Opening Times
Mon-Thursday 9am-6pm
Friday 9am-5pm
Saturday 9am-2pm
Bank Holidays 10am-4pm

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 12:00 AM

One Day in Marrakech

What a perfect day – I’m staying at Riad Cinnamon and I’ve just had the most wonderful day. Riad Cinnamon is an above average riad in the Marrakech Medina, a short walk north from the souks.

My Holiday Day Starts With Birdsong

I wake early - the morning call to prayer was at around 5.30 but its melodious not harsh and is also short-lived - but I'm soon into a deep sleep as there’s no other noise. My room is dark and I’m only faintly aware of the cook coming into the riad later (the doorbell sound is a very subtle bird-song), so I wake properly at 7.30 – late for me as I have young kids at home who normally wake me earlier.

I’ve chosen to have breakfast on the roof terrace and, whilst the breakfast is as one comes to expect in Morocco (simple, tasty and wonderful – fresh juice, fresh bread, fresh fruit salad), the coffee is simply superb and served with a welcoming smile (the staff here, led by Abdou the general manager, are wonderful).

The only sounds are of bird song until almost 9am, when a little city noise starts but it is so gentle that the bird song almost drowns it out. The warmth is gentle at this time in late August, certainly gathering pace but not enough to cause me any discomfort. The only slight annoyance is the low cloud (a little rain to clear this in due course would be welcome) obscuring the High Atlas mountains to the south and a fly who likes to sit on my foot - I grin and bear it and enjoy my leasurely start.

The Holiday Heats Up

After that I wander the souks. People watching shopping at home is fun, but in the souks is exponentially better – every nationality encountered by skilled shop keepers – and my gentle stroll takes me all around town from the busier parts close to the main square to the quieter parts further away. It is hot, somewhere in the late 30s deg C and fairly humid, but it just keeps my pace slow rather than forcing me home.

Lunch is a the Henna Café although the Kefta kebab at Chez Abdelhay (near Cinnamon) the next day is equally recommended and, in the early evening, I have a peaceful beer and olives on the roof terrace of Café Arab (MHD 55 for a Casablanca beer and olives) before returning to the riad for my evening meal.

Salad Days

Miriam is the cook at Cinnamon and she has worked wonders. Tajines aren’t just tajines, and my lamb and prune tajine is excellent, but its not that that I rave about – it’s the salads beforehand. 4 salads that I think are based on aubergine, courgette, cabbage/ apple and finally rice, which are simply the best I’ve tasted in many weeks (spread over several years) in Morocco. The Maison Anglaise in Taroudant also has to have a mention for excellent food, but right now I can still taste Miriam's cooking.

With a light pudding (seems like a crème brulee without the brulee) and fruit to finish I just can’t finish everything and force myself to stop whilst I can still walk.

A gentle stroll later in the day before bed as the locals enjoy the cooler late evening air, absorbing the atmosphere of the Jemaa el Fnaa just caps off a wonderfully relaxing day, the last call to prayer of the day at 9pm signalled my time to head home. I just wish I had a couple of days to follow up in the High Atlas to complete my relaxation.

A couple of days in Marrakech have a lot to say for itself – touristy perhaps but definitely relaxing - combine it with another destination and you have the makings of a fantastic week's holiday.