Walking past a pastry shop it was easy to mistake the flying objects covering the sweet pastries as flies. On closer inspection they were honey bees. of course why not ! The honey makes the pastries taste delicious and without the bees there would be no honey !
DJEMA EL FNAA AT NIGHT
DJEMA EL FNAA AT NIGHT
This famous square gets at its best at night, after the sunset. It's not so hot then, so most of the performers come at this hours. The many food stalls in the center of the square are a wonderful animated place for dinner or, if you don't dare, just to walk around and have a look at the many different foods served there. Smoke and lights all around.
Walk around the square, look at the performers, bargain with the berbers that come to seel their goods at night. Relax and have a Mint Tea at one of the terraces, enjoy the show!!
Moroccan tajines in a no-frills restaurant
Restaurant 33 Marrakech is a small, no frills Moroccan restaurant located at the northern end of Ave Mohamed V, about 30 minutes walk from the Djemaa El Fna square.
I ate here one lunchtime during a visit to the city in February 2007.
The restaurant offers a handful of outdoor tables in a small courtyard (sheltered from the main road by plenty of plant life) and more tables in the air conditioned interior.
The menu is in French only, and my waiter spoke reasonable English (but not enough to translate many of the dishes).
A large part of the menu is devoted to a special 3 course set menu (available for just 80 Dhs). You can choose from:
Starters: two different types of salad, soup harira, omelette with herbs;
Mains: grilled chicken, beef, merguez, Moroccan tajine with chicken and lemon;
Desserts: Moroccan pastries, yoghurt, fruit salad, sliced oranges.
As well as the set menu, the rest of the menu includes a wider variety of beef and chicken dishes (many of which I couldn't translate), beef steaks, fish and a number of Moroccan tajines (stews with meat and vegetables).
The restaurant serves alcohol and offers a decent selection of spirits and wines. Bottled beers include local Flag Speciale and Stork and imported Heineken. Non alcoholic drinks include the usual selection of fresh fruit juices, sodas and hot beverages.
Throughout the course of my meal, I was constantly hassled by an elderly guy trying to sell leather belts on the street outside. I kept politely declining his attempted sales, but he kept returning with a lower price. His persistence became annoying after a while, so I eventually relented and gave him a few dirhams to "feed his 5 bambinos". This sort of hassle was common during my stay in Marrakech and by no means unique to my visit to Restaurant 33. I opted for the 3 course set menu (80 Dhs):
A thick orange coloured soup with chickpeas, lentils, small pieces of pasta and a variety of herbs. Served with a generous portion of sliced brown bread and a bowl of olives.
Main:Moroccan tajine with chicken and lemon ("Tajine de Poulet")
A traditional Moroccan stew served in a sizzling hot clay tajine pot. Two tender pieces of chicken (with meat that fell off the bone) in a greasy, tangy lemon juice, predominantly containing onions, sultanas and a variety of herbs.
Sliced oranges covered in ground cinnamon and icing sugar.
Bottle of Flag Speciale beer - Cost: 20 Dhs for a 240ml bottle
The service was efficient, the staff were friendly and the food was good value for money.
Note: I ate here part way through my week in Marrakech. At the end of the week, I noticed that the furniture had been taken inside and the sign outside had been taken down. This may be a temporary closure for refurbishment, or it may be that the restaurant has now closed for good.
Good value Moroccan fare in a no frills restaurant....if it is still in operation!
Much history but few flowers
The Menara gardens are very well known - they are WAY old - the water basin is from the 12th century!!!
When we visited in January, the gardens were not very exciting: a long alley with palm trees and olive trees and then the bassin and the setup for the "sound and light show"..... hmmmmmm, not too exciting!
Well, but it might be different at other times of the year, so this is just my very personal impression from a January visit!
Frenetic Medina in the Desert: Marrakesh
"A city full of energy - both good, bad and unknown"
Upon arrival in the old medina where our riad (guesthouse) was, my friend said to me: "This place is crazy. Its energy is unlike anything I've ever felt before. We have to be careful. We have to be humble. It's nothing like I thought it would be." Great! And it was her bright idea to go. Of course, I just had been on three planes spanning nearly 24 hours so I was too tired to think about what she said. I just wanted to clean up and get out there. Little did I know that she'd prove to be very, very right. It proved to be both good (unique) and bad (ready to leave by the time we did 'cause the negative energy was draining) and unknown (mystical, magical, whatever you want to call it - the energy felt in this city was unreal and indescribable, really).
"Riad Madrigal: Our Safehaven"
If we didn't have the best riad, I don't know what we would've done. Walking around the dirty, crowded streets and fighting off beggars and rip-off artists - not to mention the aggressive shopkeepers & scooters/cars nearly running you over - was taxing. We returned to our riad to relax and get away from it all. We had two large suites and an entire rooftop terrace all to ourselves. There was also a plunge pool and TV lounge downstairs that we never used, but could have since there were no other guests at the time. The cabana on the roof was absolutely the best. It gave my friend and I a chance to talk and philosophize and laugh. Oh... and have mint tea (one of my favorite memories).