On June 17, 2013, Ivan, Lil Dave and I checked out of Riad Villa el Arsa.
At 11:30 am, we walked to our new accommodation called Riad Andalla. The lady only spoke French and gave us a letter from one of the owners named Christophe. The note said that he’d be back at 6:30 pm and it recommended a place for lunch with a map on the back. We filled out our forms with our passport numbers and other personal information.
Ivan and I used the free wi-fi in the lovely courtyard. A guy, who is co-owner and a friend of Christophe’s came to say hi, but he didn’t speak much English. He asked if it was our first time in Marrakesh and we said yes. He asked if we had eaten and we said Christophe recommended a place for us.
Our bags were placed in our room.
We all went to Henna Café for lunch. Ivan went here so I could get henna done on my hand. But, we both forgot that we were going to a hamman spa later.
I almost stepped on Prince Harry the tortoise. I didn’t know there was a tortoise walking around.
He was really fast for a tortoise.
Ivan got a Atay Louiza tea which had lemon verbena while I got an Atay Sheeba which was with wormwood/absinthium. Oops, I forgot that I don’t really like the taste of absinthe. My tea was really bitter and strong.. I really wasn’t a big fan. Lil Dave got a banana tea.
Ivan and I shared hummus, Henna Café sandwich (Moroccan street food with potato egg mix with seasoning) and a falafel sandwich. Lil Dave got a banana sandwich. The food was okay.
Lil Dave left to meet up with Reggie.. they were headed to the garden for general monkey business.
It was time to head to Hammam Ziani. Harvey Keitel has visited this traditional hammam. Ivan bought us both a spa package. The guy at reception said that there’s no reason to tip since it’s included in the price.
We went our separate ways to get our washing and massage done. I had a small lady take me to a changing room. She handed me black underwear. I always put on the underwear in the spas and it never seems to fit right or really cover everything too well. I hoped I had it on the right way.. but somehow it didn’t really feel right.
I was led to a room with only a cover on… also my weird black spa underwear underneath. I was washed with water by the small lady and then taken to the sauna. The lady didn’t speak much English, so I had to guess what she was saying in French.
The sauna had two girls already sitting down. I sat across from them. I wasn’t sure if they spoke English or not, so I just smiled. It turned out that I was right and they spoke Spanish. I’m glad the sauna wasn’t that hot. It had pretty colored lights coming in since the windows were all colored with green, yellow and red. There was a cloud of steam covering half of the room.
The girls left a few minutes later. The sauna has two levels, but I don’t like it too hot and stayed where I was sitting. The lady came back a few minutes later.. although, it seemed pretty long since I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I kept blowing into the steam and waving my arms around to move the steam around.
The lady scrubbed me down and then washed me. She held my hand, I think because I didn’t have my glasses on, and led me to the massage room. The room had the two other girls all oiled up already getting their massages on concrete tables.
I laid down and got a great massage. I do like some pressure since it works the sore muscles out. The lady was tiny, but she gave a powerful massage. Masseuses always seem to bend your legs in ways that you didn’t know was possible.
I went into the other room and laid down on the concrete table. The lady gave me a mud mask which the guy at reception gave me for free since I wanted a facial. I got my hair shampooed and my body got washed.
I went to go change. Another lady (not the lady who gave me my massage) opened my curtain and I was half naked… She didn’t care and said Tip. I said Yah to shut her up and hoped she’d close the curtain. But, that didn’t happen. She just stood there staring at me like I was going to get some Dirhams to tip her with. I said The tip is included and she shut the curtain. The nerve of some people to just open a curtain and demand a tip.
I put my clothes on and then headed to a waiting room where I was served mint tea. The two girls were sitting there sipping tea. I drank my tea and went to the front room to see if Ivan was done.
Ivan was in the room in his robe reading a magazine. He went to change and came out a few minutes later. Ivan had the same experience as me except with a guy massaging him. His guy also asked for a tip and he told him Tips are included. The guy made a Shh gesture, so he wouldn’t say anything. Ivan says that he read online that some people have gotten the people in trouble for asking for a tip.
The hammam spa experience was definitely good and relaxing. If you’re shy about being half naked around strangers, it’s probably not the best place for you to go. We felt really clean.
Ivan wanted to take a tour on a horse and carriage. He paid 100 dirhams for an hour.
The driver took us around Marrakesh where we saw a mosque, a hospital and a Louis Vuitton.
There’s not much to see around the square, but it was great to relax while being driven around in a horse and carriage.
Ivan and I walked back to our riad. Ivan said he met Christophe while I was in the room and said he looked like a French model.
Later, we headed up to the terrace for sunset. Ivan got a nice rosé, so we can drink it during sunset. Christophe came over to say hi. He’s really funny and quite the character. He loves living in Morocco since it’s blue skies and sunny all the time compared to where he lived in France. Christophe is very French and wears great clothing. He definitely could be a model like Ivan said earlier.
Ivan and I both agree that we couldn’t live in Morocco especially in Marrakesh. The medina (old town) is a bit much.. with all the motorbikes you have to avoid, along with the bicyclists and the horse and carriages. It’s a beautiful place with all the great colors and beautiful patterns. Lovely place to visit, but not suitable for us to live in.
We walked around the night market at Jemaa El-Fna square. You can get interesting foods at the market restaurant stalls like sheep’s head, brains and tongue.
I will definitely not be having that any time soon.
Our dinner was at the market stall #14. This market restaurant stall specializes in seafood. Ivan and I shared fish, calamari and more fish.
All the food was fried and tasted good.
Ivan and I headed back to our room in Riad Andalla which is a short walk from the square. The music from the Jemaa el-Fna square was loud.. I put my earplugs in before I went to sleep.