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 

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Veronica Lee said...

Thank you for the heads-up. As for the leering and crude comments, it's the same over here in Malaysia.
Love the photos, Hena. I really, really would love to visit Morocco someday.

Kelly said...

Ooo, I loved seeing all this! Your hotel was so beautiful and exotic. I'm a total plant-eater, so the fruits at that vendor really look good!

Dianna said...

Welcome back! I've been looking forward to reading about your adventures. It is so interesting to see how people live in different parts of the world. Thank you SO much for all of the wonderful photos and sharing about the foods and the customs and your experience. I enjoyed it all so much. I feel as if I have been on vacation and haven't had to leave my home. :)

Couture Carrie said...

Looks like an amazing trip! Love the pool!


Stefanie said...

What an interesting trip. The food look good. I would eat all of that.
Your boys may like A Series of Unfortunate Events; it's a little silly and unique but it doesn't hurt to try. I used to watch time to time Disney shows w/the girls. It was always fun to see what was out there. Yeah, I used to only read romance novels and now I lean towards fantasy where anything can happen.

Laura Jones said...

ahh, i really want to go to morocco! and it looks like you had a wonderful time! looking forward to seeing what more you got up to:-) xx

sewing green lady said...

That looks amazing, I have never been so I loved your photographs. The accommodation looked spot on so one for my list I think.

Jodie's Touch of Style said...

What an incredible trip!! The textures and colors are so bright and pretty!!

Nora Gouma said...

This is truly such great post, the pictures are amazing, I love your blog. All of you look great, thank you for sharing.



Kathrine Eldridge said...

What an amazing trip! That pool is gorgeous and love all this architecture.


Christina said...

The boys look like seasoned travellers! Loved to see all these beautiful photos of the trip, how amazing. I really want to go to Marrakesh now:-)

Emmylou said...

Oh..em..gee! Hena, this looked like such an awesome trip...something I would love to do with my family:) That hotel where you guys stayed looked so awesome and straight out of the movies. I'm so jealous! :D Thank you for sharing your experience.

Straight A Style said...

These pictures are so fun! Looks like you all had so much fun. I especially like seeing the food. I am always interested in other culture's food for some reason.

Amy Ann
Straight A Style

BLovedBoston said...

You're giving me serious wanderlust right now! This is high on my bucket list of places to travel to! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

vnssachn said...

such an awesome journey and Riad Ghali looks sooooo good! glad that your family had such a great time


Shelly @ The Queen in Between said...

Your pictures are lovely! Hope you finally found some food you could be a fan of!!

Laura Mitbrodt said...

Your family is so cute, it looks like you had an amazing time! That pool looks glorious

shwet said...

Amazing place to stay,seems you had great time with your adorable family. Food look so yummy.
My Blog | Instagram | Bloglovin

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

Looks like you had a spectacular trip. This is a place I’ve wanted to visit. I have a good friend who is teaching in Marrakech. Some of his stories sound delightful while some sound nerve wracking. I’m glad to hear yours was a positive trip.

Rowena @ rolala loves said...

Marrakech looks like it is full of old world charm. Not a bad way to spend 36 hours :)

Carrie said...

Ahh, that spa looks so relaxing. The boys look like they're having a blast! SO much delicious food! What a fun trip to go on!


Paola Lauretano said...

On my bucket list!
Great pics!
Kisses, Paola.


Susie @ Mile High Dreamers said...

Your boys are so cute! I love the winding streets and all the fresh fruit. It's funny how some things that people complain about don't even surface when you actually make it to the destination. Thanks for the little tips too, those things are always so helpful to know!
Glad you all had a wonderful time!

Susie | http://milehighdreamers.com

Miguel Gouveia said...

Thanks a lot :D

super cool photos, dear! seems to be an amazing place to visit :D

InstagramFacebook Official PageMiguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me :D

The Bandwagon Chic said...

This looks like a great travel adventure
I love Morocco

Much Love, Jane | The Bandwagon Chic
New Vlog Entry!

karen said...

you are so adventurous!! I do not like mint tea either or as you say not a fan (we could be hot drink sisters). I love that I can see the world on your blog in the comfort of my home :)

awhite said...

Looks like a super fun + whirlwind trip! Love the haggling tip- get it, girl!

Le Stylo Rouge

Sparkles and Lattes said...

What a cool trip. I love that pool area. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Beautiful photos and beautiful family :)
xx Elisa
Francine's Place | DIY & Lifestyle Blog

Midnight Cowgirl said...

That hotel is beautiful, and it sounds like it was a good trip :)

Mica said...

You have such cute kids! it sounds like a lovely trip! I've never been but it looks amazing!

Hope you are having a great week :) I'm enjoying our cooler autumn weather, it's a lovely change from the heat we've had this year!

Away From The Blue Blog

jeanne christine said...

Aww good on your boys! Looks like you guys had a lovely time though! It's always hard when you have to be mindful of whether or not people really mean well.


Simply Alexandra // My Favorite Things said...

What a fantastic spring break adventure for the whole family! I love your photos! :) I would love to make it to Morocco someday! :) XO - Alexandra

Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

Sandi said...

The french fries make me laugh-- hey, we are not at McDonald's! ;-)

Love that sink.

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