After leaving the Atlas mountains I head to Marrakech, I had mixed thoughts because everyone I have spoken to gave it mixed reviews, but I figured to just go see for myself….
I actually did some real prep work for where to stay, and ended up at Le Relais de Marrakech, its a mix between a camping and yurts, with amazing gardens, pool, hammocks, futons, very chilled.
My strategy was to take it easy here for a few days, whilst cycling the 12km into the centre of Marrakech for the madness.
I figure out the way into the city from the site and cycle in. I have a definite anxiety about the roads here, and thats just in the day……at night, they are just intense…..I was right to be anxious….
I have a plan to not get hassled so decide to ride my bike, local style, through the souks and medina’s, it seems to work well 🙂
I was actually a little jaded with the main squares by day, I see the snake charmers, monkeys on chains, and dancing men, all doing their thing, but it feels and looks (and is) very tourist driven.
However, as the sun sets it’s a different story and whilst it is still touristic, the Jeema el fan square seems to come alive with people, music, food, and atmosphere. I find the area around the La Koutoubia minaret and mosque also has a really good vibe with people just chilling and taking it easy.
So after a few days of the contrast of relaxation Vs madness I am ready to move on again, it’s been fun and I am very glad I visited. I would recommend it as an experience, but at the same time I am not sure it’s the real face of Morocco and there is more on offer elsewhere. Just depends what you are after.
To wrap it up the roads at night are worth a mention….
In short, they are crazy, like really crazy. I rode in and out of the city twice and I’m not sure I would do it again. The traffic is intense and if there is right of way I didn’t see it. It’s doable, and cool to just ride around the medina and city covering ground fast, but I found myself having to be so focussed to avoid the traffic!
However, at least I had lights on my bike, the number of cycles, scooters, motorbikes that didn’t was countless…….