we are spoiled here in Spain).
Pictures from Marrakesh: Shoes
The wall of slippers was tempting, but I didn’t take any home.

I was especially at home in the spice market— there were so many different spices! I got a bit carried away and ended up taking too much home.

Pictures from Marrakesh: Spice Market
The smell of the spice market was amazing.
Pictures from Marrakesh: Spices
I went a little crazy with the spices!

At night, the central square (Djemaa el-Fna) came alive with food stalls and people everywhere. The atmosphere was busy and inviting, we ate in the market among locals and tourists alike.

Pictures from Marrakesh: The square at night
The square illuminated at night.
Pictures from Marrakesh: Goat head at the market
Goat head anyone?
Pictures from Marrakesh: Food at the market
Some of our food from the market stalls– Goat heads, bastilla (delicious puff pastry with shredded chicken, cinnamon, and nuts), lamb kebobs and cous cous, and the most incredible and simple hard boiled egg and pickled vegetable sandwich– my favorite thing of the trip!

The next day we walked around the city, visiting its different historic sites and stopping for a tea every now and then. We had to check out the tanneries, where they make leather. I don’t know that I would recommend doing this, as it is definitely not for the squeamish, but it was certainly an interesting experience.

Marrakesh tanneries
The tanneries were smelly and startling, but an interesting look at this business in Morocco.

When we finished in Marrakesh we headed to the incredible Atlas Mountains, which I’ll have to write about another day (it’s worth its own post!).

Would you like to visit Morocco one day? And if you’ve been, what did you most enjoy?

Comments

  1. Loving all these beautiful pictures of Morocco, Lauren! I’m going to Morocco over the Semana Santa auxiliar vacation but will be sticking to Fez, Meknes, and Chefchaouen in the north. I am so ready to drink liters of mint tea and get some slippers haha.

    Could you talk a little further when you say the tanneries were “startling” and “not for the squeamish”—are they just really freakin’ smelly or are workers, like, literally skinning carcasses and hanging the pelts to dry, etc.? I’ve heard the traditional chemicals they use are pretty intense but haven’t read much else.

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