As I mentioned earlier this week in my February month in review, we were surprised to find out that Dave had a long weekend mid-March, just a week before his actual March break. Even though we have plans to do a lot of travelling during his break, we wanted to take advantage of the long weekend. We were debating between Mallorca and Marrakech: a relaxing holiday or an exotic adventure. We were both torn until we found a flight deal to Marrakech that was just too good to pass up.
Despite being really interested in visiting Morocco, we were both a bit nervous; neither of us has ever been to Africa and it’s out of our North American/European comfort zone, but that’s what this year is all about—getting outside of our comfort zone, exploring and experiencing the unknown. So, before we could (stupidly) talk ourselves out of it, I entered all of our information and booked the flight.
And now, we’re just two days away from our first Moroccan adventure. In anticipation of this adventure I thought I’d share with you the top ten things I’m excited to see and do in Marrakech, and one thing I’m really so not looking forward to.
Top Ten Things I’m Excited to See, Do and Eat:
The Majorelle Garden is a twelve-acre botanical garden and artist’s landscape garden in Marrakech, Morocco. An archaeological museum, it contains the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech (source).
Drink Mint Tea
The Bahia Palace is a palace and a set of gardens located in Marrakesh, Morocco. It was built in the late 19th century, intended to be the greatest palace of its time. The name means “brilliance” (source).
A tajine or tagine is a historically Arab Bedouin dish that is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked (pictured above). Tajine dishes are slow-cooked savoury stews, typically made of sliced meat, poultry or fish, together with vegetables or fruit and spices. Sweet and sour combinations are typical, such as lamb with dates and spices (source). It sounds absolutely amazing, and even though it will be warm-ish in Marrakech (maybe too warm for stew), I can’t wait to try it!
Medina of Marrakech
A medina quarter is a distinct city section found in many North African cities. The medina is typically walled, with many narrow and maze-like streets, which are known to confuse travelers and tourists. The word “medina” itself simply means “city” or “town” in modern day Arabic (source). The medina area
Chebakia is a pastry of Moroccan origin made of strips of dough rolled to resemble a rose, deep-fried until golden, then coated with a syrup made of honey and rosewater and sprinkled with sesame (source).
Jemaa el Fna
Jamaa el Fna is Marrakech’s main square and market place. During the day, the square is mainly filled with orange juice stalls, water sellers, and snake charmers. As the day progresses, the snake charmers depart and the square becomes more crowded, with Chleuh dancing-boys, story-teller, magicians and more (source). It sounds like a feast for the senses!
Ride a Camel
I am obsessed with the idea of riding a camel while we’re in Morocco. I don’t think Dave’s too keen on spending 90 minutes on top of a dromedary, but I think he’s given just so that I’ll stop talking about it. Now, to find a company that’s in our price range, and not too long of a journey—I can’t imagine it’s a comfortable ride.
El Badi Palace
El Badi Palace is a ruined palace, located in Marrakech, that travelers can wander throughout. The complex also contains a museum with exhibits such as a restored 12th century minbar that once stood in the Koutoubia Mosque (source).
It wouldn’t be a moroccan adventure without a visit to the souk! Marrakech has the largest traditional Berber market in Morocco, which sells everything from brightly colour bejewelled sandals and slippers to stalls containing fruits, vegetables, spices and teas (source). From what I’ve read, it can be an overwhelming experience for the eyes and the nose, but it’s one that can’t be missed!
And, The One Thing I Already Abhor
In all honesty, if I could control everything all the time, I would go through this entire trip without so much as seeing a snake. Hey, I managed such a feat when we were in Costa Rica (which I am still amazed by and almost don’t want to admit for fear of jinxing myself), but I don’t think I’ll have such luck in Marrakech. I’ve heard horror stories that if you’re not ever vigilant, people in the market will just throw them on your shoulders and request money for a photo. Seriously, if this happens I might die on the spot. I DO NOT want to touch one or have one slither past me, let alone on me – ugh, the thought of it is making me uneasy and I’m in my apartment eight floors above the streets of Madrid. Hopefully on this trip I can limit my snake interactions (I’m still holding out hope that there’s a chance of no encounters); we can be cordial from a distance and that is all.
Have I missed anything? What would you recommend I add to my list?
All photos courtesy of Pixabay.com, unless otherwise listed.
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