I knew after the first of the year that I would be returning home to Denver and felt the strong NEED to book one last trip before I moved away from London and all the convenience of travelling from here. After having explored Europe quite a bit over the last year, I was really disappointed that I wasn't able to take the photography safari to South Africa that I was tentatively planning for early 2012. A friend of mine at work had mentioned that she had been wanting to visit Marrakesh for some time and I was quick to jump on board. This would give me a chance to visit Africa before I left London but also have a travel buddy to join me as well. I had heard from several people that Marrakesh wasn't the best of places to go as a solo female traveler so I was actually really happy to have someone to join me on the holiday!
Aside from the cultural experiences, we were also able to see some amazing sites as well. Our first day in Morocco, we had booked a trip out of the city to do a short camel ride and hike in the Atlas mountains. I was actually really excited for the camel ride as I felt like it was going to be a real trek through treacherous terrain on the back of a camel. It turned out to be a bit less adventurous as we were simply put on the camels while a man walked in front of them leading us up a trail that lead from one village to the next. It was still a very beautiful and scenic walk. Camel rides are also nicer to think about then to actually experience. The wobbly gate of a camel means that you are rolling your body the entire time to maintain balance while riding and at one time I commented to Lindsay that I thought it was probably a pretty good core workout.
My bum was pretty numb by the time the ride ended so I was ready to move on to the lunch/hiking portion of the day! We walked to the top of one of the hillsides looking over the mountains and the villages below. The setting was AMAZING and just as we were waiting for our lunch to arrive, the call came resounding from all the mosques in the area - it really was chilling to hear the chanting on the loud speakers resonate through the mountains.
|Lindsay and me in the Atlast Mountains|
I would say if you do go to Marrakesh, plan in a day to get lost in the souks (the markets). The souks are really just a series of alleys that twist and turn while motorcycles and bicycles and carts whizz by narrowly missing you. It is a bit chaotic and its quite easy to just get lost inside them. Sometimes I think that is what holidays are for though - getting lost - so I didn't really mind. By the end of the holiday we were actually quite good at navigating our way though them. When you come out of the markets, you pop out at the main square which in the afternoon into the evening has several different street performers, anything from snake charmers to musicians to dancers. The square really comes alive and in the evenings several stalls are set up to serve food to to the tourists. Lindsay, again being far more polite them me, was accosted a second time in the square by the snake charmers who walked up behind her and wrapped a small snake around her neck demanding a tip for a picture with the snake. We snapped the shot and ran away having given them a nominal tip however not before the snake had pooed all down the front of her scarf and dress. Turns out that the snake was more afraid then we were I guess. I think as long as you have the right attitude and you take it in stride it is all just part of the experience of being in Marrakesh really.