Monday, April 18, 2022

24 hours in Marrakech

We departed from Lisbon early on Easter morning which is also Jammie's birthday to head to Morocco. It is a quick flight, and with a time change we were in Marrakech in a little more than a half an hour. We whisked through customs and were picked up and on the road to our riad by 10:30 am. Our driver had some dates, nuts and water for us to snack on. We arrived at our riad Art Place. A riad is a former residence; I guess we'd call it a mansion that used to house a multi-generational family. Today they have been mostly converted into small hotels. Ours is in the absolute most ideal location right on the main square, Jemma El Fna which is also a UNESCO world heritage site. The manager of the hotel greeted us with Moroccan mint tea and pastries and suggested we go explore until the room was ready and arranged for us a private guide, Adil. Adil showed us around the souks, or market areas inside the Medina (the old city within the walls). It is an absolute maze! Alone, I'm sure we'd still be lost! We visited the tanneries where they process leather by hand. An absolutely vile smell. We had to protect our noses with sprigs of fresh mint. Without it I'm sure I would have puked. We went through the different areas that specialize in different crafts and skills. The weavers, tailors, leather workers, spice merchants, metal workers, shoemakers and food stalls. I'm having a pair of shoes made for me. They will be delivered to my riad later this week! We stopped for a quick (too big) bite to eat. We returned to our riad to check in and relax for an hour before our next adventure. We were picked up by YaYa to experience iftar with a Muslim family. Iftar is the breaking of the Ramadan fast each day. We were invited into their home, offered some more Moroccan mint tea and were shown how they prepare some of the dishes. Homemade meatball tajine, a special soup that is traditional for breaking the fast that is eaten along side dates, some very interesting pancakes with honey, and what I can best describe as an avocado smoothie. At sunset we went to the rooftop of their house to listen to the call to prayer. YaYa's younger sister (15) explained what was happening, people hurrying to the mosque to pray and then rushing home to finally eat. It was a beautiful experience. We got home about 9pm and had to head straight to bed. Our next adventure was scheduled to begin at 4:20 am! We were picked up and driven outside the city before dawn. When we arrived we read the rules, had a quick cup of coffee with cinnamon in it (kind of weird), and then headee out to climb in a hot air balloon with 16 others and the pilot and a camera man. Lift off! Full moon and sunrise! An incredible experience! After soaring for over an hour we landed safely and headed to the tent for a traditional Moroccan breakfast. We received flight certificates and then headed back to the Medina. We had a quick elevensies to just try the hotel breakfast and took a quick dip in the pool. We've been here for 24 hours and it's already been a full once in a lifetime vacation. Now we're off to explore some more!


  1. Thank you for sharing such a dream trip. We'll have to talk about how you arrange that. I've got my traveling shoes on.❤️

  2. Did your head burn?? I was sooo happy to have a hat the one time we ballooned. Being that close to the burner was hot hot hot! So worth it tho. Magical. Xoxo B