On April. 14, 2019 we arrived in Marrakech, Morocco. Our flight was so early that we hadn’t even had breakfast. We arrived from the airport by a taxi that was connected to the riad where we were staying A Riad is what they call a small hotel that used to be large family houses with a courtyard, in the old town (medina quarter) in Marrakech – they are like a larger bed and breakfast. Once he dropped us off in the middle of the main square (Jemaa el-Fnaa) a man had a cart that we put our bags in and he led us through a big market area (that we did not know our way around and kind of felt like a maze). Once we got to our riad, called Riad Ba Sidi we were welcomed in and had a welcome cup of tea (Tea is very popular in Morocco).
That morning, we had breakfast at Riad Ba Sidi. Then we started to wander around the city. One thing that we all thought was going to be really bad was the fly catchers (random people that come up to you and start asking you questions to “help” you so that at the end they can get you to pay them for helping (or to get rid of them), when really you never wanted or needed help). I am not sure if this is something that has actually changed or if we were just lucky. There were aggressive vendors, but nothing too bad. So we were able to walk around rather peacefully. But, the medina was very active.
Later in the day, we went on a city walking tour. The name of our guide was Usaff. The tour was organized by the place that we were staying at (Riad Ba Sidi). The most interesting thing that I learned during the tour was that each section of the old city has 5 things: a baker, a mosque, a water source, a school and a hammam. It is interesting that there is one baker in each area, residence bring their dough to them in the morning and they will bake the bread. A hammam is a bathhouse, they are public areas where locals go to bath weekly for a deep scrub.
The next day for dinner, we joined a food tour (that I organized for us to join). Our guide’s name was Omar. In the food tour we stopped at little spots around the market and in the medina. Everything that we tried was classic Marrakech cuisine. In the tour we ate a traditional soup in the market. We stopped at an olive stall for a tasting.
Tagine, (a VERY popular dish of meat in Marrakech cooked over fine in a clay pot) the chef who cooked the tagine used to be the chef of the king. The next stop was the neighborhood baker (they don’t cook it at home because they don’t want their houses to get to hot inside). And more, for YOU to discover.
The day after that, we started our journey to the Sahara desert (for a 3 day trip). Most of the day we drove around the Atlas mountains. We also had a few stops to see cool views and attractions (as well as lunch).
Later, we had dinner at the place that we were staying at which was good. At dinner we enjoyed some local food (surprise – tagine). We also had a view of the hotel pool and garden at dinner. The hotel was nice but nothing special.
The next day we continued our drive into the Sahara desert. It was VERY windy, which started to make us worry. Luckily the views were still beautiful as we entered the dunes. As we entered the Sahara we could see amazing views and passing wild camels.
Once we fillaly got to our ‘luxury’ camp in the desert the wind did die down some. We got checked in and relaxed some, while looking out at the endless dunes. The Sahara desert is the same size as the ENTIRE United States! Once we were all freshened up a bit, my dad and I went outside to try sand surfing on the dunes. I was a bit scared so I would jump off the board after three seconds of going down. But my dad was pretty good. Then my mom came so we put away the boards and walked out to dinner at the close camp behind a dune (the camps where owned by the same person. Just the other camp had people sleeping in canvas tents sharing one bathroom and our ‘luxury’ room was in a “cave or hut” thing). Dinner was served family style. After dinner (before sunset) we went on a private camel ride through the dunes. Where a guide led us by foot. AMAZING.
After returning, we chatted with other guests. Then we noticed that it would be sunset soon so we started to climb the dunes (it was hard, with each step in the sand your foot sinks down). We were told in many places and from many people, that this is one of the most beautiful things that they have ever seen in their life. The view meet our expectations very well and we loved the view.
If you go to the Sahara, or any other dessert then I definitely recommend that you know that sand gets into EVERYTHING! (luckily nothing bad happened to us) I do recommend for this problem that you get a ziplock or another kind of plastic bag, so you can put things in it so that they don’t get sand in them, like we used them for our camera and phones.
One of the most amazing things about staying in the desert is seeing the stars. So, we put a plan in place. That night, I had agreed with my mom that she would wake up in the middle of the night to see if the stars were out. If they were, she was to wake us. Unfortunately we slept through the night. We did all wake up to watch the sun rise and there was no wind. After breakfast we loaded up in our SUV and made the long drive back. We drove for hours through the middle of the desert before even seeing a road. Fortunately the views were great and we made a few stops. One was a tiny (like 15 people) village where we saw a local school and how the nomads lived.
That evening, we arrived at our very nice hotel for some peaceful dinner. Our hotel room was HUGE and included two buildings and a courtyard (for just our room!). The place was called Adama Resort. The place was very nice, it had fresh food and a super big pool. It also had clubs like an adult and a kid disco as well as yoga and sports (I did yoga with my mom and then kids volleyball).
The next day, we headed to a Country Club called, Beldi Country Club. The Country Club was fantastic and I wish that we could have gone for way longer. The place had so many things to do that sounded sooo fun. Like, pottery making for kids (I did but I had to leave mine since we were not there long enough for it to dry. So I made it and then they gave me some non-professionally made pieces that were similar.), bread making, cooking, etc. They even had 8 POOLS!!! Can you believe that, 8 pools at one resort?!? The resort was like an old city farm. There were several restaurants around the gardens. We enjoyed swimming in the greenhouse pool. That evening, there was a beautiful local wedding. It was fun to see the decorations and guests all dressed up. It was great!
Morocco, 5 stars out of 5!