Sunday, 19 June 2016

A Moroccan Vacation | TRAVEL

Our mini vacation began when the alarm screamed at 2:15am Tuesday morning making sure we were wide awake and ready to leave for our African Escape. Even though all I wanted to do was go back to sleep (typical me), I could not wait to see what Morocco had in store for us later that day. We had spent the night in a motel not far from Stansted Airport so the journey to the airport was short and sweet. Once we had arrived we headed straight for customs, which in my opinion is the most stressful part about flying (am I the only one who stands in line at customs and can’t help but think “don’t look suspicious” even though I have nothing to hide?!). At that time of the morning the last thing I wanted was to be yelled at by customs officers for taking too many liquids with me. After fitting all my makeup and shower products in a tiny little bag we finally made it through. An hour or so later it was time to board the plane!


I didn’t know what to expect when we arrived into Marrakech but we were welcomed with bright blue skies and sweltering 28 degrees. Our airport transfer was waiting for us as we walked out. I was surprised at how beautiful the drive to our hotel was. Marrakech is known for its gorgeous gardens and beautiful flower arrangements throughout the city so the 10 minute drive was stunning as brightly coloured roses covered the sidewalks and the traffic islands in the centre of the road. 



We arrived at our hotel, checked in and fought the urge to have a quick nap before setting out to explore the city. 



We hadn’t done too much research about what to do in and around Marrakech and the language barrier made it a little harder to communicate with the concierge at our hotel. Marrakech is separated into the old town and the new town so we decided to explore the old town first. One of the hotel staff found us a cab to take us there. Arriving into the Old Town was like going back in time. There were cars, goats, bikes, motorbikes, horses and carts, donkeys carrying bags of who knows what and people all over the road. It was like we had arrived into another world. 

We walked towards Jamaa el Fna which is a square and market place in Marrakech's medina quarter (old city). We began by having lunch overlooking the square, listening to the music and taking in the atmosphere from above. From a distance I saw tourists mesmerized by the sights and locals making deals to get the best pricing. 




We spent the day making our way through the souks and on every turn finding more to see and experience, and only occasionally finding our way back into the scorching daylight. Jamaa el Fna during the day is mainly occupied by stalls selling Moroccan spice, leather bags and brass cups (genie lanterns as I like to call them!), men with monkeys and snake charmers.





As the day went on, the evening drew closer and the sun became hotter, we decided to head back to the hotel. The rest our evening was spent swimming, eating and relaxing by the pool whilst making the most of the warm weather.




The next day we had heard from our cab drivers and other tourists that a must see in Marrakech is Jardin Majorelle. We jumped in another taxi and made our way to one of the most visited sites in Morocco. 



Walking through the doors to the garden I was blown away with the beauty of this place. A gorgeous water fountain welcomed us and bamboo trees sheltered the path which was covered with rich multi-coloured pots. 







We continued along the brightly painted paths in awe of the dreamy exotic trees and plants that covered every area we turned. Pools, streams and fountains on every corner created a sense of tranquility within the garden. I stood in awe as we came across an incredibly vibrant blue and yellow painted building that overlooked the cactus garden. 






As we continued through in admiration until we came across another lovely feature, the café. Situated around blossom trees, this peaceful area is great for those who need a break from the crowds and blistering Moroccan sun. 



Enchanting beauty still surrounded us as we our way to the exit.

We didn’t know what to do next so we hopped in a cab to head back to our hotel. The taxis in Morocco almost act as tour guides so as we drove back our driver suggested we go and visit the Palmeraie which is an oasis of several hundred thousand Palm trees covering 54 square miles just outside of Marrakech. We thought that sounded great although we didn’t realise how far away it actually was. Overall, it was an expensive cab ride but the beautiful scenery and the knowledge of the city that our driver had made it worth it.



Our last afternoon and evening in northern Africa was spent walking around the new city, stopping at gardens and shops, appreciating the Moroccan cuisine and relaxing by the pool as the sun set on our short vacation.




Before we knew it, it was Thursday morning and we were packed up and ready to fly back to icy London. I am extremely grateful for our Moroccan experience as it opened my eyes up to a whole other part of the world.




Tips:
  • Before you get in a cab, make sure you agree on a price first. The drivers can be very persistent and are used to bargaining with tourists.
  • Morocco is a Muslim country which follows strict laws and customs. Make sure to respect these at all times. Be aware of your actions and make sure they do not offend.
  • Women should dress modestly at all times especially outside of the main cities.
Don't forget to check out my YouTube channel where I posted a video of our Moroccan Adventure! Make sure to SUBSCRIBE for more adventures!



P.S. This trip was booked through WOWCHER. They are a company that specialise in short holidays in which most of the packages include flights and accommodation. Make sure you go and check them out for more great deals!


Thank you for reading!


Amber x    

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