(d)Jema El-Fna
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Djemma el Fna, Marrakech, Morocco
All the labyrinthine streets of the medina lead to Djemaa el Fna. Before sunset, sit on a terrace, sip hot mint tea, and take in the panoramic view of the teeming central square. As the sun lowers in the sky, the ancient mud walls turn pink to orange and smoke wafts as hundreds of cooks start barbecuing. The food stalls are organized in rows; the local fare is sumptuous; and the prices are fixed, which is a nice break after haggling in the souks or square for everything from henna to a photo with a monkey or snake charmer. Seating is picnic table-style so don't be shy, grab a seat and talk with your neighbor. It's a great chance to meet fellow travelers and locals alike. After a feast of tagine, cous cous and olives, wash it down with fresh orange juice. Wander the square and be entranced by fire jugglers, musicians, dancers, fortune-tellers and storytellers. As you walk back to your riad through the medina, listen for the evening call to prayer rising from the Koutoubia Mosque. Marrakech is one of the most magical cities in the world.
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Souk Du Jour
While wandering the souks in the Medina of Marrakech, my boyfriend and I stumbled upon a small square of food stalls. The smell of cinnamon, lamb and grilled vegetables was too enticing to pass up, and we decided share a tajine. We were the only foreigners in the square and felt a little hesitant to order, but it turned out to be the best meal of our stay. The tender lamb was cooked perfectly and they gave us the most delicious sweet round of bread. Paired with a small glass of mint tea, it was a meal I will never forget! Lesson learned: eat with the locals.
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