I finally got the chance to sort some of my photos from my travels, so I'll start with Morocco! Back in April this year, my friend Shaina and I went on quite the trip to Morocco, the South of France and Paris. Paris was our first and last stop, but we've both been there so we kept our stay short. Fun fact: We had an embarrassing incident where we did not read the menu at a restaurant carefully, and essentially ended up with a raw beef patty. Steak tartare, anyone? Needless to say, we did not finish our meal, paid and booked it out of there before we could see the disgusted faces of our servers hahaha. Oops.
When we first decided on where to travel, we had an endless list. Spain, Croatia, Greece.. list goes on. But somehow, Morocco made the cut, and we're glad it did! Our first impression of Marrakech wasn't too great to be honest, but the people, sights and rich culture quickly made up for it.. and we fell in love with the country.
Upon arrival, we had to wait at least an hour an a half before we got through immigration. (Their immigration process definitely needs some streamlining. A little shocked to see that many people argued over the queue, and skipped lines as they pleased!) It's a city that is very much feels like you've gone back in time, but you'll grow to understand the history and the beauty of Marrakech as you explore. Once we got to the riad, the in house chef made us some simple Moroccan fare for breakfast after check-in, and we got to rest a little before exploring the souks in the Medina.
We got to explore the souks through a local guide from our first riad (We stayed in 3 different airbnb riads! A little exhausting, but worth it. Design enthusiasts, you'd appreciate the uniqueness of all three), and I ended up with some leather purchases and homeware. Tip: Bargain away! Everything is marked up for tourists. We also got to check out the leather tanneries and see first hand how leather is processed, which was a very interesting and educational experience. The smell on the other hand.. no comment.
I didn't bring my DSLR out on our first day, so these were mostly from my iPhone. The souks were a challenge to navigate, so I'm pretty glad we had our guide Ismail to see the city through a local's perspective. Those wedding carpets though.. what a dream. I think I may have to come back on a buying trip next time! It was a sensory overload of smells, colours and culture. A photographer's haven for sure.
We then made our way to the Ben Youssef Madrasa, which used to be an islamic college back in the day. It has since been refurbished and reopened to the public as a historical site. The intricate details of the tiles and architecture is stunning. And.. that pretty much sums up our first day! We kept it fairly relaxed on the itinerary, as we would be embarking on an 8-9 hour drive (unbeknownst to us) to camp in the Sahara the next day. More on that later!