Last day in Marrakesh?

We went to bed last night with the news that the Spanish air traffic controllers had gone on a wildcat strike and most of the airports in Spain were closed.  I worried a bit about what would happen to our flight out to Madrid on Sunday and this morning when we woke up, there weren’t any new developments.  So with thoughts of possibly being stranded in Morocco, we set off on our day not knowing whether this would be our last day in Marrakesh.  Our plan for the day was to go see the sprawling 19th century Bahia palace and have a leisurely spa afternoon, and that’s what we did.

The palace was supposedly designed to accommodate the grand vizier’s 4 wives and 24 concubines, and I could see that it was done with a stylish flare.  Every inch of the palace was covered with something chiseled, tiled, or carved, and I enjoyed the quietness of the compound.

Chiseled walls of the Bahia Palace

It was so nice and quiet, and almost empty in certain parts, I did a little something…

@ Bahia Palace

We took a quick beverage break at the near by KosyBar where we sat on the rooftop and watched the world go by…  and a few storks fly around us.  It’s been rare to find alcoholic drinks in Marrakesh, especially in the old city so it was a nice afternoon treat.  We decided to walk through the souk before heading over to the spa, but since we only had about an hour or so we were careful not to go into too many side streets.  I can understand why it’s commonly described as a maze and a lot of people feel overwhelmed by it.  But I actually found the souk to be quite nice, clean, and fun.  I can only imagine how hot and stick it would be in August but with the temperature hovering around 70 degrees, I thought it was very pleasant.  I also find the vendors in Marrakesh not too pushy or harsh; I have been in much worse situations for sure.  There were certainly enough tagines, light fixtures, textiles, jewelry, and leather goods to fill several trucks but since I’m trying my best to move around light (and the fact that I no longer have a home), it was just all window shopping.

After a quick walk through the souk, we arrived at Les Bains de Marrakech to get ourselves pampered.  I had booked their traditional hammam and massage package a few months back thinking that it would be a nice thing to do on our last day in Marrakesh.  And I have to say, it was really perfect…  The whole experience was so decadent that we felt as if we were channeling the latest Sex in the City movie.  Looking at the small set of doors outside, you’d never imagine the spacious and luxurious spa that’s waiting inside.  We were guided silently from room to room and our first stop was the traditional Moroccan hammam.  I loved the smell of eucalyptus and the warmth of the sauna, and really appreciated the treatment but towards the end I was feeling a bit over-heated and was ready for a cold splash.  I was happy to move onto the massage… where I almost fell asleep a few times.  After our treatments, we were free to lounge about, drink some mint tea, eat cookies, and just relax.  With the soft Moroccan music playing in the background you could feel the stress just lift away….  Until you popped outside and faced the crowd again.  But the few hours we spent at the spa seemed to put a light haze over the crowd in Jemaa El Fna…

We ended our day with a nice rooftop dinner at Terrace des Espices and a glass of Moroccan cabernet back at the riad.  I haven’t felt this foreign somewhere in a long time and I absolutely loved this city and the wonderfully new things its given me.  They’re now saying that the air traffic controllers in Spain are being forced to go back to work but there is still a chance I won’t make it out to Madrid tomorrow.  I know that I would normally be a bit freaked out by this situation but oddly enough, I feel really calm.  If I can’t leave tomorrow, I think I’d welcome the chance to see what else is here…

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