At the end of May, David and I went off on our most exciting adventure yet! We flew from Milan to Marrakech, Morocco on Sunday morning. We were immediately greeted by the heat, fast-paced hectic driving, and camels on the side of the road. Marrakech is fast. It’s demanding and exhausting. But it’s such a unique place. It is really hard to describe this North African city. There is so much to see, smell, and do. We spent three days in Marrakech and had such a memorable experience! I’m going to write a commentary on our trip throughout the blog post. Scroll down for more pictures and details on our trip to Morocco!
Our first sights in Morocco – the Marrakech airport where we were greeted by our taxi driver and the sweet man who carted our luggage to our hotel.
We stayed at Riad Aloes. A beautiful, quiet, comfortable hotel inside the Medina (the city center). The Riads in Marrakech are closed in, meaning there is only one main door that opens to a courtyard and the rooms face into it. There are no outside windows, mainly to cut street noise and to give privacy to the women inside their home. Our riad had a beautiful rooftop terrace with a nice view of the city. We ate breakfast up there in the mornings. The staff were so nice and accommodating. It was a perfect, quiet stay in such a busy area with a beautiful Moroccan style.
After checking into the hotel, we headed to the Henna Cafe where we had a delicious, fresh lunch and beautiful henna by the local artist. Such a fun experience! I’m still enjoying the henna on my hand as I type this one week later.
Here are some pictures inside the Medina. The streets/alleys are lined with clothing, leather, souvenirs, market shops and men who are constantly trying to get your attention. While meandering through these streets, we had to be mindful of bikes, motorcycles, donkeys, stray cats and big carts trying to zoom past us. There was so much to see!
This is one of my only pictures of the famous and busy Jemaa el-Fnaa. This is the main square that comes alive at night. There are snake charmers, henna artists, monkeys on leashes, tarot card readers, food vendors, and about a million carts selling fresh orange juice. The OJ was so cheap and so delicious! One glass for only 40 cents. I’ll take it… or three.
On Monday, we took a day trip out of Marrakech to the beautiful Ourika Valley with the Cascade waterfalls. We l-o-v-e mountains and were so excited to spend some time in the Atlas Mountains. We went with a small group and enjoyed a day of sightseeing, hiking, and getting cultured with our new friends.
We stopped at a cooperative where we watched these ladies make argan oil, that stuff that makes your hair and skin so soft!
We knew that we’d be hiking during part of our excursion but none of us knew (except our guide) the intensity that we’d be experiencing! We basically rock climbed, jumped across stones in the water, and hiked for a few hours to get a gorgeous view of the Atlas mountains and the Cascade waterfalls. We were so lucky to have overcast and cool weather. I couldn’t imagine doing all of that hiking in the typical Moroccan heat.
After the hike, we drove to a local Berber village home. The owner of the house showed us their kitchen, living room, and bedroom.
On Tuesday, it was camel day! We took a 20 minute drive outside of Marrakech and met our guide. He hooked us up with head scarves to protect us from the hot African sun. They helped so much. I kind of wanted to bring it back to Florida.
This was the start of our 2 hour camel trek. Our camels were so gentle and patient the entire time. You can tell this was in beginning of our adventure because we were still smiling. 😉 By the end, our booties were hurting!
In the middle of our ride, we stopped at another Berber house for some traditional mint tea and crepes. The young man who lived at the house invited us into their farm area. It was such a surprise when he opened the door and we saw all of these sweet animals!
Isn’t that just the cutest baby goat you have ever seen??
This is when we were about to finish our trek…after our camel ride in Africa. What the heck?? Still can’t believe we got to do this. Our time in Marrakech was so culturally rewarding. We saw a different way of life and learned more about the Moroccan lifestyle. We met some very sweet and kind locals but also some shady and rude men. If you visit Marrakech, make sure you stand your ground, watch your belongings, and don’t follow strangers, even if they seem extremely nice. Overall, I’m so thankful we were able to get to Morocco during our time in Europe! Hopefully we will visit Africa another day.