A 3:45am wake up in Seville was brutal for us, but necessary to make our 6am flight to Marrakech, Morocco. It’s was Ramadan, holy month of fasting from sunrise to sunset for every Muslim, so nothing was open when we arrived. In fact the entire country was up all night eating and celebrating, then sluggish and hungry all day. We crashed on the couch of our riad, a restored Moroccan mansion, until the couple in our room checked out. We were exhausted!
After a much needed rest we explored the Madina, large center of the city, and the labyrinth of shops and vendors in the Jemaa el Fna. It was a sensory overload full colors, sounds, smells and ridiculous traffic of people, motors, camels, donkeys, and “guides” flooding the small streets. We were swept up in it all, but quickly overwhelmed. We found our much needed respite in a Hammam, a traditional Moroccan bathhouse, where we had the life scrubbed out of us and soaked in refreshing pools. After another 2 hour nap we hit the streets again.
During Ramadan families flood the streets till all hours of the night eating and shopping. It’s a celebratory time, despite the long daunting fast from water and food for 16 of the hottest hours of the day.The Medina was filled storytellers surrounded by amazed children and woman offering henna tattoos at every corner. After a day of not eating or drinking we now ate and drank more than our share of delicious tangine dishes and moroccan mint teas. We even tried haggling for a cushion and we were completely taken in the end. We figured we could make a few mistakes our first few days. Berber culture is very playful. If you are willing to joke and laugh you will success in Morocco, but don’t expect a good deal with out really good jokes.
Two days was the right amount of haggling, exploring, and walking we could handle after the Camino. Off to a beach house in the fishing village of Mirleft, a 7 hour bus ride south!