The markets of Marrakesh are filled with surprises. As we made our way through the labyrinth-like alleyways, our senses were overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of smells and sounds coming from each stall. Compressed against one another, the wicker baskets overflowing with spices lead into an ornamental display of leather goods gently swinging in the breeze. Each shop has its own distinct personality, created by the individual shop owner. Many alleys give way into even smaller, more winding pathways, leading to endless new discoveries. What seemed like an inconspicuous blue door on the curb of a meat shop, turned out to be a henna tattoo café that had a wonderful display of artwork for sale. Upon further inquiry, all of the proceeds from sales of the artwork and henna designs go to local charities.
The center of the market was where the majority of food stalls and 3 story cafes were located. A line of small benches and outdoor cooking spaces transformed into a long line of outdoor food vendors as the sun set on Marrakesh. Alexis, Amanda, Dale, Anna and I all found a lovely woman named Handi whose mother was the chef at their small unassuming stall. The entire place was packed and it was hard to squeeze into one of the narrow benches as a group of five. The struggle to manage a seat was well worth it once we began to order our food. A sweet older man came and gave us each a large round loaf of bread followed by a spicy red sauce that we were meant to use as a dipping sauce. This was then followed by an array of seafood that was unbelievably fresh and perfectly seasoned. We were all extremely pleased to have encountered such a lovely place to eat our dinner. The smoke coming from Handi’s mothers industrial size oven blew past our table and was met by the smoke of every other stall uniformly lined next to one another. Our stay in Marrakesh was off to a wonderful start.
Written by Elizabeth.