By the time we arrived at our riad in Marrakech, we had been in and out of the Sahara Desert, through the High and Middle Atlas Mountains, across Dades Gorge (where a spectacular section of the most recent Mission Impossible was just filmed). In short, we were beat. Knowing that by the time we came into Marrakech we would be tired, I specifically chose a riad with Western luxury and timeless Moroccan character.
The Riad Idra was a dream come true. I had read that it was an oasis in a chaotic city and that description proved accurate. We adored this beautiful place. Also, any bathroom with Chanel No.5 toiletries has my vote.
This is Sfinge. Basically, a Moroccan donut. I had heard of these before coming to Marrakech and was excited to finally try them. They lived up to the hype. Also, this was 50 cents. Between the fresh squeezed orange juice everywhere (seriously, easier to find than bottled water and cheaper) and sfinge I was a very happy girl.
On our first night in Marrakech we spent time in Jemaa el Fnaa. This place is crazy town and not in a charming way. Think Times Square mixed with danger mixed with thousands of tourists and animals in cages. This was not the version of Marrakech we were looking for. Our dinner was bad, we kept getting literally pulled by men trying to get us into their food stalls, handlers were trying to push snakes on us, we were horrified by how poorly animals were being treated, negotiating with vendors was an exercise in futility and the crush of people made our entire el Fnaa experience quite negative. There is so much more to Marrakech than this tourist trap! This is not Marrakech at its best! We drank a lot of orange juice, made our way back to our riad and resolved to find the beauty in Marrakech the next day.
We spent the next several days weaving in and out of the medinas of Marrakech, visiting mosques, shopping and eating delicious tagine. We also treated ourselves to a luxurious traditional Hammam which was out of this world. I found that English was more widely spoken here than other Moroccan cities we had visited and so I only had to speak French half of the time. The colors and sounds and smells and age of Marrakech never got boring. As someone who feels happiest surrounded by pattern and color, I soaked it all up. The shopping was extraordinary. If I had known better, I would have saved another chunk of change just to spend in Marrakech.
Sam and I had lunch looking out over the rugs pictured above and I had a full on “OH MY GOSH I NEED ALL OF THOSE RUGS” moment. I wanted all of them. Especially that amazing tie dyed looking one bottom right. I still think about that rug. I really need to go back to Marrakech and purchase one or twenty rugs.
We took about an hour and visited Majorelle Garden, the Yves St. Laurent owned attraction. That blue was the most saturated blue I have ever laid eyes on. After the craziness of the Marrakech souks, Majorelle Garden was a welcome, cool respite.
My favorite thing about Marrakech was this guy right here ^^^. Exploring new places is our favorite thing to do together and this trip to Morocco was our most adventurous yet. It was like a twelve day date! I really lucked out on marrying my best friend. He knew how important this trip was to me and did everything possible to make it perfect. Finishing our Moroccan adventure in Marrakech was fantastic. If you ever have a chance to come to Morocco (and I pray that you do!) stay at Riad Idra – it is truly a luxurious oasis and worth every single penny.
Stay tuned for my shopping post 🙂