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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Exploring Morocco | A Day In Marrakesh

Aside from the delightful experience of traveller's belly (ohmydays it was the worst), our holiday to Morocco was pretty incredible. It was an entirely different place to go on our travels and neither of us had ever stepped foot in Africa before. Morocco is a holiday location that's growing in popularity, not just for holidaymakers but one place businesses can treat staff with as a corporate reward.
Koutoubia Mosque Tower
Koutoubia Mosque Tower
As part of our holiday, Thompson or now know as TUI, offered several day and half day excursions whilst we were there at a very reasonable price. We both paid around 960 Moroccan Dirham each which was about £75 for a full day out (6am start), two meals and a guided tour around Marrakesh. Pretty amazing deal if you ask me.

Now I'm just going to start right off the bat here. Marrakesh is a place you want to go to once. It's great to experience the city, to explore the medina and the weirdly wonderful souk but I can imagine it's probably too much if you're there for your entire holiday. When we sat down to book the holiday, there was a resort in Marrakesh that we were looking at. Obviously, we could have just remained in the resort but the city is pretty intense so I'm glad we stayed in a quieter area that was Agadir.
Medina
All the photos and places we went too are probably a little too much for just one blog post, so I'm going to save all the other places we visited on the tour for future content. Instead, I wanted to focus on the souk, the food we ate and the medina we ended up in towards the end of the trip.

Before setting off to Marrakesh at 7 IN THE FREAKING MORNING, we made sure we'd packed our essentials that were recommended for our day out - suncream, lots of water and suitable clothing. I'd been told by the TUI rep that I should wear something covering the shoulders and down to the knees. Surprisingly though a lot of the women on our excursion were wearing much less, which now looking back on, I wish I'd done too because boy was it hot.
Medina side streets
Souk
Souk Shops
Moroccan Lights
We arrived in Marrakesh for around 10.30am and headed straight towards the souk. We had a guide (of course I've forgotten his name) who told us we'd be exploring half of the souk in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. 

Walking through the souk, we were regularly beeped at by drivers on motor scooters like the ones below. They'd occasionally have three or four people on one scooter which would probably break all of the laws back here in the UK but I think they're a little more relaxed in Morocco. The souk walkways weren't the biggest in width and at times we were almost hunched over, walking through tiny sections of the souk. I couldn't get over just how big the souk actually was, so much so that both myself and Sam had no plans to go in their during our own free time without the guide.
Motor Scooters
Restaurant Sign
Marrakesh Rooftops
Restaurant Area
Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the food and looking at my pictures, I get less and less active on the camera as the day goes on. We visited two places for our lunchtime and evening meals. The first was a place called Dar Nejjarine and seemed to be a popular place to bring large groups of tourists. As we were in a big group, we definitely stuck out like a sore thumb.

The food was very heavily vegetable-based which is great for health nuts. If I'm being totally honest though, I wasn't thrilled with our food. I'm always one to try new cuisines and although I fully immersed myself in tagine land, I never really went back for more after our trip to Marrakesh. The medina was beautiful and I'm so happy we just sat in an upstairs cafe and people watched. From the snake charmers, the ladies who tried to henna every woman passing by and the random man with teeth on a table, there was so much life and noise going on for the couple of hours we were there. It only got louder as more street artists turned up and the medina got busier with the set up of the evening market stalls.
Above the medina
Medina of Marrakesh
Medina of Marrakesh
Medina of Marrakesh
Medina of Marrakesh
Snake Charmers
As the evening wound in and the trip was coming to an end (because it was gone midnight when we got back to the hotel), we headed over to the restaurant that would serve us the evening meal. This place was definitely everything you would imagine a Moroccan dining experience to have. A traditional band playing various melodies, all the tagine and finally a belly dancer balancing a plate of candles on her head. Normal right?
Restaurant Chandelier
Marrakesh guide
Marrakesh was definitely one of those bucket list destinations to visit and I'm so glad we did it even if we ended up feeling a little worse for wear afterwards. We may be back in the future but for now, I've had all the Marrakesh I can take for a while!

Have you ever been to Marrakesh? Let me know your thoughts of the city in the comments below.

*Disclaimer - This is a collaborative post with Corporate Rewards. All words are my own.


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