New Year’s Day

Posted on January 2, 2015

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We slept in on New Year’s Day probably like most people after a little bit too much wine. It was close to 11am by the time we hit the chaos of Jemaa El Fna. The sound of snake charmers’ pipes and the din of the traffic getting louder as we emerged from our quiet back alleyway.

First task – rehydrate. Who knows how many tonnes of Seville oranges the Moroccans use but you cannot move for fresh citrus juice stalls everywhere. The floor is covered in trodden peel and squashed dry horse manure in equal measure as carts and vehicles flatten them.

We had a caffeine injection at the famous Cafe de France and took in the view. My new drink of choice is a nouss nouss (a small glass filled half with strong Arabic expresso and the other half hot milk).

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Next stop the Koutoubia Mosque and the pretty gardens behind it. The beautiful design work in many of these buildings are really quite something. Set against this magnificent blue sky it is difficult not to be impressed.

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Lunch came in the form of an enormous tagine from an open shop that had pots bubbling on hot coals. The red plastic chairs on the street were filled with locals. We ordered one to share and moped up the sauce and contents with a basket of bread.

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After filling our bellies we braced ourselves for the souks. We must have walked for a good few hours passing through the textile quarter, tanneries, lanterns, shoes, bags. We never really loitered so we weren’t given too much hassle. Occasional someone would encourage us to take a closer look, but on the whole it wasn’t a bad experience.

On our meander we stumbled across the city’s photography museum which hosts some amazing pictures dating back to the 1800s. The roof terrace cafe has some stunning views of the Atlas Mountains too.

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Post souk we found our way out of the maze and headed home to spruce up for dinner. I’d found a chic restaurant in the Gueliz area which serves 16 types of mezze. Entertainment came in the form of bellydancers who looked like a cross between a tranny, a glamour model and a princess. Covered in glitter, tiaras and feathers they certainly had the moves and the assets to match.

The walk back finished us off but we managed to squeeze in a hot cup of sweet ginger tea and spice cake in the square before hitting the sack.

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