Monday, 14 January 2013

Bahia Palace

I wouldn't say that I was sad to be leaving Marrakech, but it did have its charms. While I got really tired of fending off the entire population of children and men offering to be a guide, show us around, and sell us all the things (hint- if you are really lost, just ask a woman or a shopkeep, and they were generally helpful and didn't try to make you sign on the dotted line to secure holdings in the Brooklyn Bridge in exchange) but once you paid the pittance of admission into a site, you were left to wander on your own in peace with other tourist.

The Bahia Palace was gorgeous, and had surprisingly large stretches of gardens.

The oranges in the garden were ripe. Being a lifelong temperate climate dweller, I had a hard time coming to terms with this. You mean, I can just pluck an orange off the tree, and I can eat it? Really?


Really. Fruit trees are magic.


Pomegranate trees and Jasmine and gorgeous blooms all around.

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Stray cats as well. Everywhere. And packs of stray dogs. There does't seem to be well-managed trash removal anywhere in the medina. Not a public rubbish bin to be found, and people just throw garbage on the ground or tie up their household garbage and throw it onto the street. The feral cats and dogs become the garbage management.


A lot of old palaces and private mansions have been turned into a sort of B&B in modern times, called a Riad. I'll have more about that lately as I ended up staying in several. Some of them were amazing- probably the most luxe accommodations I've ever had (and I've stayed at the Waldorf=Astoria).

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I was really in love with all the wood, ceramic and stone work. The carved doors and ceilings made out of cedarwood was beyond amazing. In some rooms if the work is fairly new, you can smell the delicious piney odor.

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Aside from fresh Orange Juice, mint tea is the drink of choice here- they even call it "Moroccan Whisky" despite not having ever been distilled. It's lovely, and the locals drink it way too sweet for my palate. Syrupy sweet. As long as I was admiate about it being made sans sucre, I was happy to keep drinking.


At the end of the day, a climb up to the rooftop tourist cafes that surround Djemaa el Fna Square to see the action from afar and watch the sun set while drinking as much lovely mint tea as I possibly can.

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