Marrakech

After an amazing month in Tokyo it was time to go to Marrakech which is nearly 12.000 km away, on the other side of the planet. Like so often I did not take the direct route to save some money. My first stop was in Abu Dhabi where I met some cool Australians I spent my time with during the turnover. We took the next flight to Istanbul together where I also spent a couple of hours at the airport.

I kind of like airports since they are hubs for people on the entire planet. They are places where you meet people you would otherwise never see in your daily lifes and thats a pretty cool thing when you think about it :)

I took off from Istanbul to Casablanca, Morocco where I stayed for another 3-4 hours. The gate in Casablanca where I waited for my flight to Marrakech was very different from any other rooms I saw on my trip. It is a small room without windows on ground level that has an integrated mosque and a ca 15 meter high ceiling where a giant obelisk pointed down to the ground. I really liked the unique setting although I was obviously tired after more than 30 hours since I started in Tokyo. My one hour flight to Marakech was beautiful, since we barely left the ground and you could see the clear sky and the ground all the time.

After almost 35 hours I finally landed in Marrakech on Monday, May 23rd, 10 pm local time and made a promise to myself to take direct flights from now on…

At the airport I changed some money and took the next best taxi to the hostel after the driver assured me to know the hostel. After we arrived at a street that was supposed to be close to the hostel the driver gave me some unclear directions saying go straight then right. I did not want to end up searching the hostel myself without GPS or a map, carrying all my belongings with me at 11pm on a monday in a foreign city. I asked the driver to come with me and it turned out that he didnt really know where the hostel was. After a 30 minute walk through the streets of Marrakechs old town I finally found Marrakech Rouge Hostel and fell asleep almost immediately.

The next day I woke up early. I dont know how I did it but I felt perfectly fine and started to explore the hostel. It was the most beautiful hostel I have been at so far. A 3 story building with high ceilings, colorful walls and decorations, and two amazing rooftops with couches and tents where people could sleep in. If you plan a trip to Marrakech you should definitely check it out.

Marrakech is divided into two distinct parts: The historical city called the Medina, and the new modern district called Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle. The Medina is full of intertwining narrow passageways and local shops full of character where you can smell fresh spices and observe the vibrant day to day life. In contrast, Gueliz plays host to modern restaurants, fast food chains and big brand stores.

Jamaa el Fna also known as the main square is a square and market place in Marrakesh's medina quarter. During the day it is mainly occupied by orange juice stalls, water sellers with traditional leather water-bags and brass cups, and snake charmers.

As the day progresses, the snake charmers depart, and late in the day the square becomes more crowded, with story-tellers, magicians, and peddlers of traditional medicines. As darkness falls, the square fills with dozens of food-stalls as the number of people on the square peaks.

The square was only 5 minutes walking distance away from the hostel so I spend a lot of my time there and had many fresh orange juices throughout the day, which only cost 40 cents a cup. The food in Morocco was great in general you could taste the freshness of the vegetables and fruits because they grow in the area. The most iconic dish and probably one of my favorites is the tajine.

A tajine is a North African dish that is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. The traditional method of cooking with a tajine is to place the tajine over coals and slow-cook it like a stew. Moroccan Tajines are typically made with poultry, sliced meat or fish together with vegetables or fruit and they are delicious.

I could have easily spent my entire two weeks in Marrakech but one of my main goals was to spend a night in the desert. So I booked a desert trip that I took together with over 20 brazilians, my australian roommate and an american guy from the hostel. I really like brazilian culture and people and I made friends with them wherever I was. So I was happy to travel together with them. We took the trip in a bus and it took us two days with several stopovers to reach the desert. After a shaky one hour camel ride we were finally there at dawn in the desert. There were no clouds and all you could see were the tents, camels and desert dunes. When the night came I walked away from the group and chilled alone on a dune. It was one of the most memorizing experiences I had during my trip. The silence and emptiness of the desert with far sounds of traditional chanting and a distance glimpse of a bonfire were magical.

I spent a couple more days in Marrakech when I returned and met great people at the hostel who made these days worthwhile.

Before I knew it 4 months of travelling had passed and I was on my way back to Hamburg. One thing I learned on my trip though is that I never know when the next trip starts and that I can make myself at home pretty much everywhere I am. Stay tuned for more adventures soon :)

Pictures

Hanging out in the desert

Gardens in Marrakech

Rooftop bar


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