Marrakesh Travel Diary – Part 1

Hey guys and girls,

Here’s the first half of my Moroccan travel diary. As it was a family trip, we didn’t cover as much ground as our usual adventures with just me and Mr Man gallivanting at a relatively high pace, but it made a nice change to kick back and take a breather of a break. We spent the bulk of our first half of the trip just exploring the souks and then packed in far more action in our final few days.

After a 6am flight (ouch!) we reached the beautiful city of Marrakesh.

Landing In Marrakech, Morocco

^ don’t you just love the perfect rows of plants / trees?!

We’d booked a three-bed riad on AirBnB, situated near the main square in the old town, Jemaa El Fna. After registering and using AirBnB last year, I’ve never really looked back or even bothered checking out hotels. Can’t recommend it enough. (Discount on your first booking available here if you’re interested.)

We were welcomed into this absolutely gorgeous home:

Inside The Riad, AirBnB, Marrakech, MoroccoLiving Room, AirBnB Riad, Marrakech, MoroccoSitting Room, AirBnB Riad, Marrakech, Morocco

With a magnificent rooftop terrace, on which our host welcomed us with a steaming pot of mint tea!

Terrace, AirBnB Riad, Marrakech, Morocco

Mint Tea On The Roof, AirBnB Riad, Marrakech, Morocco

*Sigh*

Deck Chairs, AirBnB Riad, Marrakech, Morocco

Dreamy.

Our host had also kindly arranged for a home cooked lunch for us:

Dining Table, AirBnB Riad, Marrakech, Morocco

Doesn’t get much better than that if you ask me.

Homemade Chicken Tagine, Marrakech, Morocco

Traditional chicken tagine with preserved lemons and green olives. This dish was perfection.  I’ve had a few chicken tagines in my time, and none of them compared to this. Clean flavours, succulent chicken, well balanced and overall just a joy to eat with the fresh bread to mop up all the juices.

Homemade Lunch, Marrakech, Morocco

It was served with a cold aubergine salad type dish, zaalouk I believe it’s called and a weird rice – loads of mayo, bit of tuna and some veg, with a ring of beetroot, didn’t really do it for me.

After lunch, myself and Mr Man headed on up back to the terrace to chill and enjoy the sunshine.

And nap.

We totally fell asleep for a few hours.

Later that afternoon, we headed out to explore the souks for a bit.

Exploring The Neighbourhood, Marrakech, Morocco

^ outside our riad. Living alongside locals.

Passed a woman making tomato and onion filled msemen bread and I just had to try! So so tasty!

Fresh Msemen, Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

Gonna have to try and make my own at some point.

Mini Tagines, Marrakech, Morocco

^ Cute little mini tagine pots.

Orange Juice Stands, Jemaa El Fna, Marrakech, MoroccoOrange Juice Stand, Jemaa El Fnaa, Marrakech, Morocco

^ We stopped for  fresh orange juice at Jemaa El Fna, there’s basically a row of carts selling fresh juice, super cheap and so delicious. Oranges are big business in Morocco! I went for a peach and orange mix and Mr Man went pure orange – YUM.

Colourful Leather Shoes, Souk, Marrakech, Morocco

It’s so easy to get lost in the narrow, winding passages in the souks, but, if you ask me, it’s best to embrace it and just explore! It’s all part of the fun.

Leather Shoes In The Souk, Marrakech, Morocco

^ Love the colours!

Woodwork Shop, Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

^ Woodwork shop.

Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

^ Love the contrast in this pic, everything from the old man in the bottom right to the tourists standing behind right, their choice of clothing, the variety of things in the various shops. All of it!

For dinner, myself and Mr Man parted from the group and headed over to Nomad.

Indoor Seating, Nomad, Marrakech, Morocco

We decided to sit outside.

Outdoor Seating, Nomad, Marrakech, MoroccoLighting, Nomad, Marrakech, Morocco

Unfortunately, they only had a tiny corner table available for two so without complaining we took it.

Menu, Nomad, Marrakech, Morocco

After perusing the menu and ordering, the light above us began flickering which is why the pics below vary so much!

Chicken Skewers, Nomad, Marrakech, Morocco

^ My chicken brochettes and cous cous and a homemade harissa sauce. The chicken was a little fatty and didn’t taste all that fresh, couscous was also a bit lacklustre. Ha, the best part of my meal was the sauce!

Nomad Burger With Roast Potatoes, Nomad, Marrakech, Morocco

Mr Man lucked out in comparison, this lamb burger was cooked to a perfect medium, as requested, topped with aubergines and caramelised onions, all housed in a seeded bread roll with harissa mayo. It was served with delicious roasted potatoes sprinkled with mustard seeds and some wilted spinach. Really, really good!

Moroccan Date Cake, Nomad, Marrakech, Morocco

^ As you can see, the light decided it would turn back on in time for our desserts. Mr Man’s date cake. Again his choice was far better than my own. A dense, caramelly date cake with hints of saffron running through, served with fresh whipped cream (could have done with a bit more) and a salted caramel sauce.

Orange Cake With Whipped Cream, Nomad, Marrakech, Morocco

^ My flourless orange cake, again, served with whipped cream and caramelised orange peel. Quite bitter overall, I think the delicate citrus notes may have been baked away. Considering oranges are so widely available in Morocco, I would have thought they’d have produced an amazing cake to do the produce justice.

The next day, we woke up fairly late and headed out to find some brunch.

Dabachi Housing Association, Marrakech, MoroccoShoes, Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

Jemaa El Fna by day:

Jemaa El Fna During The Day, Marrakech, Morocco

^ This is the main square and during the day it’s full of market stalls, women drawing intricate henna / mendhi patterns, snake charmers and just general hustle and bustle.

Snakes, Jemaa El Fnaa, Marrakech, Morocco

Just some of the snakes at Jemaa el Fna, they’ll charge you money to take pics with their snakes so be weary. They do ask for quite ludicrous sums of money for pics but stand your ground and where possible, negotiate in advance.

Cobra, Jemaa El Fnaa, Marrakech, Morocco

Check out this cobra!

Black Cobra, Jemaa El Fnaa, Marrakech, Morocco

Another stall, another exotic creature. Tortoises. (I hope these are being sold for pets, not dinner!)

Turtles For Sale, Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

Onwards we walked…

Calèches, Marrakech, MoroccoHorse And Carriage By The Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, MoroccoTower, Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco

^ Koutoubia mosque

Architecture, Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco

Love the colours!

Rue de La Kasbah, Marrakech, MoroccoDerb Chtouka, Marrakech, Morocco

We headed to a place called Cafe Clock  which I’d read up in advance as a good place to have shakshouka.

Love the quirky decor and the modern Islamic theme running through.

Terrace, Cafe Clock, Marrakech, MoroccoGraffiti, Cafe Clock, Marrakech, Morocco

I went for the orange juice whilst Mr Man opted for the sweeter, carbonated equivalent.

Drinks, Cafe Clock, Marrakech, Morocco

Berber Eggs, Cafe Clock, Marrakech, Morocco

^ my Berber eggs or shakshouka. Seriously, can’t even begin to tell you how delicious this dish was. A rich tomato sauce, housing three baked eggs – would have been better if yolks had been slightly runnier – served with fresh toasted bread.

Clock Camel Burger, Cafe Clock, Marrakech, Morocco

Mr Man a little more adventurously went for the house camel burger, which he said actually tasted quite beef-y. Decent burger, topped with cheese, tomato and onion. Could have used a little more sauce. Served with a delicious side salad and some fresh fries, which, I took the liberty of dipping in my shakshuka tomato sauce.

Affogato, Cafe Clock, Marrakech, Morocco

Having had heard that they made their own ice cream in-house, I insisted that it’d be rude not to sample. I went for the affogato, vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso to pour over, and Mr Man went for a chocolate sundae. I found, personally, that the ice cream lacked the creaminess and depth that you expect so overall a little disappointing after our perfect mains.

Till, Cafe Clock, Marrakech, Morocco

After a delicious start to our day and no real plans for the rest of the day, we settled up the bill and headed out to explore and shop.

Streets of Marrakech, MoroccoPretty House, Marrakech, Morocco

^ Love this little doorway. Did you know all the houses in Marrakech are painted in this pinky, reddy, orangey hue – I believe that’s why it’s referred to as the “red city.”

Houses And Streets of Marrakech, Morocco

I wish we’d discovered the hot air balloon ride company before the final day, I’d had loved to have seen the sunrise, or even, set, over this perfectly coloured city!

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco

Back past the mosque.

Fresh Bread, Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

Fresh bread. Restocked daily.

Souk Kassabine, Marrakech, MoroccoSouks, Marrakech, Morocco

Deeper into the souks.

Spice Shop, Marrakech, Morocco

^ Absolutely adore the colourful piles of herbs and spices. Take a deep breath as you walk past and inhale the heady mixture!

Random doorway:

Blue And White Tiles, Marrakech, Morocco

^ Looove the blue and white tiles.

Macarons, Street Vendor, Marrakech, Morocco

^ Moroccan macarons sold by ladies on the street. Surprisingly good albeit a little too sweet.

Souvenirs, Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

Souvenirs galore.

Mr Man got us roped into checking out an apothecary. A random man stopped us and got talking – walked us to the shop, left us to it, and was waiting outside to claim some commission too. He then tried to offer us a variety of other retail goodies which we politely declined.

Herbs, Spices and Remedies, Herbologist, Marrakech, MoroccoHerbs and Spices, Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

Various hand-crafted wooden boxes and trinkets:

Wooden Animals And Boxes, Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

Colourful crockery:

Colourful Pots and Plates, Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

Beautiful blue and white kitchenware:

Blue And White Crockery, Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

Glasses and pots for mint tea:

Tea Pots and Glasses, Souks, Marrakech, Morocco

Here are a few pics of the things we actually bought, I can’t stress how important it is to haggle. By default, we went in at about 1/3 of the asking price, but ultimately, it’s down to how much you’re willing to pay:

Argan Oils And Creams From Marrakech, Morocco

^ Argan oils. We picked some up from a women’s cooperative company – aitma. The big one is to cook with, and the small ones in front are for skin – I picked amber and lemon scented ones. And behind it, there’s a couple tubs of moisturiser. (Clearly didn’t put enough thought into positioning when I took this pic!)

Herbs, Spices And Teas From Marrakech, Morocco

^ herbs and spices: tea, cinnamon, ras el hanout, harissa, cumin and also some crystallised menthol – great for blocked noses. Actually, think this would be really useful with my hayfever at the moment.

Large Blue and White Bowl From Marrakech, Morocco

^ One of my favourite purchases, adore the colours! Took me forever to pick the one I wanted as there were endless beautiful choices!

Leather Bags And Scarves From Marrakech, Morocco

^ Couple of scarves and a leather satchel. The deeper into the market you go, the cheaper things get, and the less you have to haggle.

For dinner, we went to a place called Le Salama, just off Jemaa El Fna.

Jemaa El Fna, Nightfall, Marrakech, MoroccoLe Salama, Marrakech, Morocco

Quite a posh place with belly dancers and the likes.

Glassware, Le Salama, Marrakech, Morocco

I didn’t get a chance to take pics of everyone’s food but overall it was really, really good.

Mixed Meat Platter, Le Salama, Marrakech, Morocco

Mr Man’s mixed meat skewers and grilled sausages, served with a tiny pot of rice and some harissa chilli sauce. His only issue was that the lamb that was overdone and pretty chewy.

Chicken Skewers, Le Salama, Marrakech, Morocco

My chicken skewers, mildly seasoned with fresh herbs and lemon, juicy, succulent and perfectly grilled. Yum.

Slow Cooked Lamb, Le Salama, Marrakech, Morocco

^ Huge leg of lamb, slow cooked, perfectly fall apart tender with a sweet sticky apricot glaze and almonds.

With the square still buzzing, it felt too soon to call it a night.

Stalls At Night, Jemaa El Fna, Marrakech, MoroccoJemaa El Fna At Nightfall, Marrakech, Morocco

And so, we ended the night with a Calèche ride…

Horse And Carriage Ride by Nightfall, Marrakech, Morocco

^ In hindsight, the horse and carriage ride would have probably been considerably more enjoyable by daylight where we could have seen a bit more…

-Kay

P.S. I’ll try have the second, more exciting half, up this weekend!

9 thoughts on “Marrakesh Travel Diary – Part 1

    1. Thanks Laura! Such a beautiful city – definitely recommend it if you get the chance. I’ve just posted the second half of the travel diary if you fancy it. =)

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend! X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha – please don’t feel bad on my account. There are definitely exploring / adventure holidays and then kick back and do nothing holidays, and sometimes the latter is what you need!

        Also, Bali sounds DREAMY, I’m contemplating a trip to South East Asia for later in the year so maybe I’ll be following in your footsteps!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Marianne! =) I have a Nikon D3200 which I use with a 18-55mm lens for any wider angle shots. Generally, for close ups of food, I use my 35mm lens. Hope that helps!

      Like

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