Monday, 16 July 2018

Making the Most in Morocco

Here comes your (what seems like) monthly blog post – I had so much to write about while I was living in Paris as I was actually living somewhere that I had things to write about, but at the moment the most exciting thing that seems to happen to me is getting the train to London. Therefore, instead of boring you lovely people rigid with my tales of commuting, this summer is going to be sporadically filled with blogs about various short breaks I am taking. Look out for a post at the beginning of August for all things Swedish and Stockholm! I am also thinking about doing an overview of the summer post with info on my internship at The British Red Cross which I will be finishing in mid-August and just generally complaining about my dissertation (due in 6 weeks – scary as shit!).

Anyway, Morocco!

Last week I was lucky enough to take time off and head out to the West African country of Morocco, more specifically to Marrakesh. This trip had been in the works since about January/February time of this year – so it has been a long time coming! Although many people thought we were mad for going to Marrakesh in July, with the average temperature at about 42 degrees, it is a beautiful dry heat, unlike the horrible humidity heat of the UK at the moment, so it was a welcome change.

As there was 8 girls heading out there, I arranged for us to have an entire private Riad through Airbnb (check out the my Airbnb discount code on the links and promotions page), this meant that we had access to our own cold plunge pool which was most appreciated, along with a guide/manager and breakfast was even cooked for us! Staying in a Riad is a very popular means of accommodation in Marrakesh, they are old mini-palaces that have been turned into BnB style accommodation for tourists and travellers and are ideal for a short break as most are right in the centre of the city or the ‘Medina’ where the markets are. Check out our Riad here!

Although there was a lot of sleeping and lounging going on for the first couple of days, on day 3 most of us managed a hike up the Atlas Mountains to a waterfall. These mountains are considerably cooler than the city and are where most of the local go in the summer (or so I’ve been told!). On day 4 we also made it to a Moroccan cooking course for the day at Faim d’Epices – about 9 miles out of town. For 55 euros you will be picked up and taught how to make a meal of the day – we made Moroccan couscous with 7 vegetables (and beef for the others). It might seem pricey but you are piled with so much food and activities and for the brilliant personal service and beautiful surroundings it is worth every penny. Find it here!

Day 5 was our last day and as we had to be out of the Riad by 11 but our flight was late in the evening, we had the whole day to wander the streets of Marrakesh. While I attempted to navigate the streets to the Bahia Palace, it turned out to be closed. Looking slightly lost we were adopted by a Moroccan student wanting to practise his English and taken to a traditional Berber (the local people) pharmacy. From here I managed to find the way to another Palace – Palace El Badii (costing 10 dirhams – about 80p – to enter) it is an old palace in ruins which is currently being restored.
After suffering through the heat of the day, I arranged for lunch at Nomad back among the streets of the market, this restaurant has a beautiful terrace overlooking the rooftops of the city. Whilst their service is slow at best, the food is refined traditional Moroccan – I would highly recommend the fish ball tagine!

Catching our EasyJet flight back was painful, landing back into Gatwick at 2 am on Sunday morning – but with both flights and accommodation costing a meagre £219 pp (accommodation between 8 people) Marrakesh is certainly for those on a student budget.

While it is an Islamic country, and travelling for women can be interesting, we encountered very little problems as most people were very friendly and kind – just be prepared to be catcalled on the streets of Jemaa El-Fna – it’s the place to go if you want to find a husband, that’s for sure!

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

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