After a glorious two weeks in Morocco I flew straight into my graduation week. And yes, I am now a fully-fledged graduate, with a £9000 certificate to prove that I can read and write!
I must apologise for neglecting you these past few weeks but know that I have many exciting blog posts planned: Highlights of Morocco, Vanilla cheesecake, and Homemade granola! Thank you for sticking with me!
First up I want to share my Moroccan adventure with you, in particular the beautiful city of Marrakech. Though Rabat is the capital, Marrakech certainly felt like the beating heart of the country. There was a contagious energy to the place, something to see in every direction, warm orange and pink buildings, smells of various spices, and a continuous sound track of shouting stall-owners, calls to prayer, and snake charmers. Plus the doors and mosaics are something else! I could honestly do a whole blog post dedicated to Moroccan doors. And maybe I will!
For a new arrival the hustle and bustle of the city was overwhelming. So many times I had to resist the urge to scream at a street seller ‘I don’t want your bloody ugly bag so stop talking to me!!!’. We soon learnt not to make eye-contact nor walk too slowly, in order to avoid the onslaught of a selling pitch. As four young white girls, three blonde and one ginger, we attracted a lot of attention as it was so I’d recommend conservative clothing – save the tanning for your hostel’s roof terrace!
Also avoid taking directions from locals. Most just want to scam you and will happily lead you anywhere but then expect a large pay-off. Particularly, if someone offers to show you a market that has only one day left, do not follow them! It’s complete bullshit! The four of us and EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the tour group we joined had the tannery scam. Someone will offer to lead you to the square, saying that they are already heading in that direction (!), in reality they spend twenty minutes walking you in the opposite direction to some tannery, probably owned by their uncle. Then, they have the audacity to request payment!! When you didn’t even want to go there!! We managed to sneak away but one poor girl felt so trapped she bought a bag she didn’t even want. Let’s just say in hindsight we all felt very foolish and angry. So listen to your friend Sophie and keep your wits about you!
Getting lost will happen. After a few days we thought we had finally sussed out the winding lanes and ensnaring souks, but we were very wrong. No maps show all the tiny pathways so just accept it will happen and enjoy exploring. Bring plenty of water and give yourself lots of time to find places! If you look up every now and then you’ll spot red, blue, and green arrows pointing out certain tourist spots. Make the most of these, the red route helped us back to the square on many occasions!
So here are my must-do Marrakech activities…
1. The Square or Jemaa el-Fnaa. Food stalls and market stalls and restaurants and everything you think of when you think of Marrakech!
2. Majorelle Garden. Just outside of the city wall, this tranquil garden provides necessary respite from the bustle of the Medina. Excellent plant pots too!
3. Ben Youssef Madrasa. Originally an Islamic college, the tiles here are incredible, enough said.
4. The Museum of Marrakech. This is pretty small so won’t take long but the arty bits and lovely tiles make it worth a visit.
5. Bahia Palace. More tiles! And lush green gardens too. The other Palaces were closed when we visited but I expect them to have equally amazing tiles!
6. Oasiria Waterpark. Yeah ok, I know, not very cultural. But if you need a bit of a rest day, head here. There’s a free bus from the Mosque and we had the park almost to ourselves! No queues for slides and lovely grassy spots for relaxing.
7. La Salama Bar. This is just off the square and they hand out leaflets all the time so you won’t be able to miss it! My favourite quote from the leaflet is ‘Stay Calm and Belly Dance’. Brilliant. They give everyone a Fez to wear and the cocktails are strong! A great spot to watch the sunset.
8. Marrakech Rouge Hostel. We stayed here after a recommendation from my boyfriend who went to Morocco a few years back. The decoration is seriously cool, our bedroom was painted in five different colours! And they have roof terraces. Some of the showers are dodgy but excellent service and breakfast. Definitely recommend.
We managed to get return flights to Morocco from England for £46 too! A really really great trip. Shout out to Charlie, Eleanor, and Hannah for being such fab travel buddies!
Stay tuned over the coming weeks for my highlights of the country. Spoiler alert: there will be very cute pictures of camels.
As always, thank you for reading!
Have a happy week,