i feel like we did SO much in marakesh that i should really break my posts up into multiple, but i'm only breaking it up into two posts. so be prepared for a lot of pictures are the end of this!
after an 8 hour train ride, that felt like it took much longer, we made it to marakesh from fez. before our train ride we were told that the train could take from 6 to 8 hours to get to marakesh. we all wondered why there was a possibility of an extra 2 hours on the train & we quickly found out why once the train got moving. first off, the train is not high speed in the slightest, secondly: the train stopped about every 15 minutes at a new station, third: the train would take anywhere from 5-20 minute long stops. apparently it's not a strict schedule! a funny thing about the train is there are no assigned seats unless you are in first class & if someone doesn't get a seat they just stand all over the train. i've never been on a train where this happened unless it was a metro. also, moroccans like to pile in on eachother. i got to spend about 3 hours of the train ride with a lady practically sitting on my lap. my face says everything i thought about this situation, haha.
we started marakesh off with a visit to jardin majorelle, yves saint laurents house & garden memorial. ysl & his partner bought the public garden & home, that was built by painter jaques marjoelle, when they learned it was going to be the site of a new hotel & over the years transformed it into what it is today. the space was open to the public after ysl's death, to showcase what & his partner created. they built an oasis inside of the city of marakesh that you would never guess was inside the walls. as soon as you walk in the gate you are greeted with tons of green trees, cacti, ponds, fountains, beautiful tile work, & a red pathway guiding you around. it was unbelievable. & the house that used to be jaque marjoelle's studio is now a museum of berber culture. the museum is a bright, bold & surprising true blue with yellow accents. the house is completely hidden by the plants when you first walk in, but then when you reach it, it's hard to look away. i fell in love with this place, hard. i love everything about it, especially the blue house.
after wandering around the garden we made our way to the medina. in fez the streets & alleys were too small that cars & scooters were not allowed in, but in marakesh the roads are a lot wider & it's a bit more spread out, so cars could fit & they were going all over the place. the medina's were covered with people, bikes, scooters, cars, it was so busy with so much life! it was crazy & a totally different experience, one that i really liked. it seemed so hectic to me, i couldn't imagine it being a daily life & it is for so many people. another difference from fez is that all of the shops are very open, you could find your way around marakesh's medina much easier than you ever could in fez.
my number one goal for marakesh was to get a traditional moroccan wedding blanket, so that was our first stop once in the medina. we went to another rug showroom where they had piles & piles of moroccan wedding blankets, all of them were so pretty i would have bought multiple if i could, but i settled for one & am still convinced it is one of my best purchases ever. i am obsessed with it. afterwards we went deeper into the medina & rummaged through all of the little shops finding pottery, hand made leather shoes & a pair of moroccan slippers, hand carved wooden animals, pillow cases made from a moroccan wedding blanket & spices. morocco is known for a lot of things, one of which are their spices. there were so many different ones that i hadn't seen before, all with so much color & really strong smells. we were kind of in heaven going through all of the spices, smelling them all & finding out what we could use them for. they also sold essential oils & Aragon oil (another thing you must buy when in morocco). it was so cool to go through the shop & learn about all the different things & the uses for them. austin & i bought a TON of the moroccan mint tea & a few different oils & spices & i'm pumped to use it.
on the outskirts of the medina is the main square that completely transforms around 5pm. carts wheel in with tons of different moroccan foods being prepared, hundreds of nut stands, fruit & veggies stands, souvenirs. there are women all over offering henna tattoos, story tellers, men playing music & the best: snake charmers. oh yes, they were there, they were creepy & my mom got a snake wrapped around her neck. we had all wanted to see the snakes, austin especially, but when we finally found the snake charmers & they approached austin with the snake he started having a slight panic attack. it wasn't until that moment that i remembered he's incredibly scared of snakes. i have no idea why he was so set on seeing them, but he was & he wouldn't get near them! haha but my mom being the brave woman she is, mixed a little bit with the fact that they didn't ask her they just did it, had a snake wrapped all around her. she kept laughing & making nervous sounds & i thought it was so funny, she's always getting weird animals on her (a few years ago when we were in budapest a guy put a falcon on her head for some reason...? it was weird but also very funny). after her fun with the snakes, we watched the snake charmers charm the snakes into dancing & tease them so that the snakes would lunge & try to bite them (don't worry, they are defanged, so they aren't poisonous). the medina & market had so much life, it was seriously amazing. there was loud music playing everywhere, people everywhere & i loved it. it made the medina of fez feel so sleepy in comparison.
if you missed my post about fez, check it out!