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6 November 2011

Marrakesh: The Girl Who May Have Eaten Goat

We finally made it to our riad at about 5.30 last night, where mint tea awaited. I was exhausted and a bit under the weather so it was lucky we had ordered a meal in the riad—both of us opting for chicken with pickled lemons. Instead, after soup and some spicy aubergines, along came a tagine with something else. Initially, I thought it was lamb but it may have been goat (in which case, goat tastes "like lamb").

Today it was time to explore the madness and marvels of Marrakech. Soon after leaving our riad, we "picked up" a guide, grudgingly, especially since he took us to somewhere we didn't want to go and complained that 100 dirhams was far too little. Eventually we made it to the Djemaa El-Fna, the main square, which was so huge it dwarfs St Mark's Square in Venice. I did my best to avoid the snake charmers but we did go for some freshly squeezed orange juice and, later, a sandwich from a place frequented mainly by locals (the filling options were "turkey" and "meat" but they were out of the latter so turkey it was; not bad for 150 dirhams).

Mosaics at the Saadian Tombs
One highlight was the beautiful Saadian Tombs, the mosaic-filled resting place for a 16th century sultan and 170 of his closest friends and relatives. There were also plenty of cute, if underfed, kitties hanging out in the sunshine. We also enjoyed a trip to the Badi Palace, which was designed like a riad, with a central pool, but only a much, much bigger scale (this time dwarfing Great Court of Trinity College, Cambridge). I even managed a leap! Meanwhile, a lovely rooftop terrace provided great views of the Atlas Mountains—and some nesting storks. Then it was time to make our way back to the riad, via the Djemaa El-Fna and the souks, where I may have to return to look at the scarves and leather bags.

Leap at the Badi Palace
Marrakesh is a very fun city but it's also crazy, with very few street signs and motorbikes racing through the narrow lanes every few seconds. And there will be plenty to keep us busy for the next few days.

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