in between – marrakech

…. back on my first full day in Marrakech and on my 8-hour private guided tour. After Bahia Palace was I taken to a carpet cooperative, in hope of course that I would buy a carpet with me home. I told Abd El, my guide that I wasn’t going to buy a carpet if they don’t have any flying (magic) carpets.

Walk through the souks .. we arrive at a carpet palace, I would call it … never seen so many carpets in my life and one more beautiful than the other. A very nice man (the boss man, I think) took care of me – gave my a mineral water and start to show me carpets and it didn’t matter that I told them that I’m not a need of a carpet.

He explained to me that all the carpets were made by women sitting at home or out in the desert waving the carpets, the patterns shows what “tribe” they belong too.

After a big carpet catwalk .. I really fell in love with a beautiful carpet made from cactus silk. Not really a carpet in my book, more like a bedspread .. och quilt. Far too soft to be laying still on a wooden flooring. The carpet I could wash in the machine on 40C. 

To sent to me in Sweden the total cost would have been, 32.000SEK/33480€/2915£/3555$. Told him that I can afford to spend so much money on a carpet when I don’t need one. I said for that price is has to be able to fly.

Then he told me to write down on a paper how much I would pay for the carpet – I said that it would be an insult both to the carpet and it’s maker. I wrote down 2.500SEK. He agreed with me … and we were wheeling and dealing. Before I left he was willing to give it to me for 3.500SEK/37€/£32/39$ – then I asked him if that must be without the Turbo-charge, but he didn’t understand that joke.

I ask if could take a photo of him, but he told me that if I want a photo of him that will mean that we have a deal regarding the carpet. So I thank him and his staff for a very a joyful hour .. and left without a carpet.

So my guide didn’t get any commission. Sorry!

After the carpet business was it time for lunch … and I was taken through the souks again and in all small narrow streets – to a beautiful riad (guesthouse), Riad Haraka– where they were expecting me for lunch. Abd El was not allowed to eat with me .. he went somewhere else.  Got a lovely tomato salad as a starter followed by a fantastic chicken tagine, great freshly baked bread .. and for dessert, I got fresh fruit salad. Lunch was included in the tour price.

I met a fantastic family .. that was staying at the riad … the father he was so funny and charming and .. his wife and their 2 children so lovely. They were waiting for more relatives to turn up during the day and they the was going to spend Christmas together out in the desert. What a man … would love one of the same brand.

The owner of the riad was a young Swizz lady .. that of course had fallen in love with a Moroccan man and left well organised and super clean Switzerland for Marrakech. She told me that it was a massive culture shock, even if she had been visiting a couple of time before she moved – but she loves it and now they own a riad and have 2 small children. Such pleasant young lady.

On the way to and from my lunch, I took I let Oscar enjoy himself. To take photos of women isn’t really allowed and they get very upset – because their face belongs to them .. and nobody else. I only took one photo of a bread selling lady, but then I didn’t know … and she didn’t notice me.

The souks I didn’t really visit at all on my own … was so afraid to get lost and anyhow I wasn’t going to buy anything with me home. Now I regret that I didn’t buy a tagine .. but that I could buy anywhere. Next time. Abd El told me that there works 100.000 people in the Marrakech souks .. sounds a lot to me .. it live 900.000 total in Marraech, but … there is loads of shop and people trying to sell you something, you don’t need … but just have to have. 

Abd El also took me to the most beautiful spice and herb place -a  fantastic shop, Herboristerie du Paradis, located by the Marrakech museum and Medersa Ben Youssef. There I got a bit lost in all the colours and fragrances from all the dried flowers, herbs, colourings, oils and creams. Spend 60€, full price .. not good on haggling.

After lunch was it time to visit Jardin Majorelle, YSL’s  beautiful Marrakesh home and garden… which I already have done a post about: the most beautiful shade of blue – jardin majorelleSo beautiful that I returned a couple of days later and gave me myself a couple of hours there.

“It’s easier to put on slippers
than to carpet the whole world.”
Al Franken

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35 thoughts on “in between – marrakech

  1. Most excellent, I love so many of these photos so much! And I know I much prefer watching the images to having to experience it myself. I hate pushy sellers. Funny about the magic carpet. 😀 Imagine if they would offer you one! 😮

    • Manja, so glad you like it … !!! There were colors everywhere … fantastic. Yes, pushy sellers … turn me off – so if I had been thinking of buying .. they spoil their chance. Yes, a flying carpet would be fantastic. *laughing

  2. Oh, the colours Viveka! Oscar must have been overworked with joy. And your humour. For me you are the perfect traveller, ready to adventure and immerse. Was your private tour guide expensive?

    • Yes, the colors are so fantastic …. Meg, thank you so much for the lovely comment. I booked through Viatour.com and it cost me around 60€ – that include private guide, lunch and all transport (my guide used taxis)

    • Sylvia, it was just like I expected … colors, smells … and taste … and a bit crazy. I don’t think he knew that what a turbo engine is??? I will go back one day. Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

    • I wouldn’t call it a souk – it was more like a proper carpet shop and I don’t think they clam to be a souk neither. Marrakesh is what it’s what it’s … what we as a visitors see and want to see .. it’s the same with all destinations or ???

      • Ah, okay. Well, as long as visitors know about it’s ok, but they shouldn’t mix up these impressions with real souk life in towns that are not invaded and restructured by tourism. For authentic souks you have to go to Taza in the North.

      • Thank you for the tip about Taza … but I’m not really into the souks!!!! I’m sure the most visitors know that the souks are all for them, more or less the same things for sale in every second store. Same with markets everywhere. As a tourist, I don’t take things very seriously. I see things my way .. if that is right or wrong, I don’t really care. I there for enjoying myself.

      • That’s your right as a visitor of course. I’m just always a bit concerned about an orientalistic view on markets and about those who loose their authenticity 😉

      • It’s all about selling in the end … and they have to adapt I suppose to the demand. Like in all other stores … that is the sad side of tourism.

  3. I remember carpet salesmen with great affection from my Turkish holiday, many long years ago, Vivi. 🙂 We bought a tiny silk one which sits in a frame on our wall. A reminder of an amazing honeymoon. 🙂 🙂 How very non European that the guide could not eat with you! I can imagine you lingering with those spices. 🙂

    • I don’t know why he wasn’t allowed to be my guest for lunch, I said that I would pay for him, when I heard he was going somewhere else – but he turned. Maybe it was his choice and also I think it was praying time. He pray 5 times per day.
      I really liked that carpet – the big one that is laying alone on the floor, but I had to be sensible. The silk was so wonderful – made out of cactus and I could machine wash it. The spices, oils and herbs was more my thing. *smile

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