For as long as I can remember, I have always felt a pull to the beautiful country of Morocco. As a child traveling to Portugal every summer, I would beg my mom and step-dad to take a ferry across the straight of Gilbraltar. Flea market finds, Paulo Coelho books, and colorful magazine editorials only further fed the desire to visit a country that was, at once, so close and so unfamiliar. When the opportunity to take a 5-day trip presented itself this February, there was no doubt in my mind – I had to go to Morocco.
Day 1: Marrakesh
Coming from the East Coast of the US, with a connecting flight in Madrid, our flight landed in Marrakesh in the early afternoon. We headed right to Riad Helen and were met by Max, our lovely host. When travelling to Marrakesh, a Riad (guest house) is the way to go – the prices are reasonable, the accommodations are gorgeous, and breakfast is included.
Time was of the essence, so we immediately made our way to the medina to experience the Moroccan markets. They were vibrant and full of energy, everything one would expect. The salesmen were pushy and we quickly learned not to engage (at all) unless we were truly interested in purchasing something (at that point, haggle; there is always wiggle room in the price.) I got a gorgeous, studded leather bag for less than $20!
We walked through the maze of the medina to Ben Youssef Madrasa. Founded as an Islamic College in the 14th century, it is now open to the public as a historical site. The open design, beautiful entryways, and spectacular tile are the epitome of Moroccan architecture.
For food, we stopped at Le Jardin. The seating is mostly outdoor, surrounded by tons of greenery – always a plus! The Lemon-Chicken Tagine was one of my favorite meals of the entire trip.
Stay tuned for Day Two as we depart on a two day journey through the Sahara.