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March 15, 2018
One of my dreams was always to travel to Morocco. I always saw it as such an exotic destination, with beautiful handicrafts & unique landscapes. And on top of that, my parents first met in Morocco when they were backpacking around the world in their 20s. Dad pulled up in a campsite next to a little VW with an Australian flag sticker on the back window - and well, the rest is history! So since I was a kid Morocco has always had a magical mystique.
The campsite in Morocco where my parents first met in July 1974 (photo thanks to Mum!)
After starting Lost Lover, I knew I needed to travel to Morocco, to explore the country and also to source some unique homewares from talented artisans. So we made it happen! My partner, Graham, and I travelled around Morocco for two weeks in November 2017. This is the first part of a series of blog posts about our adventures in Morocco.
A typical view when wandering the streets of Marrakesh - rugs hanging from the rooftops!
We flew in Casablanca and immediately caught a train to Marrakesh. We arrived in Marrakesh in the evening, and to be completely honest, my first opinion of Marrakesh was very overwhelming - it was hot, very loud, people everywhere, motorbikes screaming past, constantly being hassled by people, a maze of alleyways, and topped with jet lag, I just wanted to scream! But then we found our accommodation - Riad Shukran (a word we were soon to be very familiar with - "shukran" means "thank you"), and behind the doors was a beautiful oasis, a gorgeous plunge pool, vibrant Moroccan tiles, and lovely bougainvillea flowing down the walls. With a welcome Moroccan tea next to the pool, the turmoil outside was soon forgotten. This was our first introduction to the wondrous Moroccan riads (a word meaning a traditional house built around a central garden courtyard) - in my opinion the only way to stay in Morocco.
Riad Shukran, Marrakesh
Breakfast at Riad Shukran, Marrakesh
By day two, we began to go with the flow and simply allow the magic of Marrakesh consume us. Wandering the souks (markets) I was overcome with excitement, discovering beautiful Moroccan handicrafts; leather, baskets, rugs, cushions, bags, jewellery, wooden crafts, jewellery, antiques, and more! There was a vibrant energy, a real hustle and bustle! It is a given that you will get lost wandering the old Medina - but this was actually one of my favourite things to do. Simply wander down the small alleyways with no agenda, many lead to dead ends, others lead to beautiful pink walls, intricate doors, historic buildings, more souks...
Wandering the alleyways of the old Medina, with all the beautiful pink walls.
Textile heaven! Souks in Marrakesh.
A typical Marrakesh street corner.
We then checked into our second riad - Riad Houdou, owned by two lovely French men, Eric & Didier - a simply beautiful sanctuary in the middle of the old Medina. This riad had four lemon trees in the courtyard, a gorgeous tiled fountain and (of course) a plunge pool. Our room had a private balcony with amazing rooftop views over Marrakesh. In the mornings we awoke to the first call for prayer at 5:15am, and wandered to the rooftop to sit in stillness and watch the sunrise over the beautiful Ochre City. Our breakfasts here were my favourite - served on the rooftop, with a selection of homemade yoghurt, fruits, jams, Moroccan pancakes and pastries, eggs, fresh bread, fresh orange juice & coffee. We were spoilt!
Riad Houdou, Marrakesh
Breakfast on the rooftop at Riad Houdou, Marrakesh
Beautiful Moroccan tiles at Riad Houdou, Marrakesh
Of course I can't write about Marrakesh without mentioning Jemaa el-Fnaa - the main square in Marrakesh. It was a crazy overload of the senses! Filled with musicians, dancers, drummers, snake charmers, street stalls, orange juice stalls (I can't count how many juices I had!), henna artists, and of course the BBQ street food stalls lined up. The best spot to take in all the action is at one of the rooftop cafes at sunset.
Rooftop cafe at sunset, taking it all in.
Other highlights included the Maison de la Photographie (vintage Moroccan photography exhibition in a beautiful riad with a terrace roof), Le Jardin Secret (a garden oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Medina with an incredible city view from the top of a high tower), the Boucherouite Museum (owned by Patrick, an English art enthusiast who collected many boucherouite rugs in the 1980s), the Palace Bahia (built in 1860s, filled with beautiful tiled floors and walls and painted ceilings - although beware this is absolutely filled with tourists), lunch at Nomads cafe (an amazing roof terrace overlooking a colourful square with many rug shops), and of course the incredible Moroccan baths (absolute bliss after hours upon hours of walking the crazy Medina).
Tower view overlooking The Secret Garden, Marrakesh
Exploring Palace Bahia, Marrakesh
The view from Nomads cafe, Marrakesh
We also spent a lot of time meeting talented artisans and local family businesses, and we will have some exciting new treasures to add to the Lost Lover collection soon - watch this space!
Moroccan basket souk, Marrakesh
Graham clearly loving spending hours on end in rug shops in Marrakesh!
Cushion heaven (some of these coming soon to Lost Lover!)
We loved spending our days exploring the magical old Medina of Marrakesh, embracing the hustle and bustle, all the scents, the colours, the winding alleys, the madness! My favourite part of travelling is aimlessly wandering the streets of a new city, getting lost, and stumbling upon serendipitous encounters. We will certainly be back to this beautiful city in the near future.
Rugs, rugs, and more rugs!
Anna (Lost Lover Founder) & partner Graham
Did you like reading about our travel adventures? Are you planning a trip to Morocco? I would love to hear from you! Write a comment in the box below :)
Coming soon to the blog...
March 18, 2018
Hi Alison! I’m so glad you loved reading the blog post. You must definitely travel to Morocco one day, you will love it! Our new Moroccan treasures should be landing online around the end of April – keep an eye out! xx
So excited to hear you will be travelling to Morocco in July! You will have the most amazing time! We certainly did a lot of walking – it is much easier to just walk everywhere if you are in the old Medinas, as the streets are very narrow. Outside of the Medina, it is easy to flag down a taxi. Ask to confirm the fare before you get in the taxi – generally a short trip will be around 20-50 Dirhams. Alternatively, ask them to use the meter (however, majority do not use the meter, we only had one taxi driver use the meter and it ended up SO much cheaper than what we had been paying to other drivers!).
Hope that helps! Feel free to ask any other questions – I’m more than happy to help! Hope you have the most amazing trip!
Hi Lauren! Thanks so much for reading my blog, so glad you enjoyed it. I am so excited for you to be travelling to Morocco in June! You will LOVE it! Where abouts are you going?
A few tips and tricks:
- be prepared to be overwhelmed with locals “offering directions” and following you around even if you say no thank you many times. They expect you to pay them for their time (even if you declined)
- keep a few Dirhams handy for tips (keep small change whenever you can – it can be hard to come by)
- the best way to avoid the hassling is to be prepared and not look lost (avoid getting a map out etc) — ask the owner’s of your accommodation to show you the best routes around the Medina, or ask them to organise a guide for you.
- Look out for the henna women in the main square — they will compliment you, and then take your arm and try to force henna on you.
- When getting a taxi, confirm the cost before getting in. Generally it costs around 30 Dirham if you are taking a short taxi ride within a city.
- You will get lost. All the time. It’s just part of the fun!
- Respect the culture and dress appropriately, wear covered clothing (below your elbow and knees)
- You have to stay in Riads – the best part of Morocco!
- Embrace the hustle and bustle and just go with the flow, take it all in.
These are just a few off the top of my head! Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any specific questions. Hope you have the most amazing trip!
Morocco just made the top of my must travel list! Those riads look like such beautiful havens, the perfect contrast to the excitement and hustle of the souks! I loved the look of some of those treasures… The baskets are beautiful! When do you think the new treasures will be arriving?
March 17, 2018
Beautiful and inspiring story of your Moroccan adventure!!! Definitely now thinking about how I can fit Morocco – particularly Marrakech- in to my travels this year. And cant wait to see your Lost Lover merch from Marrakech…
March 16, 2018
Really enjoyed reading about your travels to Marrakech, and loved the photos. What a place! Can’t wait to see the Moroccan treasures, especially the rugs 😊
March 15, 2018
Great read. I will be there in June. Can’t wait. Would love to read your next blogs on Morocco. Any tips or tricks about travelling there ?
This sounds like heaven! I will be heading to explore in July and couldn’t be more excited!! How did you get around; taxis or just walk everywhere?
July 12, 2018
July 10, 2018
July 04, 2018