Behold, the most overdue of overdue photo diaries. I don't really know why it took me so long to publish these, but I found a bit of pleasure trickling them in via instagram when a #tbt allowed for it, Thursdays or otherwise. These photos mean a lot to me as they capture one of the most jam-packed, road-trip heavy, tagine-full and memorable trips I've experienced to date, with some of my favourite people. I've included a few places we enjoyed from Marrakech to Fez to Chefchaouen and Essaouira, though it may have been a good idea to write this up once we got back as it's now pretty hard to remember all the places we went to as we managed to do so much within the course of eight days. I hope you enjoy, and let me know if you visit and enjoy Morocco; it was such a vibrant and beautiful country and I'll remember this trip forever.
Part 1: Marrakech
We spent most of our time in Marrakech, but took some time out to make a trip to Fez (+ Chefchaouen) and a day at the end for Essaouira. We stayed in a place Grace and Sommy found via TripAdvisor called Riad Tizwa, as well as a second place after Fes but I highly recommend Tizwa because of how affordable it was as well as the amazing hospitality of the manager Hassan which helped ease some of the initial culture shock at the beginning of the trip, before Kes and Yasmine arrived. It wasn't the most luxurious of riads in the medina (inside the old town of Marrakech) but we loved it, especially the breakfast spread they laid out for us every morning.
For things to see, I'd recommend YSL's Majorelle garden and visiting some of the palaces (We visited the Bahia Palace) aside from getting lost in the souks which can be stressful, but also a sensory overload in a good way. On one of the days we spent an afternoon at The Pause, a kind of desert retreat 30 mins outside of the city, where we had an amazing lunch. We also enjoyed a quiet lunch at Le Table du Palais; Nomad and Le Jardin are lovely new restaurants where you can go for a bite to eat between sightseeing and meandering through the souks. I regret not doing more shopping there, so bring comfortable shoes and your best bargaining skills as you'll find a ton of cool souvenirs in the souks such as Moroccan slippers, carpets and homeware. On our last day, we made a trip to Beldi country club which is the perfect getaway if you feel like lounging at the pool and getting a massage after days of walking and exploring; we tried out the traditional 'hammam' experience which was memorable to say the least. Oh, and if you are lost in the souks and people offer to bring you to your destination, there is a large chance they will ask you for money at the end, and this includes children.
Part 2: Fez
I thought it was easy to get lost in Marrakech's medina, and then we arrived in Fez, which is a tenfold more maze-like. There were noticeably less tourists than Marrakech, and we liked not having to worry about getting run over by motorcyclists in the souk. It was a shame as we planned on visiting a huge leather tannery while we were there but it was closed for renovation so we didn't manage to see it in action. I recommend having lunch at the Ruined Garden restaurant, which we enjoyed before heading back to Marrakech. One of the only souvenirs I brought back to london was a little roll-on bottle of essential oil which the locals use as perfume, and you can find a ton of different scents plus things like argan oil in their pharmacies. Also, don't trust anyone in the souk who tells you that they can show you the best roofs for views (into mosques etc.) as these are scammers and we found out the hard way.
We took a day trip from Fez to drive 5 hours to the blue town of Chefchaouen. The views along the way were beautiful and though we were only in Chefchaouen for a few hours, it was a nice break from the city; the blue alleyways make for amazing photo ops and made me feel super calm and serene. Compared to Marrakech and Fes, the locals in Chefchaouen are much more quiet and shopkeepers tend to mind their own business rather than lure you to buy souvenirs. It's a great place for a day trip although I wouldn't necessarily recommend staying there overnight (or for a few nights) if you're looking for an activity-packed visit.
This was one of my favourite parts of the trip. We drove from Marrakech to the beach town, and were pleasantly surprised along the way by some goats in trees; I got super excited. We arrived explored after a quick lunch, and ended up horseback riding on the beach which was also a highlight (they let you go very very fast). We snuck in a quick snack of fresh and cheap seafood before getting back on the car but I highly recommend visiting for anyone who wants a bit more sun and sea.
I hope the photos managed to capture what an amazing time we had, and writing up this post has given me the itch to travel again. Also, thank you to Grace, Sommy, Yasmine and Kes for being the best travel companions a girl could ask for, as they were the reason I had such a good time. Let me know if any of you plan on visiting Morocco in the future; I'm sure you'll love it.
Photos taken on a Contax T2.