As you know, at the end of last month I went away for 10-nights in Morocco. I’m a very lucky girl and the holiday was paid for by my family and K as my birthday present, which I’m very grateful for because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go away.
I counted down excitedly to the day we were going, scheduled blog posts for the duration of the time I was away and – eventually – the big day arrived!
We bought the deal with Thomson’s and, unfortunately, the only flights we could get were a bit rubbish – 6pm from London which meant we arrived at our hotel at 1.20am the following day, and departing Morocco at 10.40pm on the way home, which meant we didn’t arrive back home until 4.00am the day after. However, I can’t fault Thomson’s – booking was easy, their customer service was brilliant, the flight was great (from someone as terrified of flying as me, that’s really saying something!) and the hotels and transfers were just perfect. 10/10 Thomson’s – good work!
Since I’ve been back, quite a few people have asked me what I thought of Morocco. To be honest, I’m not really sure what the answer is…
I’ve wanted to go for Morocco for ages; it always looks so colourful, vibrant and interesting when it’s shown on television and in magazines. I knew it wasn’t as advanced as the UK but I don’t think I was really prepared for quite how much poverty there is there. I don’t think we’re shown the half of it.
On one particular day, K and I managed to get ourselves completely lost in Marrakech. As it turns out, after about 2-hours of walking, finding ourselves well away from the tourist area and in the depths of the ‘real’ Marrkech, a friendly old lady came to see if we were ok (as we looked so out of place!) and she spoke a bit of English. She managed to show us on a map where we were and one of her grandsons (I think) led us back to where we should have been. This meant we went through lots of little alleyways as he knew the shortcuts.
It was really interesting to see the way they live there and it was a real eye-opener. We really don’t know how lucky we are with our way of life in this country and, I guess ignorantly, I never really thought poverty still existed to such an extent in countries that are holiday destinations.
Whilst lost in Marrakesh I really noticed people staring at me – and I mean STARING. I wore a maxi dress and cardigan in order to cover myself up and be respectful to their culture, but they still looked. Even K noticed how much and he never notices anything! I don’t think it was done in a threatening manner and I don’t for a second think I was in danger at any point, but I felt extremely uncomfortable. I also found it really hard to avoid the street sales people – they don’t take “No, thank you” for an answer and they will force their products on you, follow you and even – in one of the experiences I had – grab you.
As I said, I’m really glad I went and I definitely recommend that people go to see what it’s like – it’s interesting – but be prepared to see poverty if you go off the beaten path and to be hassled a lot by people asking for money.
We were only in Marrakesh for 3-nights, then we made the 4-hour journey to Agadir on the coast for 7-nights. A more modern area, it was nice and hot (around 30-40 degrees during the day, around 25 degrees overnight) and there were a few different restaurants to choose from. The street traders there also didn’t hassle you as much and when you said “No, thank you” they listened to you, which I appreciated. Both the hotels we stayed in were lovely – absolutely spotlessly clean – and the staff were attentive, friendly and very eager to please.
I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m slating Marrakesh at all – I’m really not – in fact I feel lucky that we got lost and had a 4-hour transfer between hotels, as I think we got to see parts that tourists wouldn’t usually get to see; and that’s pretty special! I think, perhaps because I’ve never been abroad (other than Tenerife and Croatia), I wasn’t really expecting what I saw and I’d also never experienced the intensity of a male-dominant environment like that in some of the parts we found ourselves lost in when we were in Marrakech.
Overall, I had a really great time out there and it was so lovely to be able to spend some quality time with K without having to worry about the everyday goings-on of life. We spent the majority of the time in Agadir laid on sun-loungers around the pool and taking naps; it was idyllic!
Rather than write anymore, I’ll share some of the photos I took while we were there – they’re not great quality but I don’t own a camera, so I had to borrow this one for the trip!