|Within the grounds of the Le Meridien N'Fis Hotel, Marrakech|
|Le Meridien N'Fis, Marrakech|
|An orange tree inside the hotel grounds|
|The labyrinthine streets of the Marrakech souk|
|Looking down on the souk|
|Another aerial view of the souk – check out the rugs|
|Yours truly on the main square, Marrakech|
|Avenue Mohammed V1, Marrakech...nearly back at the hotel|
|Only yards from the hotel. Out of shot to the left is a shopping mall|
We had the whole of Friday as free time as our return flight didn't depart until 8 o'clock. There was plenty to do: a bike ride into the Atlas mountains had been mooted and I was kind of up for it, until I realised that it wasn't an organised trip with other like-minded individuals but one of the guys in the office checking out a route on his iphone GPS, and besides, who wanted to ride 56 miles to and from the mountains when there was a risk of kidnapping in Morocco's remoter outlying regions (I'm guessing that means the Atlas Mountains)? Well, what about a spot of quad biking? Rik Mayall immediately sprung to mind and so did Ozzie Osbourne, both of whom had quad bike accidents. Ozzie is still with us and so was Rik until recently and it is widely believed that his quad bike accident contributed to his sad demise. Alright, well, what about horse riding? I've never riden a horse but I know people who have and one of them fell off and broke her back. Not pleasant. She's alright now, but why take the risk? I wasn't alone in my cautious attitude. A group of us headed into town to mooch around the famous souk where Moroccans sold everything from leather holdalls and handbags through to woollen hats and it was well worth it. The souk was like a kind of shanty town: narrow, dark alleys twisting and turning and never seeming to end. I love mooching around too. I do it all the time. Mooching about. If I had the financial wherewithal I'd be a professional moocher.
We wandered around and eventually stopped for a cup of tea in a restaurant offering an aerial view across the top of the souk – corrugated iron roofs, satellite dishes, rugs draped over the sides of buildings and a hazy blue sky. Temperatures reach almost 50 degrees C in the summer but now, in January, it's a pleasant 20 degrees, just like a summer's day in England.
The people are pretty friendly too. In fact I wouldn't mind returning to Marrakech for a holiday.
|Left to right: Martin, Jezza and Jason on the main square, Marrakech.|
The journey home was fine, but I was tired out and wanted to get home. We were in the air for about three hours and because it was a night flight there was nothing to see out of the window. When we eventually landed we all queued for passport control and because I only had hand luggage the whole process was fairly smooth. A colleague gave me a lift home and at around 0100hrs I hit the sack. I was so glad to be home, even if it was freezing cold.
Over the weekend I decided to take it easy and not go out cycling as it was far too cold.
As for Marrakech, it was fantastic and if you haven't been there yet, I suggest you book a flight immediately.