Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Marrakesh-Menara Gardens

Marrakesh has lots of gardens. One I really like is that outside the Kotoubia where local people congregate at dusk for the passagio. The Agdal and the Palmerie are vast and best explored by bike, a skill I'm missing; but the one on all the tourist posters at the eponymous airport and synomynous with the town is the Menara.
It consists of an olive grove around a huge water cistern. There is and 18c pavilion (10Dh entry) which usually houses contempory art for sale. The first time we went was mid-week in the winter and it was deserted, but go on a Spring weekend and it is buzzing. All the parking on the road is taken and you have a long trek to the entrance. Opposite are camels, ponies, horses and caleches just waiting for someone to ride them. Just outside the entrance are stall selling doughnuts, drinks, candyfloss and sweets. The hat stalls start there and line the avenue up to the pool. There are more camels, balloonsellers, toy stalls, silly hats and Tshirt vendors. Every bench along the avenue is taken and families sit in the shade of the olive trees and picnic. Small children are outrageously indulged. Most people seem to get as far of the pool and stop but the fitter and hardier take a turn round the lake.

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