The Real Souks Experience: Artisans & Their Crafts
We decided to do a souk tour with Jaouad to add a historical angle to our shopping experience. A walk with Jaouad was a great way to get our way around the winding streets of Marrakech. He is clearly very knowledgeable and will not baffle you with made-up facts just to sound interesting. We had already walked through some parts of the souks by ourselves, but with him, we got to explore the streets we wouldn't have taken otherwise and along with that, tons of fascinating facts about the history of Marrakech, and not limited to just the souks. He met us at Mellah Square as planned and then, we walked for approximately 3 hours learning about the craft of different artisans. Now, this might only be my perception but I felt that there was an expectation from the shop owners and sellers at cooperatives that we must buy something from them. We went on the tour to learn about the history of Moroccan crafts - well, we did get a little bit of that but there seemed to be a lot more focus on cooperatives. Towards the end of the tour, it just turned into us being taken to a shoe or a scarf seller, and then left to 'shop' which we could have done on our own. We felt as if the sellers were slightly offended, but we just didn't want to buy anything on the whim or haggle at that time and rather focus on learning about the craft. But like I said, may be this is the idea behind this tour and we just went with slightly different expectations. Also, we would have preferred it to be a lot more conversational but then again, for the price we paid, it was a good experience to walk with a legitimate local. I would recommend this tour on your first day in Marrakech before you have stepped in and explored it yourself and before the charm of these colorful souks fades away.