Marrakech do’s and don’t’s

Just from our recent experience!!  We felt safe there, but there’s a few things we noticed….

Do cross main roads at zebra crossings, at traffic lights and definitely in a group!  Much safer.

If someone offers to direct you to an attraction, shop or museum – be careful.  They are likely to ask for money in return.  We were trying to find the tanneries area of the souk (see picture) and someone took us down there.  HoweverDIGITAL CAMERA once we’d been taken round there and deposited in the shop where we bought items, we were then hassled for money (around £15-20 in total) which we didn’t have.  It was the only time we felt vulnerable.

Excursions to the Ourika Valley or Mountains, great day out.  But check if your time there will include hiking, so that you’re prepared with the right clothes and footwear and that the walk will be suitable for your fitness level.

Evening events that are or might be outside, make sure you take a jacket or shawl.  High daytime temperatures do not mean high night-time temperatures!

Diamond Travel, agency ref S0466.  We act as the Global Travel Group in connection with the sale of travel products.  Unless specified as the Operator, The Global Travel Group is the agent of ATOL Protected Tour Operators and other principals.

Marrakech, day two

On arrival in Marrakech, we were met by Amina from Atlas Tours, who took us to the Ksar Anika – our home for the next four nights.  Welcomed with Mint Tea and small pastries, we felt refreshed and ready to start exploring.

We were right in the centre of the Medina all of which is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/331  Indeed we weren’t, it seemed, far from the world-famous Place Jemaa El Fna (itself recognised by UNESCO as a Cultural space – http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/RL/00014 )   Stepping outside the Riad door was a shock.  From the peaceful courtyard, we stepped into what appeared madness.  As we walked round several corners on our way to the Square – all kinds of vehicles seemed to aim at us.  Bikes, motorbikes, scooters and taxis were the least of it, donkeys, mules and horses draw carts and carriages filled with goods (and people).  On these back streets, there’s little notice taken of driving rules, or so it seems.  At some junctions, there are police, frantically blowing whistles, trying to get the attention of the drivers!  The way to the square was through an alleyway lined with shops.  We shared this with scooters, bikes and donkey carts – nowhere escapes these!

Once in the square, we stopped to catch our breath at a café.  Orange Fanta always seems so much more fluorescent overseas!!  We knew the square would be noisy, vibrant and busy.  It was this and so much more.  Snake charmers (to be avoided at all costs), carts selling freshly squeezed orange juice and spices, women doing henna hand decorations and men shining shoes.  As well as this, there were stalls all the way round, on the edges of the souks.  The noise was incredible for such an open space – but this was still daylight.  I’ll tell you more about the Square at night in another posting.

We dined at the Riad that evening, not feeling brave enough to find a restaurant outside.  We were still too unsure of directions and food.  The meal, ordered earlier in the afternoon, was delicious.  All cooked from fresh and served in the salon, with a blazing log fire at one end and a bar at the other.

Hotels, flights, transfers and excursions bookable through Olein at Diamond Travel

Diamond Travel is a member of the Global Travel Group, agency number S0466.  We act as The Global Travel Group in connection with the sale of travel products.  Unless specified as the Operator, The Global Travel Group is the agent of ATOL Protected Tour Operators and other principals.

On the road to Morocco

As the old song put it – “Just like Webster’s dictionary, we were Morocco-bound”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iwFYayeJ3M

A recent trip to Marrakech ticks another destination off my bucket list.  So what did we think?  Once we’d got over the culture shock, it was great!!

We flew with easyJet, via long term parking at Gatwick, the Premier Inn at the North Terminal and MyLounge in the terminal.  Parking was fine.  The hotel surprisingly comfortable and soundproof.  We have used the Airport Lounges the last few times we’ve flown and they offer very good value for money.  MyLounge is the low-cost version of the No 1 Traveller Lounge.  You still get complimentary breakfast and as much coffee/tea as you can drink!  Downside is that it is visible to all walking towards the Gates and there are no toilets in the Lounge.  At 7am, it was a little too early for us to start our journey with the complimentary wines and spirits!!  Maybe next time?  All these products bookable through Olein at Diamond Travel.

Next instalment will look at our time in Marrakech.

Diamond Travel is a member of the Global Travel Group, agency number S0466.  We act as The Global Travel Group in connection with the sale of travel products.  Unless specified as the Operator, The Global Travel Group is the agent of ATOL Protected Tour Operators and other principals.

Bucket list travel!!

I’ve been thinking a lot about bucket lists recently.  Realising that a bucket list isn’t just for those people in their 60s (and later) means that this opens the world to everyone in a way!

We all know that if a business plan isn’t written down, then it doesn’t exist.  So it’s the same with a bucket list – if you don’t verbalise it and then write it down, then you’re less likely to do it.  But what to put on a list and where to leave it?

There are loads of websites you can visit to record your list, no point in repeating them here – have a look at http://larakrupicka.com/bucketlistwebsites/  You can also pin pictures of your dream destinations at Pinterest and get ideas.  The trouble is, once you start thinking and looking for destinations to add to your bucket list, you’ll get easily distracted and the list will group enormously!!  Not necessarily a bad thing though.

So what should be on the list?  You should always have a destination/experience in mind if your numbers come up on the lottery.  But equally, not everything has to be this big.  You’ll have to have some easily achievable items, it’s very satisfying ticking items off.  Think about experiences as well as destinations.  Films that have inspired you – do you want to ride off into the sunset like John Wayne, ride a scooter round Rome like Audrey Hepburn, visit South Africa to see Mandela’s history, and so on.  TV is a great source for inspiration – lots of people wanted to see the Northern Lights after Joanna Lumley showcased them, Sue Perkins started a trip along the Mekong river in Cambodia recently.  Entries on your list must make your heart skip a beat when you think about them!

What about your hobbies and interests – gardening – there are some beautiful gardens and plants to see all over the world, museums – the list of museums to visit is almost endless, music – follow your favourite band or artist to a new concert venue, cooking (or just enjoying food) – learn to cook from a local expert.

Research your destination – Tripadvisor and Lonely Planet guides are great sources of information, as are brochures from your travel agent (but please don’t just use us as a source of information)

If you’re stuck on where to start, just give me a call.  I’d love to help you build your list and then even better, I’d love to help you tick off items on it!!

Part of my own bucket list achieved last year!

Part of my own bucket list achieved last year!

Olein can be contacted at 01252 519669 or email olein@diamondtravel.ltd.uk

 

Diamond Travel, Agency ref S0466.  Registered office 18 Corfe Way, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6TS.  Company registration number 4100025.  We act as The Global Travel Group Ltd in connection with the sale of travel products.  Unless specified as the operator, The Global Travel Group Ltd is the agent of ATOL Protected Operators and other principals.