Day 4: Qasr

NOTE: This is the fourth entry in my “From Main To Morocco” blog series, chronicling my ten-day trip to various cities in the country of Morocco. Click here to read more entries in this series.

Qasr is the Arabic word for “palace.” For our last night in Marrakech, we decided to visit some of the more distinguished spots in the city, including a hotel that could easily double as a palace, a palace that doubles as a casino, and a garden that … well … can’t really double for anything. Really nice garden, though. We dressed to the nines (okay, maybe the eight-and-three-quarters) and strutted into what is easily the richest, most glamorous hotel in the city.

[Robert DeNiro stayed there. Need I say more?]

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we did all that, there was a good bit of shopping, a nice, relaxing walk, and a much-needed phone call. Though not necessarily in that order.

This morning we did some shopping at a different market than the one we visited yesterday morning. This one was much less chaotic and more organized, similar to an outdoor mall in a way. Using ideas I had while meandering through the chaos of the souks, I got a few things for my wife and my son, plus a nice leather messenger bag to bring home. (The carry-on I brought with me is an older bag, and it’s falling apart. This new bag is one-of-a-kind, and sure to last me quite a long time. Plus, it was much cheaper than its equivalent would have been back home. Score!)

Once we got back in, I called Michelle and talked to her for nearly an hour. It was nice to catch up on what’s been going on … and just to hear her voice, to be honest. The last time we were apart this long was back before we were married, when she moved back in with her parents for a few months while going to school. Though, I must say, I greatly prefer being on a life-changing, half-a-world-away adventure to working sixty hours a week at two jobs. It’s just a personal preference, really.

After the phone call, I went for a short walk in the gardens here at Es Saadi. It was beautiful, peaceful and quite refreshing. The flowers are in bloom, and the roses are plentiful. The palm trees and fruit trees add quite a bit to the scenery as well.

Es Saadi garden path

A path in the Es Saadi gardens.

It was destined to be a short stroll, however. There was nightlife to be lived.

We put on the finest clothes we brought with us, prayed no one would notice the wrinkles, then headed out to attempt to get into La Mamounia.

It’s ritzy. It’s fashionable. It’s expensive. But it is absolutely beautiful inside and out.

La Mamounia pool

A pool in the gardens of La Mamounia. (I know this picture will drive my wife nuts because it isn't level. Sorry, love. I'm on a bit of a time crunch here.)

La Mamounia gardens

The peaceful, tranquil gardens of La Mamounia. The sounds of the city were blocked out completely by the walls. It was practically a paradise.

Palm tree trio

A trio of palm trees in the La Mamounia gardens that I captured on camera just before the sun dipped below the horizon.

You may have noticed that there aren’t any pictures of the inside. That’s because I was told by an attendant that I was not allowed to take any. Later, Erik let me know that his warning really only applied to the lobby; however, I didn’t feel like taking any chances. Just believe me when I tell you it was absolutely stunning. The architecture, the paintings, the stained glass — it was truly breathtaking.

After we had a few drinks on the terrace, we headed back to Es Saadi to kill some time before dinner. We had a nighttime stroll through the garden, which looked a little different at night than it had looked during my afternoon walk. We also passed by a casino on our hotel grounds, though we resisted the temptation to flush away our dirham.

Casino de Marrakech

The Casino de Marrakech, located on the Es Saadi grounds.

After all that, it was time for dinner.

Tonight, we dined at Al Fassia Aguedal, a restaurant operated by a women’s co-op. It came highly recommended by our hotel staff, and I can understand why. The food was delicious yet again. You may think I’m exaggerating when it comes to the food I have had, but I assure you that I’m not. Literally every single meal I have had while in Morocco has been excellent. At Al Fassia, I had couscous with chicken and assorted vegetables, while Judy and Erik both tried tangine dishes. We topped off our meal with a pot of mint tea, then headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

Of course, I chose to write instead. Silly me.

Tomorrow, we head southwest by bus to Agadir. Until then … I’m getting some sleep. Tosbehoona ala khair. I’ll see you all tomorrow.

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About [rlh]

Ryan L. Haddock is an aspiring writer, emphasis on the "aspiring." He mostly writes short stories, but that is only because he doesn't seem to have the attention span necessary to write a novel. At least, not yet. He is also a husband and a father . . . yet he is still struggling valiantly against the notion that he has to grow up. View all posts by [rlh]

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