After our camel trek outside of Marrakech, we enjoyed lunch at a rustic riad near Jbel Toubkal, which is the tallest mountain in north African and the second tallest in Africa. It is more than 13,000 feet tall. The riad was nicely nestled in the valley near the town of Imlil. We ate a hearty meal of salad and tangine in order to prepare for our hike in the valley.
One of my goals for this selfish year trip was to ride a camel in Morocco. Since I failed to consult a map, I didn’t realize that Marrakech was quite a distance from the desert. We therefore rode camels through the mountains near the town of Asni, which is about an hour ride from Marrakech.
Mounting the camel was not difficult since they provided a step. However, actually riding the camel proved more difficult than I originally thought. At one point, it looked like I was about to fall off the camel and our handler advised me to move forward on the camel. Apparently, I was improperly riding way in the back of the saddle.
Mr. Selfish and I were a little skeptical about eating the market food in Marrakech. However, I learned from the Lonely Planet guide at the riad that the market stands are actually regulated by the government and have stringent sanitation standards. With that knowledge, Mr. Selfish and I ate our meals at the market stands and have yet to suffer any consequences (other than a full belly).
We started with a local restaurant right outside of the market. There was an outdoor elevated patio, at which we enjoyed a nice view of the market. We ate the tangine and couscous, both of which were divine.
Mr. Selfish and I wandered around Marrakech and enjoyed the Berber architecture, of which there were many outstanding examples. The Berber people are from north Africa and have lived in that area for at least 5,000 years. Berber architecture is typically reddish or other earth tones, which give the impression that the city and buildings spring from the earth.
At the taxi queue at the Marrakech airport, Mr. Selfish and I attempted to negotiate the fare into town to no avail. None of the cabbies would bargain with us, and all gave us the same price. We had to relent and pay the fare that the cabbie wanted.
When the cabbie dropped us off in the medina, he merely pointed in the general direction of our riad and told us to get out of the car since he couldn’t drive down the alleyway. We had no choice but to start walking in the direction that the cabbie pointed. An eight year-old child immediately started following us around and telling us that we were going in the wrong direction. He kept saying, “Zig zag. Wrong way.” The data plan on our phone didn’t work so we couldn’t map out our riad. We were hauling around our luggage, and the sun was starting to set. We eventually broke down and paid the kid to take us to our riad.