April 02, 2015

We got back from our little 4 day getaway to beautiful Marrakech late Saturday night. It was the perfect vacation mix of exploring the city and relaxing by the pool. That is definitely my favourite way to travel. As much as I love adventure and discovering new places, sometimes I need a day or two just to do nothing but read a good book and get my tan on. Which I certainly did!

We arrived late Tuesday evening at our hotel, the Palmeraie Place. James' Dad picked this hotel for us because the boys wanted to golf and it has a beautiful pool and outdoor area which James' Maman and I loved. It is 20 minutes outside of the center of Marrakech, which ended up being really nice and we felt really secluded.

On Wednesday it was raining on and off, so golf and pool lounging was out of the question, so we hired a local guide to take us into the city. First stop was Yves Saint Laurent's beautiful gardens, Jardin Majorelle. The gardens are gorgeous and feel very tropical with all of the stunning colours and palm trees. There was a little memorial for Yves Saint Laurent, a gallery with his artwork, and I learned his ashes were scattered here. The only downside was, we were not the only people who decided to visit. So it was a little overcrowded for our liking. I would recommend going there when it opens when I am sure less people would visit.

After we wandered into the walls of Marrakech, went to the Maison de la Photographie. I saw it in an issue of Cereal magazine, where they suggested going here for a unique look at Morocco in the past, and to get a breathtaking view over Marrakech on their rooftop café. This was one of the highlights of the trip. I loved looking at the vintage photos from as early as the mid 1800's, and to see not much has changed in the architecture and even the way people look here. After we looked at all of the photos, we climbed the stairs up to the rooftop to the most amazing view over the city. 

Next we entered into the forbidden Souk. Many, many people warned me about going into the Souk. Saying I will be harassed and bombarded with shop owners trying to sell me their goods, and to only enter with a guide. So with a little fear in me we entered the Souk with the guide, and I quickly discovered this was not the scary market that everyone had told me. I found the shop owners to be pretty friendly and the few that did ask me to come in and see their shop, backed off if I said no. I was so trigger happy with my camera here because this is where you can see many locals and craftsman working away. The one thing I would say to be careful of, are the constant scooters shooting by. Stick to the right side and just be aware of them when you are stopping to take photos or look at things.

James and I went back into the Souk again on Saturday morning without a guide, and again we were not bothered or disturbed too much. We got a bit lost and ended up going to an outdoor food market where it seemed only the locals knew about it. Many little boys kept telling us it was closed, which I think meant tourists were not welcome, but we acted oblivious and observed local life. It was so cool to see how they spend a typical Saturday morning.

The one spot at the top of my list to see was the Ben Youssef Madrasa, which is a former Islamic College founded in the 14th century. My sister visited it when she went to Marrakech and her photos blew me away, so I knew I had to see this place for myself. It did not disappoint. Again there were many tourists, but in between groups leaving and arriving I managed to capture it's beauty for myself. The mosaic tile, carved wood and the grandeur of it all is what I fell in love with. I would highly recommend stopping by here to see traditional Moroccan architecture and learn a bit about the history of the city.

After soaking up Marrakech for the full day, we relaxed at the hotel by the pool for the other two days while the boys played golf. Then James and I went back into the city to see a little more and shop on Saturday before we flew out. We bought some traditional handmade Moroccan slippers and I bought a dress made out of pashmina scarves, which is the most comfortable thing in the world. 

My overall experience in Marrakech was amazing. I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the city, the people and the food. I am hoping to go back again someday with James and to stay in the city hopefully in a Riad, and to explore the Atlas mountains and journey into the desert as well. There is so much to see and do, one trip here is definitely not enough. Which makes me happy that it is only a 2.5 hour direct flight away from us.

It is incredible what a few days away from home can do to rejuvenate your mind and body. I feel so relaxed since coming home, and think these little getaways are so important to take.

Have you ever been to Marrakech or another part of Morocco? What did you see, do and love there?

Thank you so much for sharing in my little vacation! 

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