Morocco Debrief: Marrakech Living

marrakech living: Djemaa El Fna
Djemaa El Fna

I’ve started my Morocco debrief/review – here’s the first post of the series! The other posts will cover my Sahara tour, our hammam experience, 10 things to do in Morocco and how to travel to Morocco for cheap. Stay tuned!

Snow capped mountains. Bustling city life. Beautiful gardens. Villages high in the mountains. Sharp dunes in the desert. Morocco has all that to offer to more. I had no idea!

To say I enjoyed my trip to Morocco would be an understatement. I LOVED it! I’ve wanted to visit Morocco since I was a child and it definitely lived up to the hype. I traveled to Morocco with my older sister for a 5 day trip. Upon landing in Marrakech, you could tell we were in a whole new world. It didn’t look like the Africa that most people would think of, but by the same token it was completely different from anything I’ve experienced. There’s so much to tell that I’ve got to bullet point this post or else I’ll go on forever!

City life

We stayed in the city of Marrakech for 3 nights and did a 2 night excursion to the Sahara Desert. I adored the city of Marrakech. Let’s be clear: it can be a LOT to handle. You’re sharing the narrow streets with pedestrians, mopeds, cars, bicycles, horses and my favorite, DONKEY carts! I’d never seen a real donkey before arriving in Marrakech. They’re so cute!

I love the vibe of Marrakech though. The dark and narrow streets, the different vendors in the souks selling spices, scarves, leather goods, candle holders, the list goes on! We took a tour our first day in the city, with a guide our riad set us up with, Khalid. For only 35 euros, Khalid took us all over the Medina, which is the old town of Marrakech, and we got to see several landmarks such as the Saadian Tombs and the Bahia palace, but also got to peek into everyday life in Marrakech.

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marrakech living: Bahia Palace
Bahia Palace
marrakech living: Saadian Tombs
Saadian Tombs
marrakech living: food stalls in Djemaa El Fna "big square"
food stalls in Djemaa El Fna “big square”
marrakech living: scarves for sale!
scarves for sale!
marrakech living: man making bread
man making bread

I won’t pretend that everyone in Marrakech is all roses. You may see a few skinned animals that you CANNOT identify, hanging up in the butcher’s stand. Yep, right by your head. Just about everything but the kitchen sink is poured into the streets – I can’t imagine what the stench is like in the summer. The same narrow streets that I love are EXTREMELY easy to get lost on – I should know, we definitely got lost more than once 😉 It’s all a part of the charm of Marrakech. I loved it, but I can see how less experienced travelers, or people who aren’t fans of “organized chaos” wouldn’t be a huge fan. My sister fell into that category – she enjoyed herself but Marrakech was a bit more than she could handle.

 

 

 

The people:

Moroccan people are def one of the highlights of my trip. Everyone is so accommodating and helpful – plus they always want to serve you mint tea! We stayed at Riad Mur Akush,which I HIGHLY recommend. Riads are guesthouses, similar to a bed and breakfast, that are found in the Medina in Marrakech. If you want an authentic Morocco experience, you should definitely stay in a riad in the Medina.

marrakech living: outside entryway of our 3rd floor suite
outside entryway of our 3rd floor suite
marrakech living: bedroom of the suite
bedroom of the suite
marrakech living: living room of our suite
living room of our suite

They picked us up from the airport, served us breakfast on either the rooftop terrace in the courtyard, arranged a tour guide of the city for us and served us a delicious 3 course meal our first night in Marrakech!

marrakech living: Marrakech rooftops
Marrakech rooftops
Rooftop terrace

Hospitality is definitely key in Morocco – you’re always made to feel like you’re right at home. Whether we were in our riad, shopping in the souks or getting a hammam, there were always people willing to be helpful, serve up some mint tea and engage in friendly conversation.

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As young, single black women, we got our share of flirtation in Morocco! We were called Aisha and Fatimah all throughout our trip, which are the names of the Prophet Muhammad’s wife and daughter, respectively. It wasn’t uncommon to walk through the souks hearing “Aisha! Aisha I love you!” Many men in the souks told me that my name was no longer Robin, but Fatimah, for that is a strong name. It was all in good fun and my sister and I never felt threatened by any of the flirtation. After all, you’re on vacation to have FUN, right?

We never felt unsafe in Marrakech, even while traveling alone. We got lost a few times, got scammed into a tour we never wanted and had to finagle our way around aggressive shop owners, but it comes with the territory in Marrakech. I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again at the drop of a dime!

 

 

marrakech living: Mint tea
Mint tea
marrakech living: people entering the Mosque for prayer after the adhan (call to prayer)
people entering the Mosque for prayer after the adhan (call to prayer)

One thought on “Morocco Debrief: Marrakech Living

  1. Morocco wasn’t very high on my list, but this post has just bumped it up a few notches. You had me at donkey carts and spices 🙂 Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

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