I’m all into words and how much you can express through them.Actually, I can’t get enough of them. But sometimes, a story is better told without words. Being also very into photographs, I think that pictures show the photographer’s specific perspective on situations, giving him/her a chance to tell stories through images, not words. Continue Reading “Photo-Reportage – Mexico”
Our wanderlust levels have been kind of fine lately, what with the business of Christmas and the new house. Then again, like any chronic condition humans have, it has strike again. My sister Mia went to Morocco not long ago and she succeeded in awakening the wanderlust beast in me again. Here’s a summary of her trip.
If you’re planning a short three-day trip to Morocco, the best itinerary would include Marrakesh and its surroundings. The ideal would be to book a nice atypical hotel in Marrakesh and visit the surroundings based from there.
Where to stay
La maison des oliviers is a small oasis of peace full of flowers and a nice pool located along a rural road just outside of Marrakesh. The house is called a “riad” which means a big villa surrounded by a wall. It’s a traditional house with passages and lots of beautifully-designed common areas and a traditional Moroccan decor. The pool is amazing, surrounded by flowers and a bar area. The weather was beautiful in December (23-25 degrees celsius during the day and 7-10 degrees celsius at night).
What to do, what to see and where to eat
Jemaa el fna.
Do that twice: once during the day and once at night because the square transforms into two different scenes.
During the day, you’ll see snake charmers and henne tattoo women, monkeys (not dangerous), orange juice stands (a must-try), merchants, and other exotic sights. Make sure you have an ice coffee or mint tea at one of the terraces overlooking the square (Les Terrasses de l’Alhambra is recommended by Lonely Planet and tried by us).
During the night, it transforms into a street food paradise with grilling smoke everywhere, lanterns and tents with benches to sit, and barbecues to grill a million things. You’ll often see huge trays of tea with all kinds of spices in a huge barrel, and mountains of weird-looking chocolate cakes.
Souks of el medina.
That’s the place where you’ll find lots of merchants for all your needs. You’ll see olive merchants selling succulent olives that you mus try. In the spice market, they sell spices and oils, chameleons and water turtles. There, you have to eat at Cafe des Epices or on the other side of the square at NOMAD, a very cool and trendy restaurant with a nice authentic view and a really cool terrace. Book yourself a table in the evening, cover yourself with a cape because it gets cold at night, and have a lamb Tagine – delicious!
For leather lovers, you can visit Les Tanneries where they make leather goods.
It’s a huge garden where the artist Majorelle planted all types of green from all over the world. He bought this house and made it his Art studio and grew exotic plants. Later on, Yves Saint Laurent renovated it and lived in that house which, when the great couturier died, became the Yves Saint Laurent memorial. In the Jardin, there’s the Berberian museum that is quite interesting if you have the time to visit. You can find cool Yves Saint Laurent postal cards at the museum shop. Jardin Majorelle is like a paradise in the middle of Moroccan chaos.
You can also grab a bite at the restaurant (taste the kefta, tomato and egg tagine, it’s to die for).
When at the Medina, book a camel ride in any little shop that organizes them. They’ll come and get you from your hotel and take you for an hour ride on a camel.
You can visit the largest Islamic college in Morocco to get a sense of the culture and heritage. Tile lovers, get ready to be amazed.
The largest mosque in Marrakesh.
A Palace built in the late 19th century with a set of gardens.
The most luxurious hotel in Marrakesh is definitely worth a visit.
Essouira is a three-hour car-ride away from Marrakesh. When you get there, you absolutely must get a surf lesson then head to the port where you’ll find a fresh fish market. Instead of going to a restaurant, choose your own fish from the market then head to a small stand where they will grill it and give it to you with bread and salad. You’ll end up with a perfect and very affordable lunch! You can book this day trip with the same guide who took you for a camel ride.
Enjoy the pool and the hammam at your hotel when you find the time!
Have you ever been? Anything we might have missed?
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If you’ve been reading Breadonbutter for a while, you probably know by now how much I love traveling and discovering new places and cultures. But, like I mentioned once (here), there are cities I’ve visited many times that I’ll never stop making place for in my budget and time, and one of those cities is London.
London holds a very special place in my heart as it’s where I often went when I was little to visit my uncle, it’s where I spent lots of weekends during my studies, and it’s where my sister lives now. This city has many faces. More generally, we can say it has 4 different faces: East, West, North and South, each with special things you get attached to as a tourist. I once spoke about East London (here), but today, here’s a broader list of my favorite 20 things about London.
20 things about London
1) Parks – Walking around when the weather is nice, jogging or having a little picnic in any of London’s parks is of pure enjoyment. Among many, I would pick Regents Park, Hampstead Heath and Victoria Park as my favorite.
2) Markets – Come the weekend, there is no greater pleasure than strolling around London’s different markets. The list is long: there are Borough Market and Broadway Market; there are Brick Lane, Spitalfields and Portobello and many more. You can view a full map of all the markets and their opening hours and days on this link.
3) Oxford Street at Christmas – The busy Oxford Street already has everything you need. And if you’re looking for a place to really feel the Christmas spirit, this is it.
4) Burger places – Among my favorites are Dirty Burger, Five Guys and Burgers and Lobsters. You can use the Zomato app while you’re there to check out the trendiest burgers in London.
5) Asian Food – Vietnamese, Korean or Thai; you can all find them anywhere you go. My favorites are Busaba eathai for the best Thai meal, Bibimbap in Soho, and Cay Tre for the best ramen and pho. I had the best Vietnamese food experience at Cay Tre where I found the food was the most fresh, flavorsome and authentic. An absolute delight!
6) Notting Hill and Portobello Road.
7) Fortnum and Mason for a typical British tea time.
9) Shoreditch and the graffiti.
10) Monmouth Coffee company – You can choose your coffee beans then share a table filled with jam and bread with other customers.
11) The Monocle Café on Baker Street.
Photo taken from google
12) Chipotle for the best Burrito.
13) Musicals – My favorites until now are Sound of Music, Matilda and Wizard of Oz.
14) Covent Garden – Ideal for a warm hot chocolate in the morning after going around the market.
Photo taken from google.
15) Indian Food – One of my favorite Indian restaurants in London with a fun and colorful interior is Masala Zone in Covent Garden. A must try.
Photo taken from google.
16) Tate Modern – The most visited Art Gallery in the world. You can check current exhibitions here.
17) Piccadilly and Leicester Square – Make sure to visit the Photographers’ gallery (click here for more details), the first independent gallery devoted solely to Photography. I can spend endless hours in there just looking at the exhibited photographers’ different perspectives on life.
18) The National Portrait Gallery on Trafalgar Square – Check out the exhibition of the moment on this link.
19) Carnaby Street for a colorful walk.
Photo taken from google
20) The Lily Vanilli Bakery – This is by far my favorite place in the entire city. This little bakery is great for a warm afternoon tea and the most wonderful non-traditional desserts.
Have you been to London? Anything to add to the list?