In May, Aaron and I celebrated our 5th anniversary by going to Morocco. Food, culture, textiles all pulled us there. We flew through Madrid and got about 36 hours total there, just enough to see Real Madrid play and pound some killer paella! Morocco was lovely, a little stressful, but lovely nonetheless.
**Please note all photos were taken with permission, if you travel there be respectful and always ask permission when taking photos of people.
Things to know when traveling to Marrakech
Wardrobe: While Morocco is fairly conservative as a whole, tourists are common in Marrakech. The city is divided into the old and new by a wall. The old city is still conservative and it is wise to cover shoulders and knees, nothing too tight for the ladies; however, in the new city it seemed a little less strict. The countryside is a European vacation spot so it seemed like anything was fair.
Food: You need to know that tagines & tangias are different. Tagines are common in the states and while delicious try the tangia's. Tangia's are clay pots with paper tops, generally lamb, is cooked all day in a lemon preserve and are amazing. Get one as often as you can because there is nothing like it in the states!
Hotels: If you are staying in the old city choose a riad close to a landmark, it will help get you home! Cars can't fit in the old city well so they will drop you off where the street narrow, often very far from your destination. Make sure to make arrangements with your hotel to have someone meet you & the car service, we ran into many lost people with luggage.
Street Smarts: 1. Fairly safe but beware of pick-pockets. 2. Mentally prepare to have everyone trying to sell you stuff. 3. Do not ask for directions from people on the street, kids will get you lost and then force you to pay to get the real directions. If you need help go into a real restaurant or museum, buy something to drink and ask.
Purchasing: Do your shopping in the souks, any gift shop outside will be double the price. Know what you're willing to spend, don't get hassled, every street is filled with more of the same thing so you will get another chance. We tried to shoot to spend 1/3 of what the asking price was and felt good about our purchases when we left.
Cash: Get cash out at the airport. Most places do not take cards and finding an ATM in the city is unbelievably difficult.
Get a Guide: The streets are a labyrinth, maps are less than helpful and there are secrets to discover around every corner. The best thing we did was hired a guide through our riad. When walking with a local you tend to not get hassled as often. They will walk you through the maze of streets and help you find what you really want to see. We were interested in street food and the artisans. Our guide helped us try things we would never have on our own and walked us back into the "makers" alleys where we got to see products being made.
Mosques: The prayer will sound through the whole city, if you don't know it's coming it's a little startling at first. If you are not of the Islamic faith you will not be permitted to enter but they are lovely to look at from the outside.