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12 Step Planet: Marrakech
Eamonn Seoige continues his tireless non-stop race around the globe with a voyage to sunny Marrakech.
Eamonn Seoige, 21 Sep 2012
If you have a little time, it’s possible to travel onward from Marrakech to the epic landscape of the Atlas Mountains. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted! Narrow windy roads, without any edge-protection, hug the mountain face and impatient locals overtake without fear of the sheer drop only inches away. However, the real pay-off lies beyond: a glimpse of the vast rolling dunes of the Sahara, the world’s largest desert.
Anything to avoid?
While the endless list of exotic curiosities that dot Djemaa El Fna make it a photographer’s paradise, make sure to be respectful of those providing the material for that great shot. Ask permission before sticking a lens in someone’s face.
What should I bring home?
Where to start! The souks are chock-a-block full of curios of all shapes and sizes. Moroccan clay bowls are particularly beautiful, decorated with traditional patterns and will look equally at home on your dinner table or mounted on the kitchen wall. Rugs, leather bags, scarves and moccasins the list goes on and on. One word of warning, don’t be shy and bargain hard!
When should I go?
Winter is an ideal time to visit Marrakech. The temperatures are much more manageable and accommodation more competitively priced. In July and August the mercury regularly tops 45, whilst in January it’s a much more comfortable 20.
What’s my challenge?
Get lost in the Medina! Rather than trying to stick diligently to your tourist map, simply wander the narrow ancient streets of the old city, soaking up the wondrous sites around every corner. Beautifully decorated souk markets, wonderful architecture, donkey drawn carts drawing foodstuffs to market and people going about their business in traditional Berber dress, it’s a special place...
What’s the currency?
The Dirham (MAD).
Something to remember...
Marrakech was once one of the most powerful cities in the world. Founded over a thousand years ago by the Berber Almoravids, the ‘Red City’ was the imperial capital of an Islamic empire that stretched from central Spain to