Our trip to Marrakech in Morocco, Here is what happened during our time there.
Sassi found us a great deal £130 each for 4 nights stay in Marrakech including flights and accommodation in a lovely Riad in the old city. A November deal to get us out of the cold wet autumn here in the UK.
As soon as it hit the 4th of November were ready to venture off to Marrakech. As the rain came down it made us all the more ready to dash off to to the airport. But what should of been a simple walk to the train station turned into a quarter of a mile job searching for some things that I thought fell out of my bag…turns out I put these things in a different compartment, so actually I lost nothing. Hey ho that is a good thing I still have everything now to Gatwick airport.
Security is always getting faster here but Sassi ended up getting an extra search so it wasn’t as fast in the end but still good. Now just a short wait until we board the plane. While we waited it started to get fuller as it does but then they announced the dreaded “Some people will need to put hand luggage in the hold’ this prompts everyone to begin queuing way too early… including us.No one wants that extra hassle for waiting for baggage.
So we fly and we watch TV, good old IT Crowd it doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, I am still sat chuckling away, Sassi had a new show Humans which was pretty good. In the end we landed a lot later than we should of seems to be the standard long queue to leave Gatwick.
Now when we left Gatwick they had to double check Sassi’s passport as it was due to expire next month! They mentioned it could be an issue but should be fine. Quoting the government website it clearly states the passport must be in date for the proposed duration of the stay which it was. So here it was the big moment as we queue for the border control, sweaty palms waiting and praying it will be all ok. One stamp here another there no eye contact and off we go. So easy and no issue, GREAT!
Following this we found out booked taxi and left for our Riad. Short drive and here we were being dropped off on some corner with no idea and curious as to why this taxi driver is letting a random guy take out luggage. No idea where this Riad is, yet we follow this guy down this dark, quiet alley all the more confused and maybe a little worried and then we arrive at a door he opens it and Boom…We see Riad Alida all is good, it is actually rather nice and very Moroccan. We get the room next to the pool and court yard although very cold in this pool. Now to grab some food and go to bed.
We spent the day exploring the city first point of call was Jemaa El Fna which is basically the main square in the Old city, follow by Saladdin Tombs, Palis, and Cyber Parc. We walked everywhere, and while walking in the main square we were harassed constantly. One of which included being forced to have Henna, so warning if anyone grabs your arm and starts doing henna just quickly go they will try to squeeze money out of you and make you feel really guilty. So this happened to us, and they wanted £45 pound for something that took 2 minutes and also something that we did not agree to. We ended up giving them £10 but that didn’t stop them shouting and calling us crazy but we just had to leave. There were other times during the day when we were called names and were harassed. not a great experience of Morocco so far. We don’t feel welcome people are after our money. We were reminded that God still loves Morocco in spite of what happened to us. The place feels dark spiritually and we feel that we need to have God’s protection over us. We went back to the square in the evening, it was busy and very noisy. Sass’s headache was really bad so we prayed that the headache would clear. We manged to get a great view of the square from the restaurant though which was lovely to see over the whole space. Back to the Riad and we had a cold swim, not very fun but woke us up.
Today reminded us that we’ve a responsibility to share our light with others and to be the light in dark places through Jesus only.
We booked a day trip to Ourika valley, managed to get a good discount the previous day. There were various stops along the way to the mountains. We saw how they make Argan oil, had a look a traditional Berber house and how they make flour using the River to power the Mill. We then went for a two hour climb into the mountains to see beautiful waterfalls and lovely views, there were many touristy shops all the way up the mountain walk which was interesting, they were making use of every space to sell stuff. We shared the trip with three others, two of them were from Jordan and one from France, we got to know the French girl a bit during the trip.
So prior to the trip we read about how the guides try and force you to eat at a certain restaurant so that they get a commission, thus making this restaurant more expensive. So here we were the end of the trip and the guide did exactly as it said on the blog we found he was very forceful about making us eat at this restaurant even though there were many empty and cheaper ones down the road. He harassed us and was very rude, they gave us a discount but we just didn’t like how he was talking to us and telling us how we only have 20 minutes to eat now. So we left and found a really nice restaurant that was empty had a lovely three course meal for cheaper than the other one.
It was definitely worth the money the mountains are beautiful along with the waterfalls, although a little bit deceptive with the 7 water falls which they describe the trip, it was more like 3 main water falls and then one long water fall that you see from far, the guide splits it into more than one waterfall.
After we got back we decided we weren’t going to have a Hammam and just buy our own massage stuff as we wanted to have a camel ride instead. The shop owner gave us two creams but it seemed like we misunderstood him as we thought one of them was going to be for the head, both of them were body scrubs just different smells. Sassi’s head felt a bit better, no migraine luckily. Yawn sleep time.
Lets wake up late? So we did although being right next to the dining area doesn’t help. Today we took things at a slower pace, we wandered over to New town (Guilez) although it was raining, and we weren’t prepared to buy another umbrella as this seems to be a common things we have to do when we go away. The walk wasn’t so bad, we bargained for gifts to take home with friendly Moroccans. New town, the dream has come true we found a McDonalds not that we had any interest in going in. This area really was ‘New Town’, basically could be any European town but was good to see a comparison between old and new areas of the city. We walked back to Jemaa El Fna to do some gift shopping and make the most of the bargaining along with staying far from any Henna ladies.
A quick rest and off to La Palmarie a so called Oasis outside of the city, where we can ride Camels. The area was nice but not like an oasis and quite a bit of litter around the entrance. The experience included a keffiyeh (head scarf) so we got to play the part as a Lawerence of Arabia wannabe. The camels at first didn’t want to co-operate and this is the hard part to see, on one hand it was a great experience but then you can see the Camels wanted more space between them they were too closely tied up together. Nick got the front so led the team, we went from an hour stroll. It was peaceful and the camel liked to have their heads stroked. The sunset as we ended the experience and for Nick this was his first time on any animal. Great experience for a first timer on a camel and easier than going on the Sahara experience. So if you don’t have much time and want to ride a camel it is worth it especially at sunset.
Farewell, Au Revoir Marrakech we had out final breakfast and waited to be picked up, although 25 minutes late. All was good as the airport wasn’t busy in fact the plane ended up leaving earlier than scheduled which was a shock as the reviews for the airport said long waits, huge queues but this wasn’t the case but I guess November isn’t peak season.
We found Marrakech an interesting place, hectic loud and very fast paced, and the harassing never really did end and there were times where we felt unwelcome, but we did have a good time and saw some amazing views and in the end we got to spend some lovely tome together exploring a new place that neither of us have been to.