magical marrakech

For many years my new years resolutions have included “travel more” and 2016 is no different. I would love to explore some new destinations but for now I want to share some travel tips and pictures from places I have already been. The first city I want to take you all to is Marrakech Morocco.

In June I boarded a bus to London and then a shaky Ryan Air flight to Marrakech, Morocco. Here is tip number one: don’t go to Morocco in June unless you plan on lounging around a resort. The temperatures topped 106 degrees in the daytime and only retreated into the 80’s at night. On our first full day we wandered around in the 100 plus degree heat and we finally found the Medersa Ben Youssef and drifted into the calm. The architecture in Marrakech is absolutely breathtaking and wonderfully intricate. After exploring the museum we went back into the bustling streets to try to find the souks. When we did it was completely stunning, it was like walking into a labyrinth. It seemed that there was always a new way to turn and new goods to bargain for.

The rest of day one was spent wandering through the souks, dining in the main square and taking a much-needed nap before dinner. We ate at what was rated one of Marrakech’s best restaurants. It was a beautifully decorated restaurant that was in a courtyard but still felt much cooler than the surrounding area. We had a delicious dinner and then returned exhausted to our hostel.

Day two passed by in another cultural blur, filled with freshly squeezed orange juice and more bargaining. Day three was the day we decided we needed to ride a camel in the Sahara desert.. It turns out my camel was unhappy and did not in fact want someone on its back that day, so it almost threw me off upon standing up. Needless to say I spent the rest of the camel ride contemplating what would happen if I fell to the ground.

By day four I was starting to feel very, very sick.. I wandered around with the group half alive for the whole day until we were waiting in line to enter a mosque and I felt like I would pass out right there in that sunny line. So I took the opportunity to go lay in the shade for I’m not really sure how long.. One frantic phone call to a very scared mother in America and 16 hours later I woke up for the final day. (I will spare the graphic details of heat exhaustion) Our gracious hostel hosts gave us mint to take back to the UK so we could make tea at home and we walked to get final souvenirs and one more delicious orange juice. We then navigated our way back to the airport and back to the UK.

Top Tips for Marrakech
 1. Do lots of research: make sure you know how to get to your accommodations or arrange a service to take you to them. Don’t be trusting of people telling you they will guide you because while they might seem friendly in the beginning they will extort a large sum of money from you when you get to your destination and leave you feeling less than happy about you new adventure.

2. Bargaining: Part of the fun of Marrakech is going to the Souks and buying lots of trinkets to bring home, but be leery that the first price they tell you is a huge mark-up. When bargaining first offer a quarter of the number they state and go in with a number you are willing to spend. Most times if you start to walk away you will get your price. Stay firm and trust me you will find the exact same thing many times.

3. Dress appropriately- Marrakech is a primarily Muslim city and the women dress very conservatively. Make an effort and wear long skirts and high-necked shirts when heat allows; also pack a light scarf to wrap around your hair in order to visit some mosques and museums.

4.Be vigilant: Marrakech has so many wonderful things to look at but you need to be careful. Don’t take pictures of men with monkeys or snakes because they will then force you to pay them. Also if you decide to get a henna tattoo pay before you receive your tattoo in order to avoid a nasty shock once you’ve gotten your design.

5.  Have thick skin: I went traveling with all women and we received a fair amount of harassment. We all wore rings on our wedding fingers because this at least halts the marriage proposals. If you are a woman who has light colouring (light hair and eyes) expect to be targeted. While this may seem very intimidating most comments are innocent but be careful and leery of whom you trust.

6.  Be brave: there is so much to see and do so step out of your comfort zone and don’t just spend time with other tourists; try to immerse yourself in the culture by staying in an Airbnb or hostel run by Moroccans.

7.  If you have a sensitive stomach I highly recommend following a vegetarian diet while visiting as a lot of the meat is handled differently from what Europeans and North Americans are used to. We only ate the delicious veggie dishes and were much better for it.

I hope these tips have been helpful and I would love to hear some of yours. I hope you’re all having a wonderful new year and have to opportunity to visit lots of new places. Here are some more pictures from this fabulous trip


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