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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Marrakech: On the Search for 'The Bag' & Market Heroes

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

Due to the late night before, we actually slept in until 11-11:30. So the first order of business was ATM and food. We found the ATM and had no troubles getting cash out, which is always a good sign (especially after our bank locked us out when we went to Cuba a few years ago). We also needed to find food quickly since it had been so long since the kids had food last. We found a restaurant near one of the squares with a rooftop terrace and got a table at the top for a great view of the square below. (Rooftop terrace restaurants are very popular here and for good reason too!) However, when we arrived at the restaurant, our daughter was pretty disappointed that they didn’t have breakfast - she definitely enjoys her cereal for breakfast - although it’s always a chore for her to eat it! The kids played it safe with a cheese panini and fries and I tried some couscous with chicken, which was good. Alex said that he would actually eat couscous like this; so basically he’s saying that I can’t prepare couscous properly. ;-)

We had some lunch and then headed out to explore the streets and market. So far Marrakech is pretty unique - if anything it’s a mix between India and Turkey of places we have traveled to previously. However, it was interesting to see all the action happening. We saw a man delivering goat legs and heads on his bicycle at one point and the local butcher shop had live chickens in cages at the back - needless to say when we walked by at the end of the day, those chickens weren’t there anymore. There are donkeys pulling carts of goods, as well as an array of motorbikes. The motorbikes were the thing we had to be most careful of with the kids; as these motorbikes go down the narrow streets - but technically more like the width of a sidewalk - through the markets. We even saw a ‘factory street’ where they were dying the leather different colours, making leather shoes and bags. It was also amazing to see the shop owners of the wood-craft stores right in front making the wooden chess pieces for the sets they were selling.

The goods sold in the market are varied, like most markets, but it seems like some popular items are straw bags, leather bags, wooden spoons/items, lots of leather shoes/sandals/slippers and then spices/essences.

Looking for the 'Right' Purse

Right at the beginning, Clara was adamant that she wanted to get a purse. So as we explored the markets, we spent most of the day searching for her purse. However, we were impressed that she just didn’t choose the first bag that she saw. We looked at many different places, but she was the one to say “Let’s look at the next shop.” So at the end of the day we haven’t found ‘the one’ but the mission definitely carried over to the following day!

Market Heroes

Prior to coming to Morocco, we heard that the people are very friendly with children and our first day here has proven that point. The people were super friendly with our kids - we didn’t get hassled even once....maybe because we have the kids? But they would often get smiles from the shop owners as we walked by. At the restaurant we ate dinner at this evening, they even gave them a cookie as we left, and they were very concerned and cautious about the kids and the motorbikes driving by. At one point this afternoon, there was even a man that pushed the stroller back up a hill with Connor in it. Then unfortunately, soon after that Connor was playing around with the wheels in the front of the stroller (so leaning forward) and right as I was telling him not to, we hit a bump in the pavement and he fell forward and hit his forehead on the ground. Before I could even reach him, one of the shop owners got to him and picked him up and took him to his shop. While I comforted him, he ran to get a cold water and napkin to put on his forehead and tried to get him to put it on there, which Connor had no interest in doing. However, I was amazed at how concerned and proactive they all were in making sure he was okay.

Bahia Palace

Other than exploring the markets we only explored one ‘tourist destination’ today - the Bahia Palace. However, the timing was ideal, as it was getting hot on the streets. One website said it had gotten to 36 C for a high today, and for us Canadians - who for those back home are currently getting snow - that was an extreme swing in temperatures. However, the palace was cool with the concrete walls and the tiles on the ceiling and walls, as well as the painted cedar wood were very ornate and amazing. It is a 19th Century Palace and displays the Moroccan architecture. It did remind us a lot of the palaces we had seen in Seville, which would make sense because it is a similar geographical location. The cost for the four of us for admission was 200 dirham or about 20 USD, which isn’t bad considering we did have to pay for all four of us. However, this was different than our trip to Turkey last year where children got free admission to everything. Clara enjoyed going around with her camera and taking pictures of things though!

Riad de Azul - Traditional Moroccan Home

Our stay at Riad de Azul has been great. We talked with the owner this morning and he was telling us that most people in Marrakech either speak Berber or Arabic, but then quite a few will also know French. He in fact knows how to speak all 3 of those languages, plus Spanish, English and some Japanese. People who know that many languages truly amaze me! Riads are a popular place to stay while in Morocco, they are a traditional Moroccan house. They are basically a house with a garden or courtyard in the middle, Then there are rooms/quarters that are on the sides of it. Our room off the Ryad has 1 double bed and 2 singles in it, and then we have our own bathroom. It worked well with the kids as well, as we can leave the room after they go to bed and sit in the common area. However, on the flip side the walls are thin and when the kids get to be a bit noisy, it's hard to keep the sound from travelling.

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