Today we left Marrakech by train and headed up to the capital of Morocco, Rabat. After checking into Riad Meftaha, we had an early dinner at Dar Naji.
It’s Ramadan, so only a few places were open before sundown, but Dar Naji was ready for us non-Muslim tourists with a special fixed menu of salad, bread, tagine (beef or chicken) fresh fruit, and of course mint tea. All delicious!
After the sun went down, the restaurant filled with locals ending their daily fasts, and it was like a party atmosphere!
The kids wanted to just relax the rest of the night back at the Riad (and enjoy the Wi-Fi) but Mariko and I strolled around the empty Medina. It was eerily quiet, but really cool. I took plenty of photos! 😀
We finished our evening with a coffee and cake at the cafe before heading back to the Riad.
Hello! Today started with a 4:50 AM wake up bang on the side of our tent. The sun comes up early here in Morocco and the Berber camp hosts wanted us to see the desert sunrise.
I knew the short climb in the sand was deceptively strenuous so I warned Mariko and she decided to pass on the workout. Of course Koa wanted to just sleep so he stayed behind as well. But I am glad that Bay and I were able to enjoy it together. It was a cool sight!
After a camel trek back to the van and another long ride back to Marrakech, we checked into our next place, Riad Jnane Mogador. It is right next to the square, but pretty small and inexpensive. They also offer a Hazzam, which is a traditional bath with body scrub. It was so refreshing!
Next was a bit of shopping which was nice because the street the Riad is located on has good prices (many fixed) and the shop keepers were friendlier as compared to the ones in the souks.
We then enjoyed dinner on a rooftop terrace before retiring for the night. What a long, but fun, day!
Today was a loooong day. We woke up extra early to eat a 6 AM breakfast (thanks Gilles!) and then met our tour bus for our desert excursion.
I had done a bit of research on the one-day trips with camel ride 🐫 so I knew that we were in for a long drive. We started at around 8 AM and arrived at camp at about 7 PM. But during that time, we did stop for lunch and a tour of a pretty cool area where they filmed such movies as Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator.
But the highlight of the excursion was the camel ride to the Berber camp where we would stay. Riding camels isn’t difficult, but can be uncomfortable, especially towards the end of the journey. It was really fun, though, and sitting so high up and traveling with 14 other people in a mini caravan was pretty dang great. Mariko even wore her newly bought headscarf!
It only seemed like we traveled for 15 minutes, but after an hour in the saddle, we arrived at the camp. It was set up with tents surrounding an open area with carpets, pillows, and low tables. After getting settled into out tents, we relaxed outside and enjoyed mint tea and nuts.
I took the opportunity to run up a nearby sand dune to take a photo of the waning sunset. Just climbing such a small dune was tiring! I was huffing and puffing. 😓
Later on we all gathered in a large dining tent for a traditional meal of Moroccan salad, turkey Tagine, and fresh melon. It was delicious but the heat in the tent was stifling. I wish we could have eaten outside instead.
We finished up the day with traditional music and then time for bed!
Hello! Today the sun was scorching so we woke up as early as we could to beat the heat.
We had a delicious breakfast at our riad, Riad Abaca Badra, of bread, crepes, omelette, homemade strawberry jam, prune jam, croissants, fresh orange juice, mint tea and coffee.
I highly recommend Riad Abaca Badra. Our hosts Dominique and Gilles were friendly, gracious, and helpful for whatever we needed. From a warm welcome with cookies and mint tea, to helping secure train tickets, to helping fix my camera using a tiny hex wrench, our stay was excellent! Highly recommended.
After breakfast, we headed out into the sunny day (it would reach 108 F) to visit Jardin Majorelle. The grounds were beautiful (although smaller than we expected) and the Berber museum was interesting, especially because we would be visiting a Berber camp in eastern Morocco the next day.
After the gardens, we walked to the center of Gueliz, or the new town, stopping one at Cafe Mochi for some organic juice and Wi-Fi. 😀
We walked a bit more to the mall to stop for some local groceries to bring back to the States, then stopped at McDonald’s for a McFlurry.
Next it was a taxi ride to the opposite side of the Medina to shop at the pottery souk. At this point,the heat was getting the best of us, so we returned to our Riad for some rest.
After dark, we walked to the main square, Jemaa El Fna and found food stall #14, which Mariko read served calamari that was really good. Dominique had earlier warned us that seafood in the square at this time of year was iffy, but we decided to eat there anyways. We had calamari, fish, fries, bread and eggplant dip. It was pretty good, but not so special. Lots of fun though, and not expensive. There were even cute cats looking for a meal.
We did a little shopping in the square and then it started to rain. That felt great! We walked back to the riad and called it a night.