Last time I have been to Marrakech was around 4 years ago. I miss this city so much! But when I have the opportunity to go there, even for 120 minutes only, I seize it! On my way to Essaouira, my train terminates in Marrakech from where I took a coach 2 hours later. I quickly elaborated a plan on what to do during my quick stopover in Morocco’s first tourist destination.
7am, departure from Casablanca L’Oasis train station. Taking the train in Morocco felt like a brand new experience again as I haven’t been travelling in Moroccan trains for a while. But it was my best way of transport as I was alone. Packed from Casablanca to Marrakech, the train was definitely taking on board people going to Essaouira for ‘Gnaoua Festival’ or to Marrakech for ‘Marrakech Du Rire’. 3 hours exactly on board, the train terminates in Marrakech train station which is my favourite train station in Morocco!
10 am, I had to make quick decisions on things to do in 2 hours before getting the coach at noon. I firstly try to find lockers in the station to leave my bag and go light to explore the city. Unfortunately, ONCF (Moroccan Rail) did not think about lockers in station for travellers switching for buses or who simply need a safe place to leave their stuff. But no problem at all as my bag was not huge! 15 minutes wasted in that, I go outside to get a taxi.
10.15am, I ask the taxi to take me to Jamaa Lfna Square. The heart of the imperial city where I know I will not get bored! I walk around for a little while but something feels different… It’s quiet and empty. I get to a café with a panoramic view over the square and the Old Town. It was fantastic! I took a cold drink to refresh from the morning heat and I ask the guy: “Why is it so empty?” He said that I have probably never been there in the morning (which was true) as it gets crowded in late afternoon just before sun sets. Indeed, I remember that nights are the peak hours in there! Lot of people who come there after the burning sun of Marrakech. It is a great place for entertainment, food and shopping!
11am, time to walk around the Old Town. I start from a random gate and get lost just as I like doing it. I got into a very touristy street but it was beautiful that I did not really mind. It was under the shadow with some small rays of sun that makes the setting very special. Lot of sounds around there, from people selling clothes, food, spices, decorations, souvenirs… I was at the heart of the Old Town. But time was running, I would have stayed longer otherwise!
11.30am, I leave the Old Town toward the Koutoubia Mosque. I have been approached by some British guys who wanted me to take their picture with this monument. They were confused that I was living in London, I came from Morocco and I was visiting Marrakech. Anyway, I take some pictures there and I get closer to this mosque built many many years ago.
11.45, I take a taxi back to the ONCF station. I take a quick lunch there and I walk my way to the CTM station which is less than 10 minutes walk from the train station. The bus actually leaves at 12.30pm but just by precaution that I allowed myself 2 hours in Marrakech so not to miss the charming city of Essaouira!