Saturday, March 28, 2009

marrakech, el jadida, madrid...

(this will be the final trip post. go straight to the end of the post if you just want a link to all my photos.)

after fez, we went to marrakech. getting to marrakech might have been my least favorite part of the trip. because of the distance from fez, we decided to make it an overnight trip, sleep on the train, arrive in the morning. our train left fez at 2:30am. miserable. we waited in our hotel lobby (which ended up being bad and made me second guess the quality of the hotel in the first place) and then waited at the train station which was outside and pretty cold. once on the train though we had a compartment to ourselves for the first 2 or 3 hours and were able to get some sleep.

for some reason i really liked marrakech. nothing really stands out to me, but i just got a good vibe. maybe i was just happy that the night before was over and done with. we found a hotel (with a room on the roof) right away, and went to straight to the medina and wondered around for a while, got some food, chad had a fun encounter with a snake charmer, etc. then back to the room to relax until evening. at night the main square really comes alive - its packed with tourists and locals alike checking out all the snake charmers, musicians, story tellers and street food vendors. pretty fun.

the next morning was another train to el jadida. we went from a ton of tourists to barely any. el jadida is a little town by the sea whose most interesting attraction is an old portugese fortified city, complete with walls, canons, sea gate, a photogenic cistern and crumbling buildings and churches. its totally un-restored and falling apart. the churches are at least a couple hundred years old, empty and crumbling, the lighthouse has been turned into a mosque, and many of the decaying buildings seem to be inhabited by poor moroccan families. it was really fascinating to me, plus, it totally looked like pirates of the caribean (the ride). at one point an old lady stuck her head out of a window and yelled something in arabic - but it sounded like "Don't tell him Carlos, don't bee cheeckeen!" el jadida was also home to our nicest hotel in morocco, and the cheapest. about $16 total.

after el jadida we went to casablanca to catch a flight back to madrid. casablanca doesnt really have much to offer other than the 2nd largest mosque in the world (after the one in mecca), which we visited briefly before continuing on to the airport.

one more night in madrid. we got to the prado late, so we got in for free (just like the disneyland parking structure!), then had a serrano ham sandwich and beer, more candy, and slept on the airport tile floor (with about a half dozen other people who apparently didnt want to pay for a room either).

all in all, a fun trip.

all my photos are here.

check out chad's blog - he may or may not post some photos soon.

1 comment:

Cole said...

Great photos