04 Jun2010

Madrid & Marrakech…

by Marketman

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These are the books that currently reside on the side table of our “reading” chair. Yes, we have been planning a trip to Madrid and Marrakech for months… We decided on these destinations long before it became public that the latest sequel in the “Sex and The City” franchise was partially filmed in Marrakech, and that is expected to result in a boom in tourism to the exotic city. We watched the movie (which received horrible reviews by most critics, and I agree with them) just to see if there were any sights or things to do in Marrakech that we shouldn’t miss… frankly, the movie didn’t help much. So back to the guide books for ideas… I also pulled out all of our Spanish and Moroccan cookbooks for food ideas. We would love to hear from readers… If you have been to either of these cities lately, would you care to share any tips, insider information, places to eat, things to see and do? MM and family would greatly appreciate your comments, and while we definitely won’t be able to do everything in just a few days in each location, we don’t want to miss anything really wonderful. We know, we know, this is a really HOT time to be visiting either of these cities, but we are hostage to school holidays. Also, a last minute freak accident has one of us in a cast, which almost cancelled the trip completely, but instead we will have to take this at a very relaxed pace, with less walking if possible… Thanks in advance for any tips you might have. A special thanks to reader Jen Laceda for her wonderful article on Marrakech, recently published in the Philippine edition of Town & Country, here.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Betchay says:

    Oh wow!….cannt wait to hear about your upcoming trip as we do plan to go there too late this year or next year.I hope to pick lots of tips from you.And whoever is in that cast,get well soon,take it easy and hopefully and with God’s help you can still enjoy your trip.:)

    Jun 4, 2010 | 12:22 pm

     
  2. Ric says:

    I have always looked at Fodor’s for tips and first hand travel accounts. You may want to take a look here – http://www.fodors.com/community/africa-the-middle-east/moroccotrip-reportrecommendations.cfm This link holds a detailed report on a recent trip.
    Have fun on your trip!

    Jun 4, 2010 | 12:38 pm

     
  3. shane says:

    Madrid! One of my favorite cities! My most memorable chocolate con churros experience was at Chocolaterìa San Ginès off the pedestrian zone of Calle Arenal. There is a small street to the side of the San Ginès Church leading to this institution which was established in the 1890s. The combo costs around 3-4euros? (if i recall right…)

    Chocolateria San Gines
    off Calle del Arenal
    Horario:
    * Lunes y martes de 18.00 a 7.00 horas
    * Miércoles a domingo de 10.00 a 7.00 horas
    Address:
    Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5
    28013 Madrid
    Metro:
    Opera – Sol
    Phone:
    91 365 65 46

    Jun 4, 2010 | 12:50 pm

     
  4. kurzhaar says:

    We were in Madrid briefly this winter. Had an excellent meal at Casa Lucio, and a memorable tapas crawl through the Chueca neighbourhood (sorry, the only place-name I recall is El Bocaito). The Mercado de San Miguel (not huge but fun nonetheless…check out the bacalao shop! and the cookbook store). The Museo del Vino was recommended highly by friends but no time on this trip to check it out.

    Jun 4, 2010 | 1:32 pm

     
  5. Dr Nick says:

    Marrakech is probably going to be scorching hot and absolutely packed with tourists. It can easily reach temperatures of 45 degrees C. from July onwards. What’s worst is that school kids will be off on summer holiday, so they’ll probably harass you as well. Rent a car and head out to the Atlas mountains, find a Berber tribe and have a cup of tea with them with fresh figs.

    Just came back from Madrid where it was already over 30 degrees – fortunately unlike the Philippines it’s dry heat – but still not very comfortable to be doing a lot of sightseeing. Avoid the Rastro market – packed with people and not much more than a glorified Camden market (but without the emo kids).

    Jun 4, 2010 | 3:50 pm

     
  6. denise says:

    hi MM…Marrakech was used for the film as stand in for Abu Dhabi…and yes it will be HOT

    Jun 4, 2010 | 4:24 pm

     
  7. quiapo says:

    The world’s oldest restaurant is in Madrid, with an oven that has been in constant use since the 17th century. Their cochinillo would interest you, but they are particularly noted for their roast lamb. If I can find the menu I took away with me, I’ll note the name and address.

    Jun 4, 2010 | 5:12 pm

     
  8. naghihingalo says:

    Marketman, here are two very local, little-known neighborhood type places you may enjoy in Madrid:

    1. La Freiduría de Gallinejas, on Embajadores 84. This is NOT an elegant place, and it´s in one of Madrid´s less trendy neighborhoods. Their specialty is lamb intestines and other laman loob, deep fried in olive oil. Analagous to our chicharon bulaklak. Not the healthiest stuff, I´ll grant you– but it´s quite delicious. They fry to order- so the stuff will come to you piping hot and crisp.

    2. Ribeira do Miño, on Santa Brígida 1, which goes between two of Madrid´s most enjoyable streets to stroll- Hortaleza and Fuencarral. Their specialty is Galician seafood platters- crab, shrimp, clams, and percebes- at significantly lower prices than average. They also have a good selection of Galician white wines. This place is usually packed so reservations are a good idea.

    Not a restaurant, but one of my favorite places to go in Madrid was a bar called Soleá, Cava Baja 27. The best description I can think of of this place is a karaoke flamenco bar. They have one or two people playing flamenco guitar music, and patrons stand up and sing, occasionally clap in rhythm, but they usually don´t dance. Warning, though: this may well be the smokiest bar in Madrid.

    If you want to get away from tourist trail, a fun place to enjoy the wonderful late summer nights is the area directly east of the Centro Cultural Conde Duque. Full of bars and restaurants, lively, and, considering how central its location is, surprisingly untouristed.

    Jun 4, 2010 | 6:47 pm

     
  9. butchz says:

    Hi MM

    Went to Marrakech last year for a short 4D/3N visit. No visa required for Filipinos. RP’s blistering summer this year will help you adjust to the high temperatures of this wonderful city.

    Jemaa al fna –
    It’s a large square full of people especially as the evening approaches- snake charmers, monkey trainers, and other dizzying circus-like acts. Be discriminate in taking pictures because they sometimes charge you. When thirsty due to the heat, throngs of carts with oranges are spread all over the plaza selling cold freshly-squeezed orange juice, saraaaaap! (not too hygienic but it’s difficult to be choosy). Lots of al fresco restaurants serving local food- all offering very interesting sights, smells, and tastes! This is a convenient way to start your culinary exploration of the city.

    Jardin Majorelle
    Beautiful beautiful garden owned by YSL and partner. YSL was buried there. Must visit, lots and lots of photo ops.

    The Souks
    You will be lost in amazement as you walk around narrow paths with many stores offering exotic products from spices to dyes.

    Since you are an Aman resorts fan, Amanjena or an institution like La Mamounia should be your top choice. We stayed in a riad inside the medina – still expensive and still very nice place to stay. The proprietor is the consul of Malta but very hospitable.

    Caleches (horse-drawn carriages) or Mercedes Benz taxis (shared with other locals) is your way to go to explore the city. Caleches are expensive and MB taxis have no meters and you have to negotiate every time. Mrs MM should be able to handle that with her fluency in French.

    Deep pockets will really ensure a nice and more comfortable stay in Marrakech. Enjoy!

    Jun 4, 2010 | 7:00 pm

     
  10. Rona Y says:

    Not food related, but when you go to the Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech (and you will–everyone does!), be careful with the performers. If you even glance in their direction, one of the touts will ask you for money and they will be *very* aggressive. Even if you give them money, if you don’t give enough, they’ll ask for more and more.

    And taxi drivers in Marrakech often (usually) charge usurious rates to tourists and refuse to use the meter! Luckily Mrs. MM speaks French fluently, so she can argue with them. If I were to do it again, I’d hire a car and driver rather than deal with the hassle of the taxi drivers.

    If you do a camel ride in the desert, one day is really enough. We did a three-day trek and while it was a wonderful experience seeing the beautiful sunset on Christmas Eve, I was sore for weeks after. :-)

    Finally, food. You may hear that you can’t get good Moroccan food in restaurants in Morocco. Well, it’s true. Most of the food in restaurants in a pale version of what you can get in people’s homes. I hope you can stay in a good riad where the food is a little more like home-cooked. They’re very expensive, but it’s worth it!

    And the food at the stalls in the Djemaa el Fna is quite good too! Grilled meat, freshly squeezed orange juice. . . what more do you need in life? Don’t forget that you can refuse the little “appetizers” (olives, etc.) if you want. If you don’t, you’ll be charged for them whether you eat them or not.

    Jun 4, 2010 | 7:56 pm

     
  11. GayeN says:

    What a coincidence! I was watching Mario Batali’s(w/ Gwyneth Paltrow) road trip in Spain and kinda hoped that you feature Spain here. =) Here’s the show’s website: http://www.spainontheroadagain.com/ . Haven’t visited it though since my internet is kinda slow tonight.

    Oh no! Who’s in a cast?

    Jun 4, 2010 | 8:22 pm

     
  12. Delia says:

    The following blog entries from Trissalicious (their family owns El Comedor) might interest you:

    http://trissalicious.com/2010/04/13/a-pilgrimage-in-madrid/
    http://trissalicious.com/2010/04/19/the-new-madrid/

    Jun 4, 2010 | 8:54 pm

     
  13. Marketman says:

    Delia, thank you for that link, such a WONDERFUL blog and spot on entries about Madrid! Thanks. GayeN, yes, I saw most of that series… Rona and butchz, thanks for those tips! naghihingalo, thank you! gosh, I wonder how much eating I can do in such a short time! quiapo, El Botin or something like that is the name I think, it’s in the trissalicious post. denise, 103F today in Marrakech, and we won’t be there for another few weeks! At least it still cools down to 65F in the early mornings! Dr. Nick, we won’t be in Madrid on a Sunday, so now I am not so sad about that as I was sure it was a market day… khurzaar, thanks for those suggestions! shane, ah, how could we not have churros? Thanks Ric.

    Jun 4, 2010 | 9:40 pm

     
  14. Mila says:

    I foresee a suitcase full of preserved lemons, saffron, pimenton, harissa….maybe a new tagine? Oh and mint tea!

    Jun 4, 2010 | 10:27 pm

     
  15. pinkytab says:

    We visited Madrid after going to Alhambra and Toledo and I must say Madrid did not compare to the other two. I love love love Alhambra.

    Jun 5, 2010 | 12:04 am

     
  16. Lava Bien says:

    You have to spend time of course in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor (same case for every major city in Spain)..best to go to Madrid around end of summer as Madrid is almost empty especially on weekends. Madrid has no major water attraction so everybody and their mother in Spain go to the coast from Andalucia to Barcelona. You’ll definitely hit Andalucia or Southern Spain if you’re going to Morocco unless you’re flying from Madrid to Morroco, though I think Marrakech is a tourist trap, I hope you guys have fun. Mrs. MM would definitely be able to use her French as they do not really speak English there.

    Jun 5, 2010 | 12:54 am

     
  17. tnm says:

    Was just leafing thru the latest Saveur issue (The Market Issue). On pages 103-104, “12 Memorable Market Meals”, Item No. 8:Mechoui at Djemaa el Fna Market in Marrakech. Whole lamb pit roasted with cumin and salt.

    On the same list is our very own Banana Cue, Puerto Princesa Market.

    Jun 5, 2010 | 2:08 am

     
  18. charlie says:

    Hi Mr MM avoid your stay in Marrakech during the Gnaoua Music Festival(June 24-27 2010). I was in Morocco 2 years ago to attend and photograph this event. The taxi drivers will charge you horrendous rates. Try the MB taxis and share with others to some destination.

    Jun 5, 2010 | 2:58 am

     
  19. Crissy says:

    La Mallorquina off of Plaza del Sol. Try the original ensaimada (although I like the Filipino adaptation better.) Cochinillo from Segovia. Place Condol in Barcelona. Txangguro stuffed piquillo peppers in San Sebastian. And if your just want to chill out in your hotel room, rather than brave the smoky bars, pick up sanwiches surtidos and other tapas at the deli section of Corte Ingles. Will remind you of your lola’s meriendas.
    Have a good time.

    Jun 5, 2010 | 4:40 am

     
  20. netoy says:

    MM – Do you have any plan to visit the famed El Bulli restaurant by Ferran Adria? If so, review please. This is in my bucket list…. Have a nice and safe trip!!!

    Jun 5, 2010 | 5:03 am

     
  21. marilen says:

    La, la, la – on the road to Morocco and Espana! Looks like you are getting some good info from your far flung friends , and that fanstastic stack of books on your bedside stand!! I have as much fun reading up and planning for the trip – and I know you do, too. Hope all is going well with the one in the family who is in a cast. Have a wonderful and safe trip and we hope to hear about all the details.

    Jun 5, 2010 | 5:27 am

     
  22. NidaFe Ortego says:

    Madrid was most definitely steaming when we were there last summer: tshirts with E=mc2 (Espana=mucho calor2 ) were being proffered by street hawkers but hot as it was there, it wasn’t nearly quite as hot as Seville!! And we didn’t find the best cochinillo in Madrid but found it instead in Segovia… but then again, it’s a matter of taste & preference.

    Jun 5, 2010 | 7:16 am

     
  23. Mom-Friday says:

    Have a great vacation and looking forward to your posts on those wonderful destinations.
    I was just about to suggest my friend’s links when I started reading, but glad you found Jen’s site as she wrote extensively about Marrakech, among other cities around the world.

    Jun 5, 2010 | 10:19 am

     
  24. Jen Laceda says:

    Thanks, Mr. Marketman for the mention!! I LOVE Marrakech. For more inspiration, please check out my friend, American expat, and book author Maryam Montague’s blog, “My Marrakech”. She and her charming family also run a newly-opened guesthouse, Peacock Pavilions, in an olive farm just outside the city proper.

    We stayed inside Marrakech’s medina, which would probably be most suitable for you guys if walking might be a problem for your injured companion. We stayed at a lovely riad in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, Riad Dar One (I have photos on my blog). Dar One is about 7-10 minutes walk to Djemaa El-Fna, depending on your mood, or construction around the roads, etc.

    I read some comments above, and yes, they are accurate. It’s all part of the Moroccan experience :), so patience is a virtue. Also, bargain, bargain, bargain everywhere – the souks, taxis, tours…

    For food, the night stands at the Djemaa El-Fna is an excellent experience, although not necessarily the best food around. For a quick, cheap, yummy tagine, head to Chez Chegrouni – everyone’s favourite budget restaurant near the square. For more upscale food, Dar Yarcout is one of the top restaurants in Marrakech serving nouveau and traditional Moroccan with a twist of French (worth the price tag).

    Lastly, bring an extra suitcase for the spoils! Shopping in the souks is truly, truly unforgettable. But anyway, if you can’t fit anything in your suitcase (such as lanterns, antique doors and windows, etc.), the shops can ship anywhere in the world :)

    Shoot me an email if you need specific details, etc. Have a great weekend!

    -Jen Laceda

    Jun 5, 2010 | 7:40 pm

     
  25. Jen Laceda says:

    P.S. There’s a good food market in Madrid that rival’s Barcelona’s Boqueria (but which I forgot the name). A few side trips you may want to consider from Madrid is Segovia and Toledo.

    Side trips from Marrakech: Essaouira – although only 180 km away, travel time may take up to 3 hours (Supra Tour air-conditioned bus is the most convenient). Essaouira is one lovely laid back beach town (photos on my blog again under “Essaouira” tags). After all, this is the town of Bob Marley, Jim Morrison AND the ancient salt caravans from Timbuktu! Seafood in Essaouira is super fresh! You’ll love it there.

    I’ll try and post more on Essaouira – just beautiful. I can’t stop singing its praises. We stayed in an elegant colonial maison d’hote in the outskirts of the (small) medina: Villa de l’O.

    Cheers,
    -Jen Laceda

    Jun 5, 2010 | 7:50 pm

     
  26. sha says:

    OH MM am here in Valencia, 45 mins plane ride wouldnt it be wonderful to meet you in Madrid? But alas we are leaving for Italy will be back September.

    Jun 5, 2010 | 10:09 pm

     
  27. Ivan Man Dy says:

    MM,

    For an introductory taste of Madrid, there is a walking tour outfit called Walks of Spain which has tours at night (sans the heat). A bit pricey (50 Euros if I remember correctly) and it takes the sights of Old Madrid at the same time checking out the eating places in the area. Think the BIG Binondo Food WOK done at 7 PM.

    The following cities can be done as day tour from Madrid: Avila, Toledo, Segovia, Cuenca and the San Lorenzo de Escorial Palace.

    In Marrakech, there is a hop-on-hop-off service which gives a nice overview of the pink city (both old and new), its worth the fee. For eats, you’ll probably find yourself at Djemma Al’ Fenna which the city’s most visited square. It’s a combined perya/carnival/dampa /turo-turo experience but with a distinctly Morrocan/African vibe. Things you can eat there: creamy goats brain and escrgots (among others) Remember, all the street shows there have fees. Be ready to fork out dinars when you take a photo!

    In Essouira, try their sardines.

    Jun 6, 2010 | 8:42 pm

     
  28. Ma. Paz Narvaez says:

    The Riad Enija in Marrakech is a beautiful place to stay in. Tastefully decorated by the Danish architect and Swiss interior decorator owners, they also serve excellent food. The only catch is that the entrance is a very narrow lane, you walk in rather than ride. They have porters who will bring in your luggage with a pull trolley from the main road.
    El Bulli may not be open next year. Ferran Adria has announced a temporary closure of the restaurant at Rosas so your best bet is to go to the Madrid restaurant of one of his students, Sergi Arola – Arola Madrid, 43 Argumosa,Madrid (www.arola-madrid.com) Tel. (34)91 467 0202.
    For the best Arroz Abanda (moist paella), Arroz Caldoso or Fideua, go to La Barraca – Reina Street, 29, Madrid
    Tel. (34)91 532 7154
    For tapas, go to Jose Luis – Serrano 89, Madrid. Tel: (34) 91 563 0958 or La Trucha – Manuel Fernandez Gonzalez, 38 – 33 (Near Plaza de las Cortes) , Tel.(34) 91 429 5833
    Have a wonderful time in your travels. Stay away from tourist guides in Marrakech, they prefer to show you their favorite carpet suppliers rather than the tourist spots. Their carpet suppliers are not always reliable shippers.

    Jun 6, 2010 | 9:30 pm

     
  29. bea says:

    Casa Lucio–revueltos chistorra (la latina)—go on a tapas crawl in this area, cava baja, la latina (metro stop)
    Taberna Matritum—cava baja, good wine bar that serves great seared foie eat this here then go to the diff tapas bars on that street!
    Casa Minggo–very old and rustic—pollo y chorizo al sidra
    tapas crawl in plaza santa ana (and off it on the side streets )–el abuelo (gambas), zapatero (rabo del toro), san antonio…etc……
    Lateral–modern tapas bar
    bardemcillo (restaurant of javier bardem’s family!)
    el botin for cuchinillo….
    mesons under the plaza mayor!
    Since it’s hot, go to Gian grossi (argentinian gelateria)—they have in cava baja, serrano, near sol etc…..must try flavours dulce de leche, amargo (super dark chocolate flavor)….

    In Maroc, a day or overnight desert tour is an experience—-you will see the life of the berbers…the camel ride, night under the stars etc…your riad or hotel can arrange it for you…

    Jun 6, 2010 | 11:38 pm

     
  30. amaya says:

    Hi MM! Some of my favorites in Madrid:
    El Paraguas (Calle Jorge Juan)- Asturian food in Barrio Salamanca. Try the croquetas de fabada
    El Bocaito (Calle Libertad)- Jamon Iberico de Bellota, Cecina, freidura Malaguena and pescaito en adobo
    El Fogon del Trifon (Calle Ayala 144 914 023 794 =34 http://www.elfogondetrifon.com)- stuffed pimientos de piquillo, chipirones encebollados, rabo de toro and gin and tonics! It’s a small restaurant and it’s always full so make sure to reserve.
    Meson Cinco Jotas- they have a number of restaurants (one in Pza Sta Ana). Aside from the jamon, try the Salmorejo.
    Plaza Santa Ana- great terrazas (Lateral or any of the other ones) to sit outside in the summer. Try a clara con limon (shandy made with beer and fanta limon)- better than water to beat the summer heat!
    Fundacion La Caixa and Museo Sorolla (reminds me a little of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum)
    Calles Fuencarral and Hortaleza- the teen will enjoy these streets!
    For alpargatas- casa crespo (divino pastor 29) or off of plaza mayor on Calle Toledo, Casa Hernanz
    Have a great time!!

    Jun 7, 2010 | 12:03 pm

     
  31. Bertie B says:

    I strongly recommend Marrakech. We were there almost exactly a year ago – myself, wife & 9 yr old daughter. We loved it.

    Yes it gets hot during the day at this time of year but the evenings can be a very agreeable temperature once the sun goes down. Much less humid than here.

    I would strongly recommend staying in a riad in the medina even if your budget runs to the fancy hotels which are indeed beautiful. The riads – boutique hotels in large converted old town houses with courtyards – are mostly beautifully restored and give you a much more authentic impression of the city. Prices range from cheap to as expensive as a 5* hotel but worth it. Another plus is that many of them have good local cooks who are happy to cook whatever local dish you like &, I would suspect, be very happy to prepare your market spoils in an authentic manner – or give cookery demonstrations. We enjoyed the cuisine. I’m sure you know the dishes you want to try but don’t miss a pigeon pastilla.
    We rented a 4wd for 4 days/ 3 nights to take us on a tour through the Atlas and down to the Sahara desert where we spent a night in the dunes. A highly recommended if tiring excursion. Not that expensive.
    Enjoy your trip. Let me know ig you are interested in detailed recommendations

    Bertie B

    Jun 7, 2010 | 4:44 pm

     
  32. Mangaranon says:

    Get the book, DVD of “Spain — On The R oad Again.” It was a trip made by Mario Batali, Gwenyth Paltrow, Mark Bittman and Claudia Bassols. They went all around Spain and ate the best food, both from the five-stars and the locals. Notable, of course, was the cooking of Carmen Ruscellada, Jose Mari Arzak, Ferran Adria but they also featured tabi-tabi good restos. Best tapas were found in Inopia, owned by Ferran’s brother in Barcelona.

    Jun 7, 2010 | 5:06 pm

     
  33. deebee says:

    You have to try “bstilla” – which i loved best among the traditional fare to taste in Morocco — this is circular shaped and made of layers of filo pastry stuffed with chicken or pigeon, with eggs, almonds, onions, and other spices, topped with confectionery sugar with cinnamon. It’s filling (for me, it was a meal in itself), and served freshly done. Try as well their various small pastries and various breads — with such ancient traditions of cooking them, these people have perfected the art. For breakfast, beghrirs are good. They are small honeycomb pancakes eaten hot — simply spread butter and honey over them.

    They will serve you tea everywhere, and this will be very sweet. Don’t be shocked to sometimes see soil in your tiny glass. The tradition here is that they boil the mint without properly washing them, then they throw the liquid out. The tea supposed to be served is from the second boiling of the mint, but I suppose some people just serve after the first. No big harm there, I guess, so just allow some time for the traces to settle, and just drink till half of the glass.

    I don’t know in what type of accommodation you’re staying in, but i would suggest to stay in a riad, rather than a big hotel however fancy it looks, or even if its part of a global high end chain. I did a tour of Morocco in December, and in all the big cities, stayed in either 5 or 4-star places, but was disappointed with 2 things. Consistently in all these botels, service was bad sometimes even rude (speaking French is not a guarantee), and the bathroom and toilets, while passable, all practically needed a good cleaning and refitting. Obviously, it’s the least important part of a hotel room. A riad, I think, would be a much pleasanter stay, aside from its being very traditional.

    Try to get argane oil, which can only be found in Morocco, and from a government-accredited outlet. I won’t elaborate on this here, as I’m sure your travel books mention it. Aside from being very good for salads, its unique properties make it a great ingredient for beauty and skin use, and medicinal purposes (perfect for massage, and it doesn’t leave any strong smell!). The use of argane oil is starting to pick up commercially here in europe, and it’s being used more and more in beauty products by the big cosmetic companies. If you want, I can look for the name of the shop where I got a few bottles and tell you the details of where to find it. I have their flyer somewhere.

    If you’re there just for a short visit, aside from the souks, visit Jardin Majorelle, and the Bahia Palace. The last 2 places, together, can be visited leisurely in half a day.

    And very important, do not take photos of people unless you’ve gained their permission. In the souks, the vendors and workers are of course used to tourists, and it is practice to hand in a coin or two after taking a photo of them. But many locals, the old people, especially the women, regard this as an offence. Even some small kids would cover their faces. I myself was hugely disappointed knowing I was losing my photo opportunities of the local people, but it was more important to respect their traditions. After all, we are merely visitors in their land.

    Jun 7, 2010 | 5:59 pm

     
  34. deebee says:

    In Madrid

    The museums, the museums, the museums — the 3 big ones! Get your tickets online in advance, as the queues will be a nightmare — the wait can easily be 3-5 hours, and in that heat! If you could only visit 2 — go to Prado and Reina Sophia. If just one, well, it depends on what you prefer — modern art or the classics. Do a day trip outside Madrid — Toledo is a must. Marvel at the cathedral — inside, it is jaw dropping even bordering on obscene, if you consider the gold and the wealth plundered in their colonies to decorate this single church. There, you can spend a half hour or so in the El Greco House. Segovia is also wonderful — especially if you factor in their famous cochinillo.

    Jun 7, 2010 | 6:13 pm

     
  35. Charina, Manila says:

    We stayed at Hotel Bauza (now called Vincci SoMa) a few years ago and enjoyed the quiet Salamanca area. The highlight of the trip was driving thru (and getting lost) the Andalusia.

    Jun 7, 2010 | 8:24 pm

     
  36. garret says:

    You’re missing the most important guidebook on Madrid…Rick Steve’s Madrid or better yet, his Spain 2010 book. I think he also covers Marrakech in his Spain book. They are the most informative, insightful and user friendly guides out there. Do yourself a favor and get a copy.

    Jun 8, 2010 | 7:54 am

     
  37. Tony says:

    In Madrid the Prado is a must, of course, but also go to the Centro Cultural de la Reina Sophia. Then head straight to the original of Picasso’s Guernica which he would not allow to be exhibited in Spain until the restoration of democracy.

    Great tapas bars everywhere especially in the Plaza Mayor. Remember dinner is taken late about 9.30 to 10.00. Then go back to the hotel to watch the corrida on TV.

    I spent a lot of time in Morocco, but only in Rabat and Casablanca( where there are a lot of Rick’s Bars, of course playing As Time Goes By constantly). Seafood good and local wine tolerable.

    Jun 8, 2010 | 12:41 pm

     
  38. Marketman says:

    Thank you, thank you everyone for all these great tips. We really appreciate it! :)

    Jun 9, 2010 | 5:50 am

     
 

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