“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Friday, 31 July 2015

My 40th Birthday Trip to Marrakesh, Morrocco - Friday 31st July

BA2666 from Gatwick North to Marrakech - traded some Avios points for an upgrade to club class - so made the most of the free champagne in the BA lounge to kick start the trip!

Mum had booked us into the gorgeous Riad dar El Aila spa Hotel in the northern quarter of the Medina. Nearest parking is "Sidi Ben Slimane" for taxis to drop you off then it's a short walk through dark, but not disturbing, alleyways to the Riad.
The ceiling in our room!!
We had a beautifully detailed, and huge, suite with 2 bedrooms, a lounge and bathroom all complete with ancient traditional carving and ironwork. Simply stunning. Unfortunately air-con was only properly installed in one of the bedrooms and the other had only a water-filled floor-fan which was struggling in a room with such high ceilings and no windows at all - so it was pretty much a human size "tagine" I was sleeping in! but a very traditionally Moroccan one and very clean and comfortable.

I had no idea what to expect of a Riad (means "garden") but they are truly awesome - from outside they look nothing more than a dingy door in the wall, but as soon as you get inside, they open up into spacious multi-tiered dwellings with spiral stone staircases and full height trees growing up from the courtyards taller than the buildings around them. A seriously peaceful atmosphere and stunning views from the rooftop restaurant and sun loungers.

After having eaten on the plane and it getting late, we decided not to bother eating again but ventured up onto the roof for a taste of the "Grey" Morroccan wine before bed – the stifling heat and crippling CTS pains in my arms meant sleep was difficult unfortunately - but we were glad to have arrived safe and found a welcoming group of people to be staying with.
The alleyway outside our Riad

Basic language picked up so far...
Thank you sounds like "sho-kran"
Goodbye sounds like "mar-salama" and Merhaba means "you're welcome" (whereas in Turkish it means hello).

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