Meeting at the airport
The airport is just over 10 minutes from the city center by motorbike. At the airport, I spend some time thinking about where to park my motorbike so that I don’t have to pay for entry into the airport area. One of the taxi drivers encourages me to drive past the turnstiles through a narrow gap. I seriously think about it with raised eyebrows. And now I can see the guard, who waves at me to indicate that I can stop wondering and continue exactly as the taxi driver instructed me. I park almost next to the turnstiles, the guard winks at me that he will look after the motorbike and I head to the waiting hall.
I was surprised how the airport in Marrakesh is relatively modern and doesn’t quite fit in with the rather historical tuning of the whole country.
I arrived just in time. Just like the plane from Prague. After 3 weeks of separation, I am meeting Maya so that our Moroccan adventure together can begin. Maya managed to pack only a small rucksack for the nearly 3-week expedition, which was essential for riding one motorcycle in two. I carried the helmet for Maya in the trunk of the motorcycle the whole time, we are ready.
The journey from Prague to Marrakesh by motorbike is something like 4000 km, which was the distance I planned to gain confidence in driving a one-wheeled vehicle. After all, I’ve only had the bike for a few months. Well, the ride was enough, but the nervousness didn’t subside, because driving a motorcycle with two is a bit different. Twice the responsibility, twice the controllability of the machine. I don’t show anything to Maya and hide my eyes wide with fear in my helmet under a darkened visor protecting my sight from the killer sun.
Back to the center of Marrakesh.
Walking through the city
In the Riad, I had already managed to move things from the room for 6 people to our room for 2. The oriental touch of the room, the private bathroom, the decorated lamps that were not lit… it had a wonderful atmosphere. Maya settled in quickly and we were able to hit the town.
Walking through Marrakesh is like riding a roller coaster, one moment up, one moment down, one moment you are in the picturesque streets, the next time you are in the smelly market. A surprise awaits around every corner. Me in a state of caution, scanning each person, looking over my shoulder, counting the change in my pocket, if any coins are missing, sweating with tension. Maya, with a smile on her face in a travel hat, soaks up the atmosphere of the city and with her graceful stride radiates comfort to everything around her. The same salespeople who scowled at me yesterday are smiling at us from ear to ear today.
@TamDoan | LottieFiles
Photo shoot in Morocco
It was somewhere in these places that I understood why I often hear choleric screams. It was usually after I pressed the shutter button on my camera. Since you actually hear some shouting in Marrakesh, I didn’t pay much attention to it. However, a few Moroccans have gradually indicated to me that taking pictures of people is not at all acceptable here. The man on the motorcycle was the most upset, whose roar could be heard long after he was lost in the confusion of the alleys.
From that moment on, I was careful about it and tried not to take photos of Moroccans, and when I did, only with a mobile phone or from a long distance.
I still managed to photograph a few Moroccans. But anyway, at that time I was in a so-called photography crisis. Willy-nilly, it will eventually fall like Thor’s hammer on everyone who takes a little more photos. I have so many photos from my trips that I don’t even know what to do with them anymore, let alone edit them all and show them to someone somewhere. That’s why taking more photos seems pointless.
Wandering around Marrakech
Our main focus in Marrakesh was a few places. One of them was the Jemaa el-Fna square, it comes alive the most only after dark. In the meantime, I wanted to visit the Jardin Majorelle and the adjacent Yves Saint Laurent museum. Laurent is said to have discovered the magic of colors in Marrakech. It was unmistakably clear from what we saw in the museum.
On the way we stopped at a park with a futuristic name Cyber park. You can see it in the photo, and it is clear from it that no cyber orgies take place here. It’s just an ordinary, pleasant park where it’s probably possible to connect to free wifi and that’s why it’s called Cyber.
Sim card and data in Morocco
In order to take advantage of the pseudo-cyber atmosphere, I tested the English knowledge of the local official Moroccan Telecom street vendor in front of the park entrance. Although he was clearly here for the tourists, his English did not reflect in any way. After a while of chatting and clapping my hands in the air in all directions (I would like sooooo much data), I leave CZK 300 poorer and richer by a sim card with approximately 8 gigabytes of data.
I’ve always wondered why data is so expensive in the Czech Republic, when you go 5 km out of town and you don’t even have a signal. Almost everywhere else in the world I’ve been, it’s the exact opposite. And it was no different here in Morocco. Even after riding a camel for x hours to the center of the Sahara desert, I had a signal on my mobile phone sufficient for video calls. It was one of the things I didn’t really expect here at all. Every time we stopped along the way in some utter wasteland and I looked at my cell phone, he was there! Full signal! And it amazed me every time. Maya was lost in the views and I was lost in the signal.
Jardin Majorelle gardens
After visiting the Saint Laurent museum, we headed to an oasis of calm. A place that, according to the guides, is one of the most photogenic in Marrakech. And apparently mainly because of this blue and yellow building.
It is not easy to take photos here, as there are always crowds of people trying to get the best shot.
If you would like to have dinner somewhere that is not crowded with tourists and has an amazing view, take a few minutes’ walk from the center and go to the restaurant Le Nid’cigogne. Just head towards the Saadian Catacombs and you’ll find her right at the end of them in the opposite building on the right. See map (luckily in this case the position fits).
I found it here completely by accident, the entrance from the street does not at all look like it could be used to enter some kind of restaurant. At the entrance they have a hustler trying to lure potential customers off the street. Personally, I usually try to ignore these naysayers. Most of the time, these guys actually put me off somehow and I try not to fall for their pranks at any cost 🙂 Well, sometimes it doesn’t work out for me. I succumbed. And in this case, I’m very happy.
Opposite you, a stork will probably be sitting on the roof (waiting for better weather in the Czech Republic to return to us 🙂 ), in good weather you will see the mountains in the background and on the other side the tower of the Saadian Catacombs. The kitchen is good, the service is great and the prices are reasonable.
Reconstruction of the iconic Laurent
Even before we found ourselves in Marrakesh, a photo of Saint Laurent with a minaret in the background caught my attention somewhere on social networks. She gave me the idea of reconstructing the iconic photo. Well… 10 differences would probably not be a problem for you to find, including the wrong minaret and the time of day, but as Andy always said, that is me: Those who seek perfection, rush to destruction.
And that’s the wisdom of the day 😀
Jemaa el-Fna Square
In the evening we headed to the legendary Jemaa el-Fna square in the center of the city. It’s where it lives. All kinds of street performers and vendors gather here. But you can also find cobras and monkeys here. It’s not that they are freely crawling and walking around here, they are a means of getting money from tourists. And if you’re in the same group as me and Indiana Jones who are afraid of snakes, beware! There is no worse experience than approaching the blanket and saying to yourself: “So what are they selling here.. YOU COBRA MAN!”
We didn’t want to spend too much time in Marrakesh and wanted to explore other corners of Morocco. That’s why tomorrow we will get on the motorbike and go to Aït Benhaddou. Places where films such as Gladiator, Laurence of Arabia or the series Game of Thrones were filmed.
Have you got the urge to go to Marrakesh?
I used to search for cheap flights mainly on Skyscanner, but over time I switched to Kiwi.com (originally a Czech project). I always find better flight deals here than anywhere else. Try it and see for yourself.
Cheap flights to Marrakech, Morocco: