City Visit: Marrakech, Morocco – Part II

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City Visit: Marrakech, Morocco – Part II

We had a leisurely wake up this morning and took in breakfast. Since this was an actual holiday, we ended up relaxing on the roof top of the riad for the start of the second day and enjoying all the heat that North Africa had to offer.

A walking tour of Marrakech, Morocco:

In the early afternoon, after the heat of the day had passed, we freshened up and headed back into the souq area for some shopping. Walking through the streets again in the daylight, I felt as though I was in an exotic far away land somewhere like Peshawar or Kandahar (laughing). Needless to say, it was a stark contrast from the Selfoss waterfalls of Iceland.

We eventually got towards the market area of the square, where MrsWT73 set out to do some serious souvenir shopping.

Setting up the Djenmna el Fnaa night market:

After a few hours of shopping, we ended up having a refreshing beverage at Le Grand Balcon du Glacier. By refreshing beverage, I mean a soft drink since there were no alcoholic drinks available. The café was featured in the fifth season of the Amazing Race as the final pit stop. The balcony has a terrific view over the square. We ended up here for about 90 minutes as MrsWT73 had a work issue she had to deal with immediately, which left her on the phone for quite some time. While she was doing that, I was able to watch the square get set up for the evening. The whole spectacle of set up has occurred nightly for hundreds of years.

One of the more entertaining parts of square watching were the snake charmers that were visible from the balcony. MrsWT73 was super happy that she didn’t have to interact on the same level as them, and could watch from a comfortable and safe distance. I sure appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to give them dirams every time I looked their way.

We ended up leaving the Le Grand Balcon du Glacier and we headed over to Le Jardin Secret. We passed by the Argana Café where the 2011 backpack bombing had occurred. There were metal detectors in the lobby and a small army of security guards outside.

Visiting Le Jardin Secret (The Secret Garden):

Le Jardin Secret or the Secret Garden was previously a residential home that was linked to royalty. The property changed hands over the year and eventually fell into dis-repair when new entrepreneurial money came in and restored it to a garden in 2008. It was among the “newer school” attractions in Marrakech. We ended up stopping by just based on the local area marketing and the fact that we had purchased all the souvenir tangines we would ever need.

There also happened to be some baby turtles on the property that made their homes in the fountains.

It was a nice and peaceful place from the chaos immediately outside the gates.

Happy Hour at Café Arabe:

Through some stroke of luck, we happened across Café Arabe immediately across the street from Le Jardin Secret. It happened to be the only place we’d found inside the walled city that actually served alcohol that was not on a resort or hotel. We wandered over from the Jardin for a pre-dinner cocktail of Moroccan wine for 40 Moroccan Dirhams ($4.20 USD) and some silly photographs.

The place filled up quite considerably during our stay there to the point where all tables were full. Apparently, this is the spot to be! We eventually wandered back to the riad for dinner.

Private Dining at the Anayela Riad:

The riad was able to put on a special private dinner for us. We booked the day of in advance and a freshly prepared meal for just us two. Dinner tonight was in the riad courtyard as it was a bit windy on the roof top deck.

We had a reasonably nice tasting Moroccan wine to enjoy along with dinner, along with an actual fresh green salad. A green salad after all the African dust and noise was to die for. I really enjoyed it.

The main was chicken tagine with local vegetables, chickpeas, carrots and local spices.

Along with a flan styled dessert. We were stuffed at the end of this one!! Super tasty.

In Summary:

What a great day touring around the Medina at Djenmna el Fnaa in Marrakech. While we took in more attractions today, we certainly felt like we visited the highlights. The private dining at the villa was also a pleasant way to get away from the usual tourist crowds and was a nice way to cap off our stay in Marrakech.

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