What a city! Tourist laden but for good reason and, oh, so cool!
We had to meet our tour group for the first time at 6:00 p.m. so had the day to wander. We headed to the medina along one of the main modern boulevards, through clean spacious plazas surrounded by low rise, sophisticated condos, stores and government buildings. A park full of interesting art installations was green, clean and cared for. Culture shock!
|We happened to be in Marrakech on the weekend of their marathon. Could have been in Toronto...|
|except for the tea vendor. Starbucks was down the street.|
|As bike fans, we liked this one. Great way to recycle. Note green lawns, lack of garbage caught in bushes. There is money here to care for public spaces.|
|And then there was the wall of tits - as a former, sexual health educator, I prefer "breasts" but somehow it doesn't fit. Very risqué in an Islam country where revealing knees and shoulders are frowned on by many.|
|Koutoubia Mosque. Buildings in Morocco are not allowed to be taller than the local mosque dating from the 12th century.|
|The mosque uses solar energy. A city of contrasts - new sophistication side by side with ancient history. Impressive!|
|Just a bit of bread! Bread or something similar is served with every meal. All different shapes, sizes, consistencies and grains. All fresh. A large loaf is about a dime.|
|A cart of rugs heading to the rug souk. Each of the major locally made items had their own labyrinth of alleys in a particular area.|
|These homemade toques in the hat area were great. Wish I'd bought one.|
We had watched Jamie Oliver in Marrakech before leaving Monastir and so knew there were communal bread makers and tajine cookers around. We kept seeing children and women carrying wooden boards of something covered with a cloth all quickly on the move. They weren't trying to sell but seemed very purposeful and fast. I spied one and followed around a couple of corners into the bread bakery. There were loaves waiting to be baked and others being picked up from shelves by women and children. Each was marked on the top with an identifying family dough mark. Very cool!
|The baker welcomed us in to take a look. The dough waiting to be baked were all wrapped in the household tea towels. Communal bakery. Great idea!|
Agains, from Jamie we knew that people also cooked their tajine's in the hot ashes where some poor guy is stoking the fire to heat water for the local hammams or hot baths (more about that later - I've been to two in Monastir). Mary, our cruising friend, spied a dark stairway. We peaked down to see a man at the bottom of ash covered stairs. He was stoking the fire with wood chips for the water. And around the corner, lo and behold, were two tajine pots cooking away.
|This guy welcomed us to his basement furnace - what a job.|
|Apparently, this method of cooking lunch is popular with the bachelors is the medina.|
|He earned his dirhams.|