Here’s the second half of my Marrakesh series!
We woke up bright and early on our third day and headed to Jemaa El Fna to meet our driver.
^ Fresh orange juice in the morning whilst waiting. Delicious!
After about an hour on the road, we pulled up at a roadside cafe for breakfast. We were served various condiments with fresh msemen bread – honey, argan oil, peanut butter and uh, laughing cow cheese.
The place didn’t actually have a menu and after yesterday’s shakshuka, I was desperate for some more. I asked, in pretty abysmal French, for some eggs and tomatoes and this is what arrived:
A plate of steaming hot chopped tomatoes and not quite done eggs topped generously with cumin. I mean, it wasn’t amazing, but I suppose considering they practically created the dish upon my request I can’t be too fussy. However that being said, whilst I love my yolks runny I can’t really deal with unset whites. And it just wasn’t the same without a rich, slowly cooked down tomato sauce.
After the pitstop, we hit the road again and were treated to beautiful scenery:
A little panoramic pic:
About 11am, we reached our destination and parked up. The first thing we were greeted by, an orange tree! Not sure why this was so exciting, but it was!
Followed by a fig tree!
We made our way to the main path and met this little guy! ❤
And so began our descent down the mountainside.
Usually, when you book an excursion, they’ll take you down the rugged path on a half day trek, as opposed to the easy stroll and stairs down the path, but since we had a mixed ability group and a small child, we decided against that option.
Aaall the stairs!
It was so exciting to finally catch a glimpse of what we were here for:
The Ouzoud waterfalls.
Midway down our walk, we made a new friend.
And this little baby monkey – isn’t he such a cutie?
There seem to be plenty of wild monkeys living out in the shrubbery around the waterfall.
^ Finally at the bottom!
Here, you can take a boat ride to get up close and personal with the waterfall.
We headed back up to about the midway mark to break for lunch. Not sure of the name of the cafe we ended up at, but here are some pics.
Salad and fresh bread whilst we waited.
Lamb tagine – fall apart tender, cooked under a layer of potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and olives. Mr Man had a great time with this dish.
I, ever the meat cop out, went for a chicken skewers plate. They look better than they tasted in all honesty. Decent flavour, bit over done, bit bland, and uh, tasted too ‘chickeny’ for lack of a better explanation. Fries were great though.
The best part of our lunch? This view:
We headed back to the top and met a few more monkeys:
The view just over midway to the top is probably my favourite.
Can one have too many pics of the same waterfall?
Back at the top, we had a little wander around, no railings, no safety measures – so we went as far as we dared. Think that’s probably a hotel being built in the pic below:
From there I realised the sheer amount of water gushing down…
Looking down from the left of the waterfall:
With that, it was time to head back. We arrived at Jemaa El Fna late into the afternoon and headed back to our riad for a shower and a rest break.
At dinnertime, myself and Mr Man ventured out to find something to eat and opted for Le Marrakchi in the main square.
Love the ambience, and don’t even get me started on the tiles. Beautiful.
Neither of us was particularly hungry and so I opted for a starter and Mr Man a dessert.
Pastilla au poulet. A spiced chicken mixture with slightly sweetened almonds, wrapped in crisp pastry and topped with icing sugar and cinnamon. Was expecting something savoury but this was still very satisfying.
Two small Moroccan pancakes (baghrir) spongey with loads of holes, perfect for holding on to the honey drizzled over the top.
^ Adore these lanterns. Wish I’d bought a couple.
We stopped for a midnight orange juice. Cart number 17 and it was better than the others we sampled in our time there so I thought I’d give it a mention.
The next morning, myself and Mr Man headed out pretty early to explore whilst the others snoozed on. We made a quick pitstop and grabbed some fresh tomato msemen bread for breakfast before jumping in a taxi. (Haggle in advance!)
First stop, Jardin Majorelle. This place was created over forty years by a French painter who found another passion in gardening. Yves Saint Laurent was one of the garden’s big fans, and when he found out that it was to be sold and transformed into a hotel, he stepped in.
^ Pretty fountain at the entrance.
^ lily pads.
^ LOVE the blue!
^ Palm trees
^ Towering bamboo.
^ Cacti galore.
Can’t get over this blue. So bold, so beautiful!
We stopped at the cafe here to get some proper breakfast.
Baked eggs with cumin:
Pancakes with honey:
Mint tea, served with a traditional Moroccan pastry.
Next up – Ben Youssef Madrasa. A 14th-century Islamic college, that may have housed around 900 students.
The first thing you see when you walk in is the grand, central courtyard:
The room straight ahead, through the large arch, is a prayer hall:
Check out the ceiling!
You can also check out the wings on either side.
View from the dorm rooms:
^ Seriously, just look at the detail. Jaw dropping.
I also fell in love with the tiles.
Next stop, spices (pictures of what I bought in the last post.)
Spice shopping is one of my favourite things to do when away – as someone to loves to cook, I adore discovering different herbs and spices to inspire me.
^ Are those snake hides, I’m not sure?
^ With a bag full of goodies, we headed back to the riad.
Peeking into a random door:
After a quick pitstop, I popped out to meet an old uni chum of mine who currently resides in Morocco whilst Mr Man rejoined the family group. We decided to go for a walk and check out the tanneries – where they produce leather from animal skins – namely cows, camels and goats.
We were welcomed by the ‘manager’ who handed us a sprig of mint each ‘for the smell.’ Can’t tell you how useful it was!
He gave us a brief tour of the place:
First step – quicklime and water, helps take off the hair.
Then pigeon poo (yes, you heard me) and water. I believe the ammonia in it acts as a softening agent.
Can’t really remember the next step but it gets rid of the smell.
Unfortunately, due to rain forecast, the colourful vats for dyeing (the final step) were covered up – these range from red poppies, yellow saffron, indigo blue to mint green – where they are soaked for a week or two to absorb the colours.
After dropping us off to an extortionate leather shop, we had a quick peruse and exited.
Our tour guide was waiting outside for us and demanded a silly amount of money for his troubles and got pretty wound up when we refused the asking price. (Despite knowing that my chum was practically a local – the cheek!) We gave him a fraction of what he was demanded and headed on our way.
We stopped for lunch at La Terrasse des Epices.
My friend’s eggs and msemen bread with honey.
I went for a chicken sandwich – pretty unimpressive unfortunately.
As much as I wanted to hang with my chum a little longer, Mr Man’s sister had booked us in for an evening hammam session and massage at Hammam Lalla, so it was time to part ways.
We were left in a steam room before being scrubbed within an inch of our lives, covered in some kind of mud mask, being rinsed then covered in oils and rinsed again. Felt like a small child being bathed in all honesty and slightly violated, ha. Not sure if I’ll be running back for another one anytime soon, but uh, I won’t lie, my skin felt super soft afterwards and I think they pretty much, sadly, rid me of any tan that I’d acquired in the last few days.
On the way back, we stopped at Patisserie des Princes after reading great reviews. They didn’t have much left at this point in the day, but I took what I could get.
Whilst they look really nice, I sampled a small piece of them all, and sadly nothing was great.
After a pitstop at the riad and a packing spree, myself and Mr Man headed out to dinner. It was pretty late at this point – and weirdly the square looked like it was closed up for the night. FYI, whilst it’s buzzing in the evenings, it seems at midnight it all comes to a sharp halt. After trying a few restaurants and being turned away, a passerby took us to a little place overlooking Jemaa El Fna, no idea what it was called, was just grateful to have found somewhere still serving food.
I went for a veggie sandwich, and Mr Man the meat equivalent. Neither of them was anything to write home about, in fact, they were pretty rubbish, but here’s a picture nevertheless.
Stomachs filled, we headed back to the riad for our last sleep before an early morning flight back to London.