Friday, April 26, 2013

Morocco Part 5: One last spin around Marrakech

Our return tickets were a bit weird-we departed Marrakech at 10pm, arrived in Barcelona at 2:30 am and left for Munich a few hours later at 1pm. It was a hot mess. But on the flipside, we got an extra day in Marrakech!

After our super fun but exhausting camel trek excursion, we slept in as late as we could at our riad, enjoying just sitting still in one place. By lunchtime, it was time to check out and cross off the last things on our Marrakech list. We bought some last minute items, took our last pictures, and visited the two sights we couldn't find earlier-the Badi Palace and the Bahia Palace.

The Badi Palace was built by the Saadians in the 1500s. Since its construction was partly financed by a ransom paid by Portugal following the Battle of the Three Kings, the Sultan really spared no expense when it came to opulence. Italian marble, gold from Sudan, tiled pavilions and courtyards and fruit trees-I'm sure it was incredible to behold back in the day.

Around 75 years after its completion, it was stripped bare by the next conquering Sultan, who used the material to make his own palace. These days it is an imposing ruin. The day we visited, a French team was setting up an exhibit called "the Magic of Fire", so we ducked around workmen and tried to get a feel for the place.

We climbed up the towers to get a view of the city and the storks' nests perched on all the rooftops. One stork in particular had used a Barcelona soccer jersey as part of her nest. I thought that was pretty funny. :)

From there we grabbed some lunch. The owner took a shine to Fionn and told him if we came back the next day we would eat for free. Not sure what inspired that friendly sentiment, but since we were leaving that evening anyway we just thanked him and continued on.

Around the corner we found the Bahia Palace and gardens. Built in the late 1800s, it was intended to be the greatest palace of its time and a showpiece of Islamic and Moroccan architecture, but was later accused of being too nouveau riche and gaudy. It's now used by the Moroccan government for ceremonial events and receiving foreign dignitaries.

I thought it was very pretty to wander around in, and the beautiful tiled courtyards were really impressive. The flowers and fruit trees were such a nice change from the dustiness of outside Marrakech, and Fionn had a good time taking pictures of all the ornamentation and tilework.

By then it was getting late, so we headed back to the riad and took advantage of their beautiful library to relax and repack before our flight. We grabbed some dinner, found our taxi man, and soon enough we were back in Marrakech's airport. After a delayed flight we finally arrived in Barcelona at 2:30 am, breezed through passport control, and were so thankful that the shuttle from our airport hotel arrived quickly so we could crash into a soft, fluffy pillow.

The next morning we were back at Barcelona airport (which is an awesome airport by the way, one of the best I've ever been in) to catch our flight to Munich. And almost 24 hours after we began our journey home, we were happily in our own house in Bavaria.

It was an amazing, whirlwind of a trip but so so worth it. I'm so glad I finally got to visit Morocco!! We had such an incredible time and it was great to spend so much time together after the past few hectic weeks of work for Fionn. Sometimes he's so busy with work we only really see each other on weekends, so leisurely spending an entire week together was such a nice treat. I love that guy :)

The best part? When we came back to Bavaria we brought the SUN with us!! SPRING IS OFFICIALLY HERE! :D

No comments:

Post a Comment