You know the saying ‘Not all those who wander are lost’. Well… In Marrakech, I definitely was wandering and I was definitely lost. From time to time, I’d bring out the map which would only bring me unwanted attention and sometimes I’d ask, where I was either pointed in the direction I should be heading (where I’d get lost again) or I’d be flat out lied to. Despite the pouring rain and the journeys that should have taken ten minutes ending up taking an hour – it was still a wonderful day wandering in Marrakech.
Overall, I only had 72 hours in Marrakech. I had one day to get around all the ‘tourist’ sites and I had a plan. A plan with times and directions. Well that went to absolute shit as the moment we stepped off the bus, I was lost and despite been told to be wary of taxi drivers – we didn’t have much option.
He drove us to Jardin Majorella first – which was as beautiful as they say. Tripadvisor told me that the average person spent roughly 30 minutes there but I could have easily spent more. I wasn’t surprised that people turned in to models on arrival there as the garden’s beauty just made you feel special. Although it was a little funny to watch.
The botanical garden and architecture was originally designed by Jacques Majorelle in the 1920/30s. The garden rose to fame after Jacques bringing plants from all over the world on his travels. He eventually allowed the public to visit (with an attendance fee) to help financial situations in 1947. After a divorce that separated the garden and numerous accidents that led to Jacques Majorella’s death – the garden disintegrated in a deep despair.
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge discovered the garden in 1980 saving it from being demolished in to a hotel. They brought the garden back alive with over 20 gardeners and rest is history. Yves Saint Laurent was said to get ‘unlimited amount of inspiration’ from the garden and I can certainly see how. On his death, garden was dedicated to him with a memorial standing proud.
Our taxi driver then took us to ‘a spice market’ which was part of his deal to take us to a few places. Well we got conned, didn’t we?! Despite being 2 very wised up gals. The market was a shop and we were more or less cornered to buy things, every sense of mine was abused in that shop from getting things shoved up my nose, pinched in the shoulders to ‘show how stressed I was’, poked in the eyes, numerous oils rubbed on my skin – all without any permission, so I would suggest that you stay strong with the taxi driver and say ‘no to the market’.
We then went to Bahia Palace, The palace was built-in two different stages by two men – father and son – The palace is fairly large, spread out over one floor, with large rooms and garden spaces. It is super cheap to visit (under a pound) and in my opinion is worth it to sit and relax after the senses attack in the spice shop. My only advice – don’t wear a patterned jumpsuit. Too many patterns for one’s eye.
Now this is where we got very lost – we wandered around the city, in search of the Saadian Tombs. We were pointed in the direction many times but just couldn’t seem to find our way. We were even told by a guide that the tomb was shut and we should go to the market instead. When we said he had been, he reluctantly pointed the direction (again) where we eventually found the tombs. open.
The earliest burial in the Saadian Tomb is known to be 1557. The main buildings then constructed in 1578-1603 by Sultan Ahmed el Mansour.
When Mouslay Ismail took over – he destroyed the palace and sealed up the majority of the entrances to the tombs. His preceddors out of sight and out of mind. Over 160 Tombs hidden right before people’s very eyes.
However, somehow people have been buried here even after it was sealed including the ‘mad sultan’ – Moulay Yazid who was shot in the head after ruling for a brutal 22 months.
The tombs which had been forgotten for centuries, were rediscovered in 1917. They were then restored where it has since been a tourist attraction.
So although we were lost, I probably saw more than I would have ever noticed if I followed my strict plan. I met some lovely people(in between the others), saw the locals just doing their thing, ate some interesting food and saw the tough life of a Moroccan street animal. All these things I would have never seen if I hadn’t been so wanderfully lost.