a few days in gibraltar - but africa is too close and so we can't resist the calls to come over.
we board a ferry from algeciras to tanger, board a train and go south.
on the way - a different world - sometimes beautiful, sometimes sad...all this rubbish! -what did we ever think when we started wrapping our food in plastic? tonnes of plastic bags caught in kakteen, in trees (a lot of eucalypts again), just flying through the air like autumn leaves...pretty and yet so horrible.
after 10h of numbing our butts we get off in marrakech! the owner of the riad where we will stay organised a taxi to pick us up.
a near death experience is what you have to call a taxi-ride through this mess of traffic! ;)
we get off the taxi to be taken by another guy to our riad which is right in the medina. we walk past little shops, people screaming selling fruit and handbags...faces smiling at us (probably welcoming their new pray...i get to that later!) and smells of food and urine...crazy - another magic planet!
the riad was just phantastic and i can only recommend it to everyone going to marrakech! it was simply a calm oasis in all the bubbling and brothing turmoil of marrakech.
the city, especially the medina forces you to a balancing act between positive and negative. one one side there would be a wonderful spice shop, or coran school right next to a spot that has been used as dump/public toilet, followed by a butcher that has the alive chicken in the back and when you choose yours, makes it "table ready" right in front of you. the smells are sometimes overpowering, the poverty of the people is always heartbreaking and the way some of the donkeys (who are still a very common means of transport) are treated is excruciating.
seeing the monkeys on the main square is a reminder that animal welfare is a luxury good.
people are generally friendly - but never make the mistake of pulling a map out in the middle of the street. our experience in short:
us: "where the heck are we? - let's have a look on the map!"
some guy: "you need direction? go to tannery! fest of the colors, my brother work there! you go tannery!!!!"
us: "oh well, why not!"
2minutes later the same guy next to us walking: " i show you way to tannery! - my brother work there - I don´t want money - you don´t pay me for showing the way!" (it is common practice to get money out of tourists when showing them their way - no matter if they want to be shown or not)
we arrive at the tannery - where leather is made under what have to be the worst circumstances (and there goes my handbag....what a shame - but after seeing people up to their waste in poison handling rotting skin...)
after the tannery (of course) we are taken to the shop to be shown carpets and leather products. we resist - talk our way out of the showroom. outside however - the first guy and his brother aka tour guide around the tannery wait for us and ask for 200dirham (20€). being told it was all for free, we did not let them intimidate us and gave them the amount we were told was reasonable: 15dirham and took off.
nevertheless, walking through the medina feels quite like being taken back a few centuries into tales of the book of thousand and one night.
the desires of orient are more than fulfilled and all these colors and smells and noises feel like a wild dream.
marrakech is a demanding and beautiful place...and a night train ride later, he dream of orient is over - we're back in La Linea and trapped between weather systems and lows blocking our way to the canaries.
|where all the mercs go...|
|one of so many donkeys...poor beast of burden|
|Ben Youssef Madrasa/ old islamic university|
|Ben Youssef Madrasa|
|the long jeans shall not mislead...it was damn hot!|
|nicest colours and patterns|
|tiny study and dorm room at the university|
|the storch of thousand and one night|
|going home for lunch - with a live chook|
|one of the butchers with the alive animals in the back - and alive flies in the front|
|wool died in the streets|
|tannery - the smell is unbearable|
|another tannery, same smell|
|entry to one of the souks|
|jardin majorelle - yves saint laurent museum|
|Dar Si Said|