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Missing Marrakech

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After an incredible stay in Morocco in December 2015 I missed this place so much that I had to come back in January. As little Felicia is a marvellous travelbuddy I decided to take her with me.

Of course there were not only positive reactions . Visiting Morocco alone and with a blond toddler seemed kind of dangerous to many people. But even after overthinking my plans again I came to the conclusion that it would be a good thing for us to do. I must admit that I did not tell my parents about the attack in Fes in October 2015. This would have made them feel insecure for no reason because this kind of things can happen to me everywhere.

Our journey started of in Fes and besides Marrakech we visited other places like Ouzoud Falls and Essaouira. Arrived back home I had to realize that one blog post wouldn’t do. No problem – I will come back to one topic after the other. For example I want to tell you about discovering Morocco by train but I still need to prepare the video. I certainly have to write about the beauty of Ouzoud Falls and Fes as well as about Essaouira.

 

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To be honest this series of blog posts won’t be chronological. I feel an urgent need to begin with some thoughts about Marrakech. Those who know already my blog post about my stay in December are aware of the fact that I’m in love with this place ( for those who don’t know the blog post – you can find it here.)

I also must admit that there was some small fear that Marrakech would be to much of everything for Felicia. To much impressions, colors, smells, noises ect. I had to find out that she loved it. She was really interested in everything happening around her and tried not to fall asleep in order not to miss anything. There were many people coming nearby to talk to her, to take her and to kiss her. She mostly showed interested in people and seemed to have no fear.

To sum it up: We stayed much longer in this beautiful town than planed and prolonged our stay more than twice. We simply could not leave.

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Let’s show you some places and activities that we strongly recommend:

ACCOMODATION

As I love traditional accomodation we stayed in riads close to the center of the old part of the town. As our first riad was fully booked at our last night in Marrakech we had the chance to discover another dream of a riad which – lucky us – was just accross the street of our first riad.

Both riads are very close to Hammam Dar el-Bacha. They are located in a very narrow street (Derb Raouia R’mila). But as just some meters and little stairs seperate them from Rue Fatima Zahra Rmila it is no problem to access them by car which you will appreciate especially when bringing heavy luggage with you.

The direct surrounding is not touristic. There are many shops with fixed prices where also locals buy. On the other hand you are only a few minutes walking away from Koutobia Mosque and Jemaa el Fna („the square“). You just take the steps to  Rue Fatima Zahra Rmila, turn right and follow the street until you end up in front of Café Koutobia. If you cross the street and follow the street in front of which you will end up (Rue Koutobia)you will be guided directly to Jemaa el Fna.

Riad Dar Aby

Having reached Marrakech by train (8 hours from Fes) I was lucky when arriving at the riad and to be welcomed in a very friendly way.

From the very first moment Fatima was paying attention to all our needs and questions.

I had booked the room „Koutobia“ on the first floor. Felicia was happy that she could climb on the bed herself and for me it was good to see that falling out of the bed would not be any tragedy as it was not very high. My personal highlight regarding the room was the bathroom. Just have a look:

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In the evening and in the morning Karim took good care of us and was also helping out whenever we needed any advise. During our stay we also met the owner Brahim and his wife Naima who also made us feel very welcome.

We changed our room after two nights. Not because there was anything wrong with the first one but because „Koutobia“ was already reserved. Our new room „L’Arganier“ was on the ground floor and had a different style. The bathroom was similar to the one before but dominated by yellow color.

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Personally I would prefer „Koutobia“ because I really like the colour of the bathroom and I found its style more relaxing.

Riad Dar Aby offers quality at reasonable prices. It is not superluxirious but the people there know how to make you feel welcome and like at home.

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Riad Sheba

For our last night our first riad was fully booked. Lucky me I decided to ask at Riad Sheba for a room. We definitely would have missed something if we had not discovered this jewel of a riad.

I loved the calming atmosphere, the light and the harmony in forms and colors everywhere.

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Our room „Casablanca“ was in the ground-floor and dominated by white and blue color. Again I was fascinated by the bathroom – especially by the shower cabin.

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The team of the riad – especially Mohamed and Fatima – was taking perfect care of little Felicia and me and made us feel happy right from the start.

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We can also strongly recommend the delicious breakfast.

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You cannot compare the both riads as both have their individual character and as there is a difference as regards prices ( I paid 30 Euro/night + tax in Riad Dar Aby and 45 Euro (which was a really,really good lastminute-rate at Riad Sheba). No matter which one you choose you will experience hospitality !

FOOD AND DRINKS

Chez Yassine

Around the corner of both riads you will find a magic place. Wherever you stay at Marrakech – do not leave town without paying „Chez Yassine“ (70,Rue Fatima Zahra Rmila Acote de Hammam El Bacha) a visit.

No matter if you are looking for a fantastic and tasty pizza or Moroccan food this tiny restaurant is the place to go. This recommendation is not only justified for the delicious food but also for the great team of the restaurant.

We experienced quick and always friendly service paying special attention to little Felicia.

But : be aware- you may become addicted to their food ! Another good news: You get this high quality for a very fair price. We can’t wait our next visit !

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Café Koutobia

A peppermint tea on the terrace of Café Koutobia is -even after a good breakfast- always a good option to start into the day. For us it became a daily routine to make a short break there and just sit watching at Koutobia Mosque and the passers before finding our way through the medina.

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Les Jardins de la Koutobia

Just across the street from Café Koutobia you find „Rue Koutobia“. If you enter the street you will find on the left side the luxury hotel „Les jardins de la Koutobia“.

They have perfect options for lunch. We tested the rooftop restaurant „Le Jardin Bala“ with excellent Indian food. You can also take a lunch at the snackbar in the poolarea. Besides excellent food and service I recommend this place for the calming atmosphere. And even if it is a 5 star hotel, lunch is affordable (for example a Club Sandwich with Saumon 85 DH).

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Café de France

Another daily routine we developed was -whenever not on excursion- coming to the panoramic terrace (2nd floor) of Café de France for sunset. A photo cannot really give you an impression of how magic this moment can be. They have delicious avocadoshakes there.

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Café Arabe

A good place to relax , sit very comfortable, drink a glass of wine and eat some good pasta. Many tourists but I loved it though.

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ACTIVITIES

Rent a horse carriage

A quiet relaxing way to come around and also to get a first impression. I must admitt I love the sound of clacking hooves. Do not pay more than 150 DH/hour.

Jardin Majorelle

The garden was made in 1923 by the Frensh painter Jaques Majorelle and was bought 1980 by and his partner. When Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008  his ahes were sqattered in the garden. Even if you are not interested in plants this garden has many options for you.

Try to go there as early as possible. For us it was a extraordinary experience being nearly alone in the garden. You can inhale the atmosphere much better than between different groups walking around (opens 8 am , entry for the garden : 70 DH). Do not miss to drink a „Jus Beldi“ in the „Café Bousafsaf“ located in the garden.

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Jemaa el-Fna

After sunset we made our daily round on the square and were each day impressed by the variety of things to see, hear and smell there. You should have been there at least once in the evening hours to experience the unique atmosphere.

Again I had the impression that also many locals seek daily distraction on the square. I wished I would know some arabic to be able to listen the storytellers on the place. Maybe one day…

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Marrakech with a toddler

I have no more doubts about bringing children to Marrakech. For us it was a really good experience and we are looking forward to a revival.

I travelled without stroller and was carrying Felicia – let’s say I was kind of sightseeing bus. In the narrow streets of the old part of the town this seemed to be the perfect solution and the safest option for Felicia.

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Many people were interested and made here feel welcome. Whenever I needed help there was some helpful hand available.

 

In my next blog post I will tell you more about the Ouzoud Falls and why you should go there when visiting Morocco.

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