20180430

In Marrakech

This spring break we went to Morocco. We took a red eye out of JFK straight to Madrid and from there hopped onto another plane for a quick flight into Marrakech. 


A bit tired but so excited!! The riad (hotel) had sent someone to pick us up. To explain first a little about the layout of the city, within the main city they have an older part of the city called a medina. It is a walled area and within it is a labyrinth of tiny narrow streets and alleys. No cars can enter but a crazy amount of motorcycles vroom through it so you have to be careful. In the medina there are no hotels instead there are a multitude of riad's (a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard.) And I have got to tell you a riad is definitely the way to go..

Our driver stopped near one of the medina entrances and our porter was waiting for us


H enjoying a ride with the luggage. We walked through the narrow streets for a few minutes before we arrived at Riad Ghali and Spa and our jaws collectively dropped!







We arrived in Marrakech around noon and were famished.. we were welcomed with their famous mint tea (not a fan). We quickly dropped off our luggage and headed out, map in hand. 


We had lunch at Le Grand Balcon du Cafe Glacier near Jemaa el Fna (Large public square with small merchants, hawkers & entertainers, popular with tourists & locals.) The chicken skewers were a little cold but the couscous was flavorful and it was a great spot to people watch.

The rest of the day we spent wandering around trying to get a little acquainted with the area. 


Kutubiyya Mosque in the background

When we were too tired from walking we took a horse drawn carriage ride. Note: everything is a negotiation. When you start haggling always start at 50% less the asking price. Feel free to walk away more often than not you will be called back. The conversion rate for USD was pretty good so it made shopping a lot more fun and we are not shoppers but here, we shopped!


It was a pretty tiring day with all the travel and not much rest so we had an early dinner at Cafes des Epices. The kefta and eggs tajine was very good. It became the boys favorite and they ate it about three more times after that. 


The next morning we woke up refreshed, seriously I couldn't remember the last time I slept that well. We began the morning with a complimentary breakfast. Not a fan. There were no eggs. An assortment of bread like items with an array of jams. The boys ate nothing and we had to request eggs for the next day. The coffee was burnt, tasted like wet wood ? and the mint tea may have a soothing quality but nothing to perk you up. 









Oh the wonderful winding streets.. a surprise at every corner. We grabbed a small pizza for an early snack to eat in a beautiful sunny courtyard. The madrassah ben Yousef was closed for refurbishing. So we just continued to wander.. we saw craftsmen dying leather, chiseling wood, contorting metal. 




We stopped again to buying some chicken on skewers and then a bag of strawberries to munch on while walking and mm freshly squeezed orange juice. 


Towards the late afternoon we found ourselves back in Jemaa el Fna. Here we hopped into a rickshaw to take us to the El Badii Palace. 



We then headed to the nearby Mellah area once home to the city's Jewish population.


starting to tire from all the walking and with a big day ahead of us tomorrow we headed back to the Jemaa el Fna and sat down for an early dinner at Chez Ben Driss. 


M tried the pastilla, a sweet savory chicken or even sometimes pigeon stuffed pastry. Not a fan. It was covered is powdered sugar and cinnamon. Before we went to Morocco people online raved about the food. We were tired of it by the end of day two. Culturally we love our heat.. if it doesn't have a little spicy to it then it just doesn't do it for us.

Speaking of reviews and travel advice online.. I had been warned against the scam artists and the leering men. Having spent a great deal of my life in Pakistan it wasn't something I was too concerned about.. but having been to Marrakech I can say I found the people wonderful and helpful. I had read not to accept directions from anyone because they will want something in return. I was hesitant every time someone tried to help us. Yet every time someone did they wanted nothing in return (mind you Fes was a whole different story) But a WARNING... there were merchants that would hand something to your child and then ask you to pay for it.. everyone knows how hard it would be to now pry said thing out of your child hands. Thankfully D and H learned quickly to ball that hands into fist and just say no. It was so hard for H.. but he did it. :) As for the leering and crude comments as long as you dress appropriately there should be no issues. 

Next week we are off to the mountains 

     
                  Etsy           Instagram           Twitter           Bloglovin  

20180427

Friday Photography

       
                
Take a Seat - The sea of gray chairs set out in front of Saint Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican City.

You can buy this print here. Get Free Shipping with code BLOGGER

Prints also available in larger sizes. Contact for more information and special requests.

I am open to wholesale and licensing opportunities. Get in touch for more information.

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20180423

How to Pick Your Next Travel Destination

For those of you not following me on Instagram our spring break trip was to Morocco. When hearing about of plans to go to Morocco a few of my friends and some of our family as well asked us how we decided on Morocco. So here I am sharing our decision process..


Sometimes we plan a vacation with a destination in mind but more often than not we have no idea where we want to go.. we usually know if it's going to be an international trip or domestic but that is where the knowing ends and the figuring out starts.

I usually start with Kayak.. (not a sponsored post) You enter the airport you will fly out of and your perspective dates.. if you don't have dates I think it even gives you an option of seasons or something. And instead of your destination you select anywhere.. ah endless possibilities :)


Click search and wallah! You can narrow down by price, travel time, non stop. Zoom in on certain continents and or countries to explore in more detail.


While we still didn't know where we were going we at least had a narrower list than everywhere and anywhere! Then after we had our list we of countries I checked the weather and said bye bye to Russia, Germany and the UK. It was going to be off season and not warm enough in Greece either. The flight to Prague was inefficient.. flight efficiency is a big deal for M. Meaning a flight going to California with a layover in Maine.. inefficient!!

We didn't feel the boys were ready for South America just yet.. And so after all the research it was settled.. we were going to Morocco.

                  Etsy           Instagram           Twitter           Bloglovin  

20180420

Friday Photography


   
Tailed - In the Florida Everglades, in an air boat, up close and personal with the alligators in their natural habitat. The tour guide tosses a chicken in the air only to have the alligator snap at it before it touches the water. Breathtaking. This photograph was taken when the alligator was in a more serene disposition. A photograph of his tail skimming the surface of the water. Rough ridges and sharp edges yet so graceful.

You can buy this print here. Get Free Shipping with code BLOGGER

Prints also available in larger sizes. Contact for more information and special requests.

I am open to wholesale and licensing opportunities. Get in touch for more information.
    
                  Etsy           Instagram           Twitter           Bloglovin  

20180416

lately

Hello everyone.. hope where ever you are you have a little warmth. Our weather is still on the fritz, a mix of 40’s to late 60’s. :(

We are back from our trip but before I get into the details I need to share a little of what’s been going on..

We were at the tail end of our trip when my sister in law (brother’s wife) had a baby boy! Weeks earlier than expected, so unexpected that my brother wasn’t even in the country for the big day :( So when we returned home from our trip on Monday night we already had tickets booked to fly out again on Thursday morning. Unthinkable for M to get more days off the boys and I flew out to meet the new little guy. D had three days worth of homework to entertain him on the plane and a diorama project waiting for him when we returned due on Monday which we thought we’d have the week to do.



We were there for barely two days. M’s sister also lives in Houston so the boys were able to meet so many of their little cousins, D reigning over them as the eldest.

It was a short sweet trip but I think I can speak for the boys and myself when I say we’d be happy to not have to get back on a plane again for sometime.        
                  Etsy           Instagram           Twitter           Bloglovin  
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