15.06.2015 - 22.06.2015
One of the things that I love about having been to Morocco is that I can now say that, technically, I have been to Africa... (Although there is so many more places yet to visit there!) A tick on the old continents box...
I was very happy when we got this holiday booked as Adam is a little on the worried side about going to places out of his comfort zone - this is NOT something I thought I was going to be able to get him to go! But he agreed and we booked and we went and we loved!
One of the great things about going to Morocco for me was, compared to Mexico last year (I really did enjoy Mexico, however) we only travelled half the distance and had a much shorter time difference with better weather and for half the price. Cannot complain about that! With regards to the weather, we went in June and by the end of our holiday it was already beginning to get far too hot, with the hotel staff telling us that it was nothing, August was by far the worst month and most uncomfortable for the locals, never mind tourists. My recommendation would be to go either before the end of June or the beginning of September onwards.
There are a lot of things to do in and around Marrakech but one of the things we were keen to do was go and see the medina. The medina is a densely-packed, walled medieval city that holds the souks (which is a marketplace) that sell everything you imagine from jewellery to pottery to leather - they have everything you need! The souks themselves are a huge spiderweb of little streets and alleyways. When walking through these you are likely to get pestered and approached, but we were expecting it to be a lot worse than what it actually was. We did go to see the souks and medina on a guided tour, which I would 100% recommend. The souks are a complete maze and we spoke to several people who went on their own and could not find an exit out of it, became completely lost and disorientated and became very stressed with it all (and personally I believe if you are on a tour this helps to being hassled a lot less). Do not take any photos at all whilst in the souks (unless given permission) as people there are very protective of their shops. We heard stories of shop owners taking camera/phones off people and demanding that they delete the photo of holding on to them until they paid them. The tour we were on allowed us some leeway, but we still had to be very careful with it. The souks were amazing to see and so different to any other market place that you must see them, however, if you are going to go alone be careful and take breadcrumbs because you are going to need them to get yourself out...
After the souks we entered the Jemaa El-Fnaa square - the heart of Marrakech. This square is huge and it is still used by locals daily so it feels very authentic and not-at-all commercial. There is a lot going on here and so much to see, it really is worth having a wonder around. For me, one thing that stuck out the most was the snake charmers. Snake charmers are something that I felt could not be really and are only made up for stories or films, but, Jemaa El-Fnaa square is jam-packed with them! After convincing Adam to come within distance of one of them (he is petrified of snakes) I did feel a little disappointed as the snakes were clearly drugged or something similar as they barely moved and looked close to death, not moving and slithering around like you would expect a snake to. Still, it was interesting to see - my only advise here is do not get too close as the men nearby will throw a snake around your neck and demand money for a photo and if they catch you taking a photo they will not let you go until you have paid them. Keep your wits about you and enjoy the culture - there really is a lot to see!
Another trip that we did whilst in Morocco was to go on a camel trip. This was an adventure however, we kind of got too much for our money! The trip was very long and my bum hurt a lot, but it was a great way to get out into the desert more and see some of the country. Warning - camels are high up!! It was a little nerve-wracking getting up and down but I did enjoy the trip.
Marrakech was great and somewhere that I would highly recommend to anyone!