Travels with V

Morocco

In the garden of the fashion giant

Marrakech part two

There are many beautiful gardens in Marrakech, but the biggest (it’s actually more like a park) and most popular is the Jardin Majorelle, created by the fashion giant Yves Saint-Laurent. He came here in the 60’s and fell in love with the city. –It taught me colours, he said.

Jardin Majorelle has an enormous collection of cactuses, dams and canals, fountains and cool shadows under the trees.

There’s also a little museum where fascinating clothes and culture artefacts of the Berber people are on display.

The city is also rich with palaces and some of them are open to the public. The Bahia palace belonged to a minister some two hundred years ago. Here you’ll find all the rich beauty of the Arabic architecture – complicated mosaic, harmonic proportions, rich gardens with flowering bushes and fruit trees, dates and oranges.

One open space is like a walled square with a central fountain. Here, in the heat of the unshielded sun emissaries waited for hours for a meeting with the minister. Behind 24 doors leading out to the court was the minister’s harem.

For our first meal we choose a restaurant by Jemaa-e-Fnaa with a nice balcony where there are nice views of the actions on the square. But the coucous they serve, with lamb and chicken, is a sad tasteless story. We can make it better at home.

There’s so much exciting things to see in Marrakech, and one of the more spectacular spaces is called the Saadian tombs. An graveyard the size of a football field with tombs for a mighty clan that ruled the city in the 16th century. The most important men lie in palaces, the less important ones in graves out in the open.

The area was closed when the clan’s successor came to power. He built a mosque in front of the graveyard so no one could enter. The tombs were forgotten for hundreds of years and rediscovered in 1917 when a pilot took aerial photos of the city.

The most astounding palace is called the Hall of the seven pillars, that has a golden roof. The area today is guarded by a platoon of scruffy wild cats.

On our second evening we manage to reserve a table at the very popular restaurant Pepe Nero, where we had a truly great time. As the name suggests Italian food is served here, but they also have a Moroccan menu. Everything we had was delicious, the best we had in Marrakech. We wanted to return some days later, but then all the tables were reserved.

The atmosphere at Pepe Nero is unbeatable. The seating is in an indoors garden with plants and small trees, and bubbling fountains. Highly recommended!

We now leave Marrakech for a trip over the mighty Atlas mountains to the edge of the Sahara. We pass snow-capped summits on the way, and when we have reached our goal, there are places we can identify from popular movies!

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