Trippin – Marrakech

So from Madrid we flew to Marrakech via EasyJet (regional European airline… it is AWESOME.  When they have their deal going on you can go to anywhere in Europe for 5 euros each way but of course they add on taxes so it ends up being 30 to 50 euros round trip which isn’t bad at all).

Marrakech was what I expected it to be but different.  I’m not sure how to explain it in words.  It was a different cultural experience for me because I had never been to an Arab country before.  I’m happy that we went.  Traveling is about experiencing new things and new cultures.

The riad we stayed at was Riad Les Trois Palmiers, which was tucked away in an alley.  It was 15 minutes away from the main square, Jemma Al Fina, but away from it enough that we didn’t hear the noise from the square.  The riad was BEAUTIFUL.  I wish I had better pictures to show you.  The video of Marrakech best displays our riad.  Some afternoons we would spend time in their small pool in the courtyard/living room area to cool down.  Riads are built with the center of the house being a courtyard and open air to cool down in the hot desert.  Anyhow, upon our arrival the staff greeted us with Morrocan mint tea and pastries.  At night, our room (which was one of the smaller rooms in the riad) was on the terrace so we would hang out there sipping on mint tea.

Most of the evenings were spent at the square browsing the souks or overlooking the square and people watching.  It LOVE people watching.  Free entertainment for hours.

Overlooking the square as the food vendors set up their stations for dinner.

LOL!  Oh tourists… This guy wanted a picture with one monkey until the guy in brown came with his monkey.  Then both owners asked the tourist to pay for photos with both monkeys.  Oh and the monkey on the left pooped on the wife’s purse right after this.  SIGH!

Freshly squeezed orange juice and water stands.

I wish I could’ve taken a pictures of the souks and all the awesome colors of the shoes, pillowcases, clothes, scarves, tagines, spices, scarves, etc. but before arriving I read that you should not to take pictures of the store owners or their merchandise, so I didn’t want to risk it, except for the one below as I was across the street and no one was around.  😛

Spice bins at the souk

The hubs said he saw a woman take a picture of something in the souk and the owner was yelling at her for a while.  :-\  But the colors of the merchandise was amazing, bright and radiant.  Actually anywhere you go in Marrakech, lots of colors everywhere, against the clay background… GORGEOUS!

One of the seven entrances into the medina

The wall surrounding the medina, built hundreds of years ago for protection from intruders.

Koutoubia Mosque

Jardin Majorelle, which used to belong to Yves Saint Laurent (hence the memorial of a rock for him here)

Lots of blues all over the garden

 I LOVE Arabic architecture… I LOVE the archways.  LOVE!

Courtyard of Palais Bahia.  This palace was built for 4 of the Sultan’s 20 wives or something like that.

Another courtyard in the palace.

For my birthday, I contemplated if I wanted to go a traditional Moroccan spa or ride a camel.  I decided that I should do something a little different and adventurous, so we signed up for a camel ride excursion the morning of my birthday.  Good thing we went in the morning, that desert sun was BEAMING come 11am.

Then for dinner we went to dinner and a show… even though it took us forever to find the place.

This is just the first course aka appetizers.

This was my meal.  Tagine Lemon chicken and couscous with vegetables.  It came to the table in a tagine but the camera battery was dying as I was trying to snap pictures.  😦

One of the dancers.  Theres a tea pot in the middle of that tray with candles on it.  She did an insane twirling motion and moving her neck around in a circle that I cannot explain while this train was on her head.  There was a belly dancer as well; however, I didn’t take pictures of her.

Gorgeous lanterns.  I wish I could’ve purchased one but 1) we don’t own a house to put this up 2) we had carry on luggages (weekender bags) and didn’t have any space in our bags.  😦

Things I wish we could’ve purchased but didn’t:

Lots and lots of pashminas (they’re CHEAPS here)
Tea set like the picture above. Stainless steal with the shot glass looking cups.
Large tagine
Bracelets.  Lots and lots of bracelets (cheap and colorful).
Leather belt, but they charged a ridiculous price, so I walked away.
Flats. Not exactly the ones from Sex and the City 2 but a little similar and as colorful.

Things we didn’t do that I wish we could’ve:

Go to the Western Sahara but that’s a 3 day trip I believe.
Go to the eastern shore of Africa to see the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, but that was a 6 hour drive.
Go on a hike to the valley with a waterfall.
Go to Casablanca, but that was 6 hours away also.
Go to the hamman, Moroccan spa.
Be waken up by the 5am Call to Prayer (we heard the evening ones as it was Ramadan when we were there, but didn’t hear the morning ones).

It was very HOT while we were there; almost 110 everyday.  But it was an amazing trip.  It wasn’t a western country, it a mix of third world and western.  It was different but in a good way especially since we were introduced to a different culture.  Gotta love traveling.  🙂

The Dressing Room – Desert Wear

I bought these skinny chino pants at Uniqlo back in May when in London.  At first, I wasn’t sure about them because they’re not my style.  The pair of chinos I had prior to this are for business casual Fridays at work.  I used to think they’re a bit mom-ish.  They definitely reminded me of my mom, but after seeing the Charlize Theron photos of her chinos cropped up I knew I had to have them in my closet.  I originally posted about the ad here.

I read a bunch of blogs and posts prior to going to Marrakech that said girls who travel there should keep their knees and shoulders covered.  Planning outfits for Marrakech was difficult.  I needed something loose, breezy but cute and conservative.  These Uniqlo pants with a breezy top were perfect.  I practically lived in these when in Marrakech.

Top:  WetSeal Dolman
Pants:  Uniqlo Chinos
Belt:  Mom’s Closet
Hat:  Forever21 Fedora
Bracelet:  Forever21, H&M, JewelMint
Shoes:  Naya Sister in Silver

This outfit definitely reminds me of my mom, but I love the look!  This was one of my favorite outfits of our trip.  This is definitely still wearable right now especially in the bay, where it’s still summer.  It’s casual, cute, and easy.

take a trip with me

I’m finally up and about (kinda).  Last week was rough.  The day after we got back from VA, I started catching a cold.  Then it just progressed after that.  Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, headaches, etc.  It was miserable.  Plus add to the fact that our vacation was REALLY over, so I had a bit of the vacation blues.  Vacation had been over for a week since I was back to work at our headquarters (which is in VA), but it still felt like we were on vacation since I was hanging out with my adorable nieces & fabulous family in VA.  Anyhow, I’ve somewhat recovered from my sickness although the symptoms of my cold are slowly fading.

I promised I’d share my vacation with you.  For now, I’m sharing a video (errr videos since the hubs had to break it into two parts) that the hubs (who is oh so creative) created of our trip.  He took all our videos (we’re talking hours of video) and condensed it to 20 minutes.   He did this a couple years ago when we went to London and Paris.

I’ll still post about the individual cities along with photos throughout the next week or two.  But for now, go ahead and pop some popcorn and take a trip with me to Southwestern Europe.  Enjoy!

Madrid & Marrakech

Barcelona & Lisbon