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Marrakech - Sunday, 31 July 2016

Guided tour of Marrakech - Palace of the Bahia, the Saadian Tombs, the Koutoubia Mosque and the famous Djemma el-Fna. Visit the souk.

sunny 44 °C

Hotel - Riad Kniza Marrakesh - Room 2

Had a great night's sleep and didn't want to get out of bed this morning. These late dinners are killing me!

Breakfast was funny. There are no menus in this Riad. For dinner last night, the guy at the reception desk gave us a few choices during the afternoon for dinner and we chose a couple of dishes. No wine list either. They just tell you what they have, and if it sounds okay, you order it. Same for breakfast - but you don't get asked. It all arrives on a tray - juice, yoghurt, cereal, tea, coffee and warm milk, and bread and cakes. We then ordered a fried egg and an omelette.

There is no designated "dining room". People eat in their rooms, on the roof or in little salons, tucked away all throughout the Riad. It is very lovely and the beauty of riads is that there aren't that many rooms and the staff are totally attentive and caring. I am loving it.

We met our driver and our guide for the day, whose name is Abdou too. It is 30 degrees at 10 am. We drove a short distance and then parted ways with Abdou our driver until later in the day and we got out of the car and took some photos of the Koutoubia Mosque.

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Then we commenced our tour of the Palace of the Bahai. As palaces go, it is quite a modern one, constructed in the 19th century but no king lived in it, just the Prime Minister who had four wives and 24 concubines. In fact, for such a modern palace, it looked very old because it is quite run down. But nevertheless, the courtyard garden was lovely and the empty rooms had their own stories to tell.

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We are wiseing up, so right from the start today we told Abdou that we weren't interested in looking at carpets, fabrics or anything like that. We would be happy to visit the herbal cosmetic place but that was it. It felt good to set the ground rules and be in control from the word go!

First up, we went to a jeweller and had Phil's Turkish puzzle ring fixed. One of the bands snapped early in our travels when he picked up a heavy suitcase. We all squeezed into a tiny little shop. Job well done.

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I bought some very Moroccan biros for the Macquarie kids from a shop in the square.

We wandered through the fresh fruit and meat market. It is SO hot and raw meat and fish are displayed without any refrigeration and the smell as almost overpowering. I just couldn't stand it long enough to take a photo. Commercially grown roses are a thriving industry here and a lot of them are exported to Europe. They are grown in Rose Valley at the foot of the High Atlas. Their perfume made a nice change from the odours of the market!

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This guy is making philo pastry. It was very hard to get a shot as there was a lot of movement in the preparation - swirling and throwing the sheets through the air. I could have stood there watching him all day.

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Next stop - the herbal spice and cosmetìc shop - Aux 100,000 Epices. It is great visiting Morocco in the low season because there are no tourists here. We had our own private demonstration and were interested in the herbal cosmetics that are based on Argan Oil. The Argan tree grows in arid and semi arid areas in Morocco. The kernals are pressed for the oil. It contains many essential, unsaturated fatty acids. It comes in a few different forms - creams, liquids, and even an oil for the kitchen. We bought a lovely anti ageing cream, a cream to get rid of brown spots on skin, a liquid to stop snoring and clear up chest infections, some perfume for me and a natural deodorant for Phil. Let's hope it all works!

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We then visited the Saadian Tombs. The Saadian tomba date back from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). The tombs were discovered in 1917 and were restored. The mausoleum comprises the interments of about 60 members of the Saadi Dynasty that originated in the valley of the Draa River. Among the graves are those of Ahmad al-Manusr and his family. The building is composed of three rooms. One contains the grave of the sultan and his nephews. One contains the graves of babies and children who died during a plague. And the last one contains the graves of the women. In the grounds, are the graves of soldiers and servants.

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Time for lunch and Abdou, the driver, pointed us in the direction of some kebab places and we had a nice lunch with Abdou the guide of Moroccan salad, beef and chicken kebabs and fries. Just enough and then we headed for the Main Square. It is SO hot, 44 degrees and I am sick of drinking water. There is just so much water that one can drink.

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We watched a couple of snake charmers with cobras and rattle snakes, but didn't take any photos because they aren't free. We headed for the taro card readers and I had my Taro cards and my palm read. Before we started, Abdou told me they only tell you good things. It was so hot and five of us were trying to crowd under a little umbrella. The reading, as translated by Abdou said - I am healthy, happy and my husband loves me very much. I have come from far, far away. I am retired and am going to buy a car. I am thinking about buying a house and will have a lot of money. I will live a long and healthy life. My husband loves me very much - she kept repeating that!

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So, it is now about 44 degrees and we are dying of the heat, and we are expecting Abdou to call Abdou the driver and arrange for him to drive us back to the hotel. But, as we are looking for water, he suggests popping into an antique shop, where they will give us free water. (For a price of course!!!)

I spied a lovely tuareg teapot, made of camel bone and it was on. The game was - sit the teapot on the table, then Phil and the owner sat down and each one wrote what they wanted to pay / or wanted to receive in payment for the item. This went on for about eight times, a price was agreed and we left with a teapot from the tuareg tribe in Africa. Just like the leather jacket - not quite sure how all that happened but we got our free water and a rather unique teapot!!

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It's hot, so back to our Riad and into the pool quick swim to cool off.

Early dinner in our salon of lamb and chicken tagines and now repacking the bags for the final leg of our trip to Casablanca tomorrow.

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A new "band" entertained is at dinner tonight.

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Posted by gaddingabout 15:15 Archived in Morocco

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