Morocco 2014 - The Souks
The main attraction in Marrakesh is without a doubt the Souks. I first came across the Souks in an Alfred Hitchcock movie - The Men Who Knew Too Much, and it left a strong impression. Ever since that movie Marrakesh has been on my bucket list, and it is great to finally be able to visit this fabled city.
The Souks happen upon you quite suddenly. One minute you are walking on a street full of cars and people, and the next minute you are in the narrow and intoxicating alleys of the Souks. The intensity of colours, sounds and sights are quite disorienting at first, and it takes a while to get your bearings - and that is part of the fun. This feels like a place to get lost in - though the guide repeatedly warns against it with stories of pick-pockets and scam artists. Yet strangely the Souks feel safer than Paris or Barcelona - where you can sense the menace on quiet deserted streets.
Like all traditional markets - the Souks are a collection of bazaars selling all kinds of things under the sun. There are sections for housewares, carpets, iron work, leather goods, clothing, brass lanterns, etc. If you plan on shopping - go with cash as credit cards are not currency here - and you would want to avoid getting scammed. It reminds me of Chatuchat in Bangkok - but a hundred times more interesting due to the ancient architecture and exotic smells and colours.
Some of the most interesting parts of the Souks are the areas covered with timber canopies, which throw beautiful patterns on the floor.