Marrakech - Palais de la Bahia & Mellah -

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The Palais de la Bahia (Bahia Palace) is, in my opinion, the most interesting palace in Marrakesh. The palace, built in a nouveau riche style, served as the former harem for the visir, housing his 4 wives and numerous concubines. Although there are no longer any furnishings, the opulent decorations and mosaics on the courtyard walls are worth the visit. The palace includes 8 hectares of gardens all interconnected by magnificent fountains. Entry is quite cheap at 10 dirhams, around one euro.

Mellah, the Jewish quarter, is just steps away from the Palais de la Bahia. It’s not hard to see at first glance that this neighborhood is different than the rest. It is the poorest and least touristic area, as evidenced by it’s cleanliness and upkeep compared to Medina. Mellah is, however, famous for its spice market. Here you can find items at considerably lower prices than in the souk. Don’t miss the synagogue and Jewish cemetery!

Marrakech - Majorelle Garden -

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By now, you must have seen photos of the famous blue gardens of Marrakesh. These are in fact the Jardin Majorelle. The gardens are very touristy and anything but peaceful, however, its electric blue colors and blue majorelle are worth the visit. The Jardin Majorelle is located in the modern neighborhood of Gueliz, easily reachable by taxi or on food following Avenue Moulay Abdallah. Upon the death of Majorelle, already a famous artist, the gardens were purchased by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. This is the reason you will now find a memorial to YSL and a museum featuring traditional North African tribal arms, jewels, and leathers. The entry cost to the garden is 50 Dinars, exclusive of the museum.

Madrid - Palacio Real & Plaza del Sol -

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Madrid is certainly a fascinating sprawling metropolis, it’s very much worth exploring all the neighborhoods; each with something unique to offer. In order to get a good taste of the city, I would recommend visiting for a minimum of 4 or 5 days.

I would also recommend the following activity for a great day of sight seeing: start your moning with a big breakfast to help fuel a long walk, put on your sturdiest walking shoes and off you go...Hop on the metro and first stop “OPERA”, upon exiting, you’ll find yourself in Plaza Isabel II, very beautiful...

From the nearby Plaza de Oriente, you can already make out the stupendous Royal Palace...certainly worth a stop to snap a few photos between the well manicured flora of the gardens.

Skirting the palace you can also see the cathedral. Following Calle Mayor, you will end up in Parco Atenas: make sure to have a nice break near the kiosk...pleasant music, and palm trees; no better place to grab a coffee and feel swept away on a vacation far away from chaotic city life. The sun makes everything that much more spectacular!

After walking the Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto, and once you’ve reached the Principe Pio station, continue towards the Jardins de Sabatini (one of my favorite sights).

If after all that walking you find yourself starving, i suggest you head to Calle Carlos III and find: “Entrepanes – Café de Oriente”.
For an alternative, on Calle Arenal, there’s always “Jamones Ferpal”, very typical madrilena cuisine.

Finally, a few steps away, you’ll find Plaza del Sol...enjoy!