Zellige of wall information, Musée Dar Si Saïd, Marrakech
Saturday 22 February 2014: Marrakech (مراكش)
Despite the relatively late night on Friday, I was awake early which allowed for a very leisurely breakfast with several forays over to the various sections of the Hotel Les Trois Palmiers’s breakfast buffet offering.
As arranged, a little after 10am Mohammed took Liz and I to a local hammam (although strictly speaking I think I’d call the Centre de Beauté Saint Tropez a Beauty Parlour) where we indulged in an hour or so's worth of Hammam - Gommage - Massage, emerging clean, relaxed and a few layers of skin lighter - well worth the 280DH.
At 1.30pm, most of us headed off on the optional afternoon guided tour of the old city, starting with a taxi ride (Tara, Rob and I in one, everyone else - including well-padded Marrakeshi guide Mohammed - sardine-like in another!) to the Palais Bahia. I could have spent a lot longer wandering around the beautifully restored rooms and the quiet courtyard garden.
We followed Mohammed from the street and into the alleyways of the souk to the Musée Dar Si Saïd, which doubles up as the Museum of Moroccan Arts - more beautifully restored rooms housing some lovely arts and crafts (quelle surprise, I liked the embroidery, and the English description of the “Zellige of Wall”, in particular what it takes to get the yellow enamel).
The tour of the souk featured a visit to a cooperative shop, just round the corner from a bakery where traditional loaves were being kneaded and baked in cavernous ovens - at 1DH a piece, hot off the paddles, the loaves were a big hit after the shopping extravaganza.
The food theme continued as Mohammed led us through the carpet souk to the open air slave souk, picking up Marrakeshi macaroons and freshly made savoury pancakes en route, before finishing up amidst the freshly squeezed fruit juice and fruit & nut stalls of the Djemaa el-Fna (ساحة جامع الفناء). Mohammed bade us farewell as the sun slowly sank behind the minaret of the Kouboubia Mosque (جامع الكتبية) .... where, prompted by a couple of local time lapse photographers, pillar jumping ensued.
After photos in the mosque gardens, we made our way to the Hotel Islane’s rooftop terrace restaurant for our final group meal. A smashing starlit location with a beautiful view out over the mosque and the sunset skyline back towards the High Atlas mountains.
Armed up with ice cream / sorbet cones we walked back up Avenue Mohammed V to Guéliz and bed.
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