Marrakech: sunny jewel in a dark April

Maroc Marrakech Jemaa-el-Fna Luc Viatour
Maroc Marrakech Jemaa-el-Fna Luc Viatour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I went to Marrakech for a long weekend last Friday. First off, I have to recommend cheap breaks website Ice Lolly. My friend Liz had used them before and she found a brilliant deal – just £350 for four nights and flights.


It was the perfect getaway. Liz has lovely children and they are now old enough for her to have a girls’ weekend away without feeling guilty or starting to miss them.


We both needed a break from the miserable weather and we couldn’t have timed it better.  Marrakech had storms and rain on Friday but we didn’t arrive until about 8pm, once they were over. We woke to brilliant blue skies on Saturday and they stayed that way all weekend.


You can’t expect too much from a £350 break – our Riad is billed as four star but was a bit dusty and worn around the edges. For us (keen backpackers, not bothered about luxury touches) it was absolutely spot on.


I don’t have pictures of Riad Amsaffah yet, as I have temporarily lost my photos, but I should be sorting out the photo issue tomorrow and will gleefully post as many as I can. And by the way, the ‘delete after download’ option will now always be unticked by me; I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way. My download failed but the delete went ahead despite this. I understand from the ever helpful internet that they will still be on the memory card (as long as I don’t use it). Unfortunately the free software I downloaded didn’t recognise my camera as a drive, so I’m waiting for a card reader to arrive tomorrow before I can sort it out. I mention all of this, as I hope that other bloggers can learn from my mistake!


So until I have sorted out my own photos, I’ll resist writing of my sun- and souk-filled days in Marrakech.


In the meantime, here are my top tips:


1. Take a canny bottle of your favourite spirit from duty free if you’re partial to a sunset drink. Mint tea is glorious but there is something so lovely about a ‘proper’ drink at that time of day and the rooftop locations around the Jemaa El Fna don’t serve alcohol.


2. The gates to the souk all close by 10pm at the latest, so if your Riad requires you to walk through them from the square, make sure you leave yourself enough time! We did but it was very close on the last evening. Taxis are surprisingly expensive and the drivers aren’t keen to haggle.


3. Budget to buy a rug. Sitting down to drink tea and be presented with a fulsome range of kilims is a great experience.


4. Visit the Majorelle Gardens, as they are stunning. But go early. By 10 a.m. they get busy and it’s a small place.


5. Get lost. Allow a whole afternoon simply to wander the souks without worrying where you are. It is like stepping back into the middle ages and is the most absorbing sight-seeing possible.


By Carole Scott


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