Day 1: Arrival & Djemaa el Fna

Our plane takes off from Memmingen at 11 o'clock in the morning. After a little more than three hours, we landed in Marrakech. Already on the plane, we were handed out the necessary entry form, which is required to enter Morocco.

At the airport, we immediately pick up the rental car we have rented for the duration of our stay. An elderly gentleman sitting at the car rental desk offers to show us the way into town. With too little scepticism we accept the offer - after a few minutes he pulls over with his scooter and tells us that he would like money for it. We haven't been to the cash machine yet, but we can satisfy him with two bars of chocolate. Then we continue our journey. Our hotel, a Moroccan townhouse with a courtyard (riad), is in the medina, the old town of Marrakech. At this point I was quite happy that the older man was driving ahead, without him I would not have thought that it was allowed to drive in the narrow streets.

Arriving at Parking Sidi Bou Amar, we pay 35 dirhams per night to park our car. Pulling the handbrake and putting the car in gear is forbidden - we will understand why later.

The car park attendant wants to show us the way to the riad. Already burdened, we refuse, which doesn't stop the boy from walking ahead anyway and demanding money from us at the end. We give him a few dirhams so that we can finally check in in peace.

We deposit our luggage in our room and make our way past the Koutoubia Mosque to Marrakech's main square, the Djemaa el Fna. Here, at the latest, we realise that we have landed in a completely different world. The soundscape alone with the drums in the background is unique. From snake charmers to street performers, everything can be found here. Here I fall directly into the next tourist trap, when a Marrkoan with his snake suddenly approaches me from the side. Before I understand the situation, the snake is already around my neck. I already have respect for snakes when I see them from a distance, the last thing I want is to have a snake hanging around my neck. The man tries to convince me to take a photo (for money, of course). My attempts to make him understand that I don't want that are in vain - of necessity we bargain him down from 20€ to 5€ - the main thing is to get rid of the snake. From this moment on, at the latest, I had learned to say no very clearly at an early stage in Marrakech and, in case of doubt, to avoid the queue if a no is not enough.

We strolled around the square for a while and then sat down on the Grand balcon du café glacier. From here you have a fantastic view over the square! We drink a Moroccan mint tea and enjoy the scenery for a while.

Then we go back down to the square to have dinner at one of the countless food stalls on Djemaa el Fna . The choice is huge, from grilled sheep's heads to snails and fish to kebap and grilled vegetables, you can find everything here. Every waiter tries to win us over with an even better line for his stall. We finally decide on a stand with tajine and meat skewers. Here, too, caution is called for, the waiters offer you everything possible, which is then (expensively) charged for. In the meantime, we have already learned to refuse such things and save ourselves the lesson money this time. The food is very tasty and worth it for the Athmos ferry alone.

Day 2: Jardin Secret, el-Badi Palace & Lalla Hasna

In the morning we have breakfast in our riad, we get coffee, something cake-like and pan cakes. Everything is freshly prepared just for us and brought to our table.

From the riad, we plunge straight into the small streets of Marrakech and head for our first destination, the Jardin Secret. The garden in the middle of the city is beautifully landscaped. We explore the grounds and then drink a mint tea in the café located in the garden.

Afterwards, we continue to explore the surrounding alleys, which form the souk, i.e. the market of Marrakech. In the end, we end up back at Djemaa el-Fna, which is also the centre of the souk. It is said that all roads lead to this square, and this seems to be confirmed for us. At this time of day, the square is still dominated by countless carts selling fruit and freshly squeezed juices. We drink a very tasty orange juice (costs only a few cents) before we plunge back into the surrounding alleys.

Our next destination is the el-Badi Palace, built in the 16th century by Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur. We pay an entrance fee of 70 dirhams (about 6.50€) and then explore the extensive grounds. The many small gardens with orange trees and the large water basin are really worth seeing. The terrace of the palace is also very impressive, from where you can catch a rare view of Marrakech from above!

After we have explored the palace extensively, we make our way to the city park Lalla Hasna. We rest here for a few minutes in the shade of the palm trees before heading back into the alleys of the medina. The alleys of the city are really very impressive, we could spend hours here just walking around and collecting impressions.

After dinner, we make our way to the Djemaa el-Fna again to have another orange juice. The same vendor is still working as at lunchtime. When we buy another orange juice, he invites us to keep him company while he sells orange juice. We stay there for a moment before heading home to our riad.

Day 3: Excursion to Essaouria

In the morning we get up quite early to make our way to the coastal town of Essaouira after an excellent breakfast. When we arrive at the car park, it quickly becomes clear why "no break, no gear" was requested there. Our car is in the last row behind some other cars. No problem - only a few moments later the parking attendant has pushed the other cars aside and we can drive off.

The traffic in Marrakech is pure chaos. But after about 50 minutes of driving we have left the city behind us. Instead of crowded and narrow streets, the landscape is now characterised by a barren stone desert. Somewhere along the way we overtake a man on his donkey - it is hard to imagine how long it took him to get there. When we arrive in Essaouira, we park our car and explore the town. Compared to Marrakech, everything here seems very quiet and orderly.

Here, too, there are shops next to shops in the narrow alleyways. An older man engages us in conversation - he sells all kinds of things that were apparently left over somewhere - but he has a story to tell about each item. Unfortunately, we had no use for any of his treasures. We explore the city centre and enjoy the fresh, warm sea air. It's hard to imagine that Christmas is just around the corner in a few weeks.

We are starting to get hungry, so we make our way to the kiosques de grillades à poissons - a collection of snack bars selling freshly caught fish. We pay about 15€ for the two of us and get enough fish to fill us both up.

Strengthened, we make our way to the harbour with its blue boats, probably one of the most famous photo stops in Essaouira. Here, the fishermen sell their freshly caught fish directly - which is probably also quite popular among cats and seagulls.

From the harbour we make our way to the beach - unfortunately it is too cold for swimming, but we take the opportunity to cool our feet in the water.

We explore the city a little more before we head back to Marrakech at around 17:30, in order to cover as much of the way as possible in the light. On the last part of the route, darkness catches up with us - fortunately it is not long until we reach Marrakech. Driving in the dark borders on suicide here - unlit cars or donkeys and lanes that end in a construction pit are not uncommon.

Day 4: Shopping in the Souks & Departure

In the morning we enjoy a last breakfast in our riad. We can leave our luggage there until our departure.

We make our way into the city one last time to drink a last, freshly squeezed orange juice at the Djemaa el-Fna. Afterwards, we go to the souks once more to buy a few souvenirs. After some (hard) negotiations, I managed to get hold of a Moroccan teapot for a few euros.

I am supposed to bring some Moroccan oranges to a colleague at work. On the way back, an elderly man sells oranges - unfortunately we only have cents and no Dirham left. We try to explain this to him, but he doesn't seem very enthusiastic at first. He calls a colleague to him and they exchange a few words. Suddenly the man looks very enthusiastic and happily accepts our 40 cents. Actually we only wanted to take one or two oranges, but before we know it we are in possession of a whole bag of oranges.

Then we set off on our way back - we have to have our car cleaned before we hand it in. Arriving at the airport, we hand in our car and are a little sad that the adventure is already over. At the security check, I was briefly waved out as to why I had almost a kilo of oranges in my backpack, but I was finally allowed to take them with me.