Once we got settled into the marina, we wanted to make a trip inland and see some Moroccan sights. First stop was Marrakesh! We buddied along with another family boat we met in the marina, a family of four from Chicago on a boat called Begonia. The father Sebastian, is originally from Argentina, and the mom, Carla and their kids, Sophia (8) and Benji (5) are living for a year aboard. They had sailed from the Caribbean earlier this summer and have spent their time in Portugal and Spain / Gibraltar. They are on the same path we are on, though Morocco, the Canary Islands and hopefully, Senegal/Gambia and crossing the Atlantic in December also. It is always great to hook up with other families and we planned the trip to Marrakesh together.
Arriving in Marrakesh, we were a bit disoriented as we got off the train, not knowing where the main downtown was or how to get there, and I’m sure easy prey for a tour guide. Naturally, one spotted us looking clueless and offered his services, basically a glorified taxi ride into town, stopping at some sights on the way. It was reasonable and not worth hasseling to find our own way and he called up a van “he knew” that could fit all 12 of us and we were off. Driving around the outskirts of Marrakesh was very impressive. It had a lot of upscale development and in the desert surroundings, reminded us a lot of Arizona, particularly Scottsdale! Even with a couple of golf courses, and not what we’d expected at all. Closing in on the old city, however, was a quick trip back several centuries and we could see the old city walls, with Moroccan sweeping arched entries and as the streets got increasingly crowded and chaotic, we knew we were heading into the heart of the city. Our new friend the tour guide, offered to pick us up the following morning, and take us on a trip up into the Atlas mountains, stopping at a Berber village, having tea with a Berber family, and hiking to some waterfalls. We knew we didn’t want to spend our whole time in Marrakesh just shopping and wandering, so we agreed to the trip the next day, arranging a time and place. Then we were off to wander the downtown, and headed into a truly unique experience……..pt 2: