Erm… hello? Anyone?
Yes, it’s me (Lydia) and I’m so sorry for being completely absent from my blog for the past two weeks. I have finally FINISHED UNI (*dancing gal emoji *) and I am so excited to commit more time to my blog! I’ve got a lot of exciting things planned for the next few months, so make sure you keep up to date by giving me a follow, either here or on my Instagram where I’m a lot more frequent.
SO – Morocco. I don’t even know where to begin.
We arrived in Marrakech last Monday and I was a little unsure what to expect. We were supposed to be getting picked up from the airport by a shuttle company organised by our riad (Riad Spa du Chameau) but it never arrived. We approached some taxi drivers, who quickly rushed us into a taxi before answering how much it would cost to take us to the medina (which is only a short 10 minute drive from the airport). Safe to say, driving in Morocco is VERY different from at home… it was a bit worrying that the driver was texting, swerving between lanes and not indicating the whole journey!
Nonetheless, after one bizarre taxi ride, we arrived in a very busy looking street in the medina. The driver demanded 300 Moroccan dirhams (about 30 euros), but we protested against it and eventually settled upon 200 (still a rip off tho ngl). One thing you will definitely need to be prepared for on a trip to Morocco is your haggling skills – NEVER accept the first price given to you, as it’s expected that you will ask for money off!
After we got out the car, some random man from the street was given our luggage and he began to take it to our riad. We were both a little confused by the lack of communication, but regardless followed as we had no clue where we were. After a couple of minutes down windy narrow alleyways, we reached what looked like just a scruffy door from the street. We gave the man 10 dirhams and he skulked away – I think he was after more!
ANNNYWAY, once we knocked on the door and went inside…. wow. This is more like it!
Inside, the riad was a perfect escape from the chaos of the streets outside. It almost felt like a little paradise, especially the roof terrace, where we were taken and served amazzzzing Moroccan mint tea upon arrival. Our room had the most incredible balcony, it felt like we were the only ones there!
After unloading our luggage and freshening up, we were desperate to get out and take in Marrakech. We wanted to head straight for the main square, as we’d recently watched The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956 film with James Stewart and Doris Day – highly recommend!) and I was desperate to see if I recognised anywhere… yep I’m that sad lol.
We stopped in a restaurant nearby called Atay Cafe which had a beautiful roof terrace overlooking in the city. Mike got chicken kebab and I got cous cous, the food was amazing! I especially loved the freshly squeezed orange juice – it’s everywhere in Marrakech and it’s just delicious. After lunch/dinner/whatever-you-call-eating-at-4pm, we went back out to navigate the main square.
However, navigating Marrakech was NOT easy. As beautiful and amazing as the city is, the sad part is that there is lots of poverty, and consequently lots of scams on tourists. While we were walking in the souks, a number of young lads tried to warn us that a certain way was ‘closed’/’forbidden’ for tourists, and that they wanted to ‘help us’ reach the main square the right way. They then pointed to a rather shady looking alleyway. Luckily, we’d already heard of this scam online and ignored the (now angry) group and proceeded along the most crowded route, which turned out to be the right way (and neither closed or forbidden!)
There were a number of other scams we came across while trying to navigate the souks. One man even wrapped a pashmina around my neck while I was walking, lured us into his shop only to demand 640 dirhams for it (about 64 euros!) My best advice would be to NEVER go into the shops – only unless you are really interested in buying, ALWAYS stick to your gut, never pay out if you feel like you’re being ripped off and also to be CONFIDENT, even if you’re not – the scammers are praying on those who look lost, overwhelmed and ‘touristy’ (all three of which were me lol).
I read a really great article on the scammers of Marrakech, which is here if you’re interested – it was probably the best tool in preparing me for the darker sides of the city.
All in all, I don’t want to be too negative about Marrakech… it was such a beautiful city and for every shady/scammer-y person, there were tonnes of kind, friendly and happy people who made our trip fantastic. However, if you’re planning a trip to the city, you should definitely be clued up on what to expect when you get there. For me, I found our first day VERY overwhelming, especially as I got us lost about 16 times and it took me hours to navigate us back to the riad.
I’ll be writing LOTS more about our trip to Morocco and my outfits too! Make sure to subscribe or follow me on Instagram to here about my next post. Thanks as always for reading!