The Home Birds Guide to Marrakech.

I am not the most confident traveller, I enjoy being home, I mean, all my stuff is there. I always check a bag, which I overfill and I am in awe of people who can go on holiday with carry on luggage only. Needless to say I think of myself as a bit of a home bird. So a trip to Morocco was a huge adventure for me. 

Arriving in Marrakech I truly felt that I had stepped back in time, everything felt like we were on a set from the 70s. We chose a resort (Palmarie Golf Palace) just outside of the city and the trip from the airport to the hotel was eye-opening. The locals favour using mopeds and motor-bikes when traversing the city. They sit 2-3 people per bike, including children and very few people wear a helmet. The flagrant disregard for personal safety shouldn't have bothered me, but it did. 

The highlight of the attractions in Marrakech for me was the Jardín Majorelle. Designed by the French artist Jacques Majorelle, and later painstakingly restored by Yves Saint Laurent. I loved the colours of the gardens, the arrangement of the architecture and plants. We went really early in the morning, it was so tranquil and beautiful. However it did fill up very quickly, which definitely affected the vibe of the garden. My advice is to get any sight seeing done early in the day as the heat is stifling. 

The resort itself was gorgeous and the staff were lovely. I spent many a day lounging by the pool, which was absolutely massive and the cabanas were very comfortable. Poolside wifi also added an extra touch which we loved, because we are Instagram addicts. The room was luxurious and perfectly cool which was important considering how warm it was. The food and drinks were reasonable and delicious. The staff was always on hand and suggested numerous day trips we could take from the hotel.

The medina however was a different story. I found the market place very hostile and uninviting. The shop keepers are trying to sell the same stuff as everyone else and think if they pester you enough they will buy. The mopeds drivers which I mentioned earlier have no qualms speeding down the narrow and winding streets of the medina. I was unfortunate enough to get clipped by one in the arm, which was shocking but didn't do any damage thankfully. 

Not to be too negative but there are a number of pitfalls to avoid in the medina which caught us out. 

Asking for directions

The locals get a commission if they send you to a shop so they will lead you to the shop rather than where you want to go. I found that even some taxi drivers will mislead you by saying a tourist attraction or museum is closed and then lead you to a shop. Then you will get some chancers who say they will take you to where you want to go and take you on a "tour". This is yet another scam, as the person will wave at an area and say something vague and then ask for money at the end. 

Tanneries

While on a "tour" we got corralled into a tannery, we didn't ask to go here and given the choice I would never go back. Tanneries are where leather is made, they are filthy, unsafe and stink. Although you feel for the people who work in those conditions, they work with strong chemicals with no protective equipment, or gas masks. Yet again led to a store and asked for money at the end of the visit. 

Overall I found the holiday quite relaxing apart from the few incidences described above. If I were to go back to Morocco I would love to visit the other cities such as Agadir or Casablanca.