Thursday, May 24, 2012

on a magic carpet ride

Day 2 - We had another early start on our second day in Marrakech because we were eager to explore more of the city.  Fittingly, I chose to wear my new Aladdin-style pants today.  After enjoying breakfast, tea, and coffee on the terrace again, we left the riad in search of the Badi Palace, a recently resurrected palace that dates to the sixteenth century.

The feeling of awe that I felt standing amongst all of this history combined with the glorious Moroccan sun, which was now high in the sky, inspired me to take some photos.

We also marveled at the interior of the structure, wondering what this place might have looked like during its' time, with all of its' opulence and glory.

Finishing at the palace, we moved to the next item on our list of things to do today.  Ever since I had booked my ticket to Morocco over two months prior, I had this image in my head of me riding a camel through the Sahara Desert.  Now, Alexis and I were in search of camels so that I could bring this dream to fruition.  After negotiating with a cab driver, we drove out of the city walls of the medina to La Palmeraie.  Here, we did not have to search for long until we found a group of gentlemen waiting with a small herd - if that is the correct word - of camels.  As with all things in Marrakech, we negotiated a priced and were then suited up for our ride.  I could not have been happier.

We agreed on a twenty minute ride, and, at the end of our time, I must admit that I was glad to slide off the camel's back.  
We returned back to town, thoroughly pleased with our last experience but still ready to see more of the city.  Feeling ambitious, we decided to walk to our next destination, even though it was quite far.  The Jardin Majorelle, which once belonged to Yves Saint Laurent, was our last stop of the day.  By the time that we arrived, we were both parched from the powerful desert sun.  Luckily, when we entered the garden, we found a magnificent oasis that made it all worth it.

The garden was massive, and we took our time to enjoy its' peace and tranquility.  More than anything, this place was a much appreciated change from the busy souks in the medina.  As I wandered along the winding paths, I wondered how many hours Yves Saint Laurent himself spent enjoying this garden.  This place certainly must have been the highest source of inspiration for his work.  As we walked past his memorial, I paid my respects to an artist.

The day before, I could not have imagined how this place could have possible become more magical, but this day completely exceeded my expectations.  After a long day, Alexis and I returned to the riad and sat up on the rooftop terrace again, enjoying the sunset.  Despite the nighttime revelry taking place outside of our door, this place was surprising quiet and a perfect way to end the day.  I went to sleep, dreading the thought that tomorrow was my final day in this exotic place.  Just for now though, I pushed this thought from my mind and let myself drift away on a magic carpet ride as I fell asleep.