Today was the start of our 4 days of adventuring by ourselves in Marrakesh and to say we (I at least) were slightly excited was an understatement. We somewhat eagerly checked out of hotel accommodation and after a few false starts with a taxi, we made it to our riad. We were all much more comfortable in a more personable riad then the large scale of the hotel.
I had been tasked with organising accommodation for the Motherships and me for our last few days in Marrakesh. I had carefully poured over the map, picking out the places that we wanted to visit but also something that was easy to access. Riad Zaid fitted the bill quite nicely. After four days there, I would happily stay there again. When we arrived, we had a lovely morning tea up on the terrace which was just a treat.
We had two primary items on the agenda today. First to get some documents printed for Mum as she was putting together a tender for some work and the price the hotel had quoted her was beyond ridiculous. With a bit of google map searching, we had managed to find a print shop that luckily was just near where we were headed; The Majorelle Gardens – Jardin Majorelle.
We packed our bags, and traipsed off towards Jardin Majorelle. I picked up a snack from a little bakery along Route Sidi Abdelaziz and also some biscuits moulds from a kitchenware store. We walked through a souk on the other side of the wall which had a good collection of book sellers and then it was through one of the main taxi and bus stations to continue our walk towards the printing shop. We walked past a number of the most marvellous shaped olive trees. I had never seen anything like it! We made it to our first destination, Typo Edit. Mum got her printing sorted out a very reasonable price and very prompt service. As it was now 2pm, we thought it prudent to have lunch before we ventured into the gardens :D. We stopped just round the corner at Cafe Las Torres De Majorelle for a very nice lunch of pizza and salad. I was becoming quite the fan of the mixed salad plate. Margaret and I enjoyed deconstructing the ingredients as we ate them.
It was now for the gardens, due to lack of time, we only were able to visit the gardens today. We all would have dearly loved to have had time to visit the Berber Museum and I also dearly wanted to visit the Yves Saint Laurent Museum as well but time was not on our side today. They were earmarked for a hopeful visit in the coming days. I will let you know right now that this did not happen so you know what that means? They are both of course on the list for the “next visit” to Morocco.
The gardens were everything I thought they might be and also nothing like I had expected at the same time. It was just a total delight. The plantings, the variety, the shapes, the colours, the textures, the paths.
A couple of highlights for me were the Pomegranate hedge on the approach into The Garden of Villa Oasis as well as a massive patch of cliveas and the fountain. Oh the fountain, oh that Majorelle Blue. They had the paint for sale in the gift shop and I sort of wish now that I had picked up a tin of it. 😀
We spent 2.5 hours in the gardens and that was just in the gardens and the gift shop. I am very glad that we went there on our own time and not as part of a tour as it did mean that we were able to spend as long as wanted there. I would definitely visit it again on a return trip.
Our next stop was Ensemble artisanal Marrakech, a fixed price open air shopping plaza of sorts that was focused on showcasing the artisans of Morocco and their work. There was at least 40 or different little shops and workshops in this complex. It was a total treat to wonder round, look at items and not feel like you were constantly getting pressured to buy and then having to negotiate a price. I picked up a lovely handkerchief and a zellige tile. I highly recommend a visit to this shopping plaza.
Mum and I also spent some time in the carpet weaving workshop and tied a few pieces of pile on ourselves 😀
On the walk to the Ensemble, we passed this pack of street dogs hanging out in the long grass in this park and it just made me giggle 😀
Bougainvillea will always be a plant I now associate with Marrakesh, for they were everywhere and seemed to truly flourish. Another plant that also grows so well here in the subtropics of Brisbane as well. Whenever I see it, it makes me smile 😀
We had arranged to have dinner at our Riad, which was such an easy option and the food was so, so, so, good. The other great thing about it was that it was easy to ask lots of questions about ingredients 😀
And that brings us to an end of day 1 of our 4 days of fun and freedom 😀