One of the hazards of trying to squeeze in so much great stuff in a limited amount of time is the risk of both physical and mental overload.
The tour in the Atlas Mountains was amazing and both visually and intellectually stimulating and sometimes it takes a bit just to appreciate both the significance and the magnitude of what you have seen.
I did get out in the evening for a great dinner, in spite of being a bit lost!
After another peaceful breakfast on the terrace Mustapha arrived at 9:00 and we sat and talked about the day.
First on the list is the Ben Youssef Madrassa – an Islamic college that was founded in the 14th century and current facility was constructed in the 16th century and housed 130 students. The school was closed in 1960, not bad – operating for 400 years.
The Madrassa was reopened in 1982 and is said to be one of the best examples Islamic Architecture.
Here are a few snaps from the morning.
From there we headed to the tannery. Although I have been told of the many tannery scams in Marrakech and someone approached me I walked back to the car to meet Mustapha. He rescued me just in time!
We drove to the tannery with again had been operating in it’s current format for hundreds of years. Each process of cleaning, preparation and dyeing is done in permanently constructed ‘vats’.
From the cleaning to drying in the sun, either on the rooftop or in the courtyard.
There was a full array of natural pigments used in the dyeing process.
The tannery is run as a co-op for 60 families, who’s ancestors came down from the Atlas Mountains to tan and make their leather products.
The tannery does have the reputation of being pretty foul smelling, so much so that upon entering you are handed a fistful of fresh mint to hold by your nose and mouth. I have always said that I am a lucky guy and once again it proved true, the cooler weather had the smell hovering right around Minnesota State Fair livestock levels.
Of course after the explanation of the tanning process and a bit of history is the showroom and push to sell you something / anything.
No pressure Mr. Paul, we just want to show you all that we do here! If you believe that, they’ve got you.
I will say the work was really nice and at least based on prices that I have seen are not too unreasonable. We moved away from the handbags, cushions and slippers, none of which appealed to me and on to the jackets.
As luck would have it, I have been looking for a jacket. I tried on several and although they had the cut and style of a moto jacket, the leather was so soft, I doubt that I will ever wear it will riding. We went back and forth on the price and I relatively sure I probably paid too much, but it felt good to me.
Our final stop of the morning was the Jardin Morjelle. Originally created over a 40-year period by French Painter Jacques Morjelle, is truly like stepping into and an oasis in the desert.
As Majorelle traveled he expanded the garden surrounding his workshop with plants he would acquire around the world. Subsequent to Majorelle’s death the property was acquired by Designer Yves Saint Laurent and was his residence.
Jardin Majorelle is now a public museum and one of the most visited spots in Marrakech.
It’s popularity made photos without a throng of people a bit challenging.
I hope these few images convey a bit of the peace and cooler temperatures of the garden, oops Jardin.
After a stop for lunch and coffee we headed back to Riad El Mansour. Mustapha dropped me off and before I headed down the street remembering LEFT, RIGHT, RIGHT, I stopped and met Omar the Spice Merchant. He invited me in, which I knew was a set up for buying something and likely over priced.
Another great day!