LuxxMint

4 August 2013

{LUXX Travel} Marrakech Morocco

We have returned from a week spent in Marrakech Morocco, it really is somewhere you have to visit to believe and experience it properly. Those who follow me on Instagram will have seen a few photos from our days spent there but I will be posting more detail on our visit here on the blog.  

These photos are from our time spent in Jemaa El Fna (Big Square), the souks and around the old town.

I had Marrakech on my bucket list for quite some time and I came back slightly disappointed. I've had a week or so to think about it to try and put my finger on why. 

Firstly the hassle, we were bothered all day everyday when outside of the hotel. Some times for up to twenty minutes by the same person whilst we carried on walking around and saying no so many times. It tries your patience! I never felt in danger but felt I had to be cautious constantly and felt uneasy at times. 


The food which I thought I would really enjoy actually got a little boring, cous cous and lamb, cous cous and chicken, and Moroccan salads. We also ate the soup which we only discovered when we got home we should probably have avoided and suffered from upset stomachs for a week after. We only drank bottled water and used this to brush our teeth as the water is not clean enough to drink so I can only put our illness down to the food sadly. I've travelled extensively and usually have an iron stomach so was quite surprised to get ill. 


The old town is quite dirty, there are a lot of horses and a carrigages lined up to take you on a city tour so you can imagine the mess, it also takes a little getting used to men and women spitting on the ground as you are walking around!

Spending a week there was probably a little to long to discover Marrakech I think a long weekend would be perfect. We really wanted a bit of chill out time too so spent a few days around our hotel pool. 

 Onto the positives, the Big Square as all the locals called it, is somewhere you have to visit to believe. It bustles with activity with so many sounds and smells. The fresh orange juice sellers who squeeze you a large glass for about 30p rivals the best fresh juice I have tasted in Florida.

At the bottom of Jemma El Fna the Koutoubia mosque overlooks the hustle and bustle.

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Into the souks which start at the top of the square and you will enter into what I can only describe as Aladdin's cave, beautiful lamps, spices, leathers, ceramics and jewels are all for sale in tiny spaces under a slatted wooden roof. 

You will wander in following the path and shortly have to choose which direction to continue along, it's like a maze, you'll eventually find your way out but expect to lose all sense of direction and give your self up to the souk! 

You are expected to haggle and will be asked what price you want to pay, if you have no idea, ask how much it is and bargain them down at least by half if not two thirds. This will take some practice and some people love it, I on the other hand am really no good at it and we didn't buy much at all! (possibly due to the fact we had zero room in our cases!) You will also have to haggle for many other things including taxis, guides etc

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Our guide book said to get lost in Marrakech at least once just to see what you will discover, we did this unintentionally after walking out of the souk trying to find the tanneries. We ended up walking through local streets with the odd art shop and cafe, we came across the mosque below and we still don't know which one it is! There are some beautifully coloured doorways with many cats finding shade where they can.

I must mention the scooters, you will have to dodge them weaving past you constantly especially during the day on the paths, in the square and in the souks - be on guard!

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Jemaa El Fna square really comes alive at night, I actually found it much less intimidating too. There are sellers of everything you can possibly imagine and numbered food stands selling everything from snails to barbequed meats and very sweet pastries.

The sounds are incredible, the snake charmers sit behind cobras 'dancing' to music something you would see in a film, monkeys chained up (we avoided these :( so cruel), henna artists and tarot readers all clambering to get you to sit down and convince you to part with your Dirhams. 

You will hear the call to prayer sounding out at 9pm from loud speakers from many mosques and it is an amazing sight seeing hundreds of men praying at once outside Koutoubia mosque with palm trees against the pink and purple sunset.

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I hope you enjoyed this post, looking back I think I may have had a glamourised impression of Marrakech before visiting which was why I may have been shocked when we were out and about. If you are due to visit and have any questions feel free to comment below or email. I'll try my best to answer.

I have a couple more posts lined up, accommodation and the beautiful Jardin Majorelle to show you over the next week.

Have you visited Marrakech or another part of Morocco? I'd love to know your thoughts?


28 comments:

  1. Great post! Marrakech is a place I've always wanted to visit. I think I do have a glamourized view of it now but reading this post was really helpful. Whenever I do go there I will have lower expectations lol.

    I'm going to London next month and am thinking about spending a few days in another city..was considering Marrakech or some others (like Krakow or Budapest) - which would you recommend? Do you think Marrakech is safe for a solo female traveller?

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    1. Hi Tiffany, Budapest is great I visited last year, if you go back to June 2012 in my archive you'll find a few posts! I haven't been to Krakow but it's on my list too.

      Marrakech is safe for solo female travellers, I think they have a pretty low crime rate but I wouldn't do it on my own without a guide to take me around just simply because of the amount of hassle we got. Let me know where you choose! X

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    2. Thanks for the tip!
      Would you recommend I do Marrakech or Budapest/Krakow then? I'll take a look at your Budapest posts

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    3. I think Budapest would get my vote, I really loved the city! X

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  2. such great colors! love these photos

    xx
    Staci
    www.leatherandleops.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Staci, it certainly is a colourful city! x

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  3. The skies are breathtaking! Loved your blog and will come back for sure! I find it very inspirational...

    Oh, I just started following you on Bloglovin by the way! Hope you come by my blog sometime too! Would love to know what you think about it, and maybe follow me back if you like it? We can also follow each other everywhere else;)!

    These are my links hun <3:
    Instant Milk link
    Facebook page link
    Twitter link
    Bloglovin link

    xx

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    1. Thank you so much, I have a thing for taking photos of sunsets when I'm away, they're so beautiful.

      I'll be sure to stop by your blog v soon x

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  4. All these photos look amazing (: , lovely place that you went! Do you mind if we follow each other ? Do let me know on my blog (: xx

    http://birdiethgirl.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Birdie, I'll stop by your blog soon x

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  5. Gorgeous pictures. I would love to visit one day.


    Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

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    1. You should Hannah it is a unique city.x

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  6. I like Morocco in general. I've been to Marrakech all by myself and I never had a dull moment. I have also visited Casablanca, which was fun. If I visit again, I would like to see Fes and Rabat.

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    1. Im glad you enjoy Morocco, I think I'd like to visit one of the seaside cities now, for a slower paced break! I'm glad you mentioned travelling there on your own, it's good to know you felt safe and had fun! X

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  7. I've been to Dubai (which is obviously not in Mexico, haha) but I had the same experiences with being constantly bothered while you were walking outside the hotel. I guess it's a cultural difference, but still annoying.

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    1. Yes it's definitely a cultural aspect, it wasn't unexpected but the amount that was annoying more than anything.

      Luxx Mint

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  8. I did wonder that about Marrakech - I've visited Tunisia and had a similar experience which put me off returning, I'm all for experiencing different cultures and new cities but I don't like to be hassled when I'm on my hols.

    Jess xx
    Styladelica

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    1. Yes Tunisia was similar but not as nicer country to visit comparing the two. I'm with you, I like a relaxed time when I'm on my holidays! X

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  9. Thanks for such an honest review, I've only ever heard good things about Marrakech and I've always been keen to go there but I've got a more realistic view now I think. I'm not a fan of being hassled either (I went to Bangladesh with work a few years ago and it was scary the amount of times I was hassled!. Your photos are stunning though, and I can't wait to hear about the Jardin Majorelle x

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    1. Hi Kate, so many of my friends and family really enjoyed Marrakech and would return so maybe it's just us. I hope you enjoy the posts coming up! X

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  10. Marrakech is great place, but there are so many beautiful places beyond Marrakech. Just about one hour drive you find yourself in the Atlas Mountains with magnificent peaks of the Atlas, green valleys and many hidden Berber villages that merge into the mountainsides.
    But the highlight of the trip should be the desert tour that winds through some unbelievable scenery changing at every corner. Riding the camels in the Moroccan Sahara is wonderful life experience.

    There are other foods to try out in Marrakech. Tanjia - the typical dish in Marrakech only. It is meat cooked in these clay deep vases over steam, pastilla and of course the tajins. It is not only cous cous :)

    www.your-morocco-tour.com

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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  13. I have been in Morocco one week with my parents. We visited Marrakech, Tichka mountain, Todra valley, Ait ben Haddou, Ourrzazate, Merzouga, Sahara Desert and Draa valley.. All wonderfull places! We also slept in tents in the Desert one night and we reached the tents by camel.
    I really recommend this experience to people of every age, families with children and groups of friends and I guarantee it is an absolutely SAFE county where people are very open-minded and very hospitable.. they always made us feel "at home"!
    The tour was well organized, not too tiring and never boring. The Riads were all comfortable (even if some of them were a bit difficult to arrive at) and the stuff was always super kind.. for example when I was in the hotel in Sahara Desert I asked for some strawberries and they brought me strawberries the next morning, I couldn't believe it!
    Our car driver Mohammed was very kind with us and he showed us lots of breathtaking landscape. He gave us the opportunity to stop in different places, when we asked for him, even if some of them were out of program (for example we wanted to visit the rock cravings which were not included in the program).
    We have a fantastic exciting experience when he drove on the Desert dunes: you really can't miss this adventure in your life!
    http://www.traveling-in-morocco.com/index.html

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for all of your lovely comments. I read every one and try to visit all of your blogs!