A Morocco Family Adventure! Part 2 of 2
Our experience in Fes was amazing and we wish we had more time to explore, but we were excited to travel to our next stop… Marrakech, known as the Red City! Our journey on the train ride took about 7 hours from Fes and the views along the way were just beautiful. The landscapes were so diverse and I was constantly snapping photos. Once we approached Marrakech it was obvious to see why it’s called the “Red City” with all the magnificent red sand stone architecture throughout.
We arrived in the evening at our riad in the medina and stayed at Riad Le Coq Fou, a very nice property with a clean contemporary design, along with super friendly and helpful staff. We were welcomed with Moroccan mint tea (of course) to enjoy while sitting in a very tranquil courtyard and given information about Marrakech plus directions from our riad to the famous Jemaa El Fna Square (just a 10 min walk away, if you don’t get lost). Our room was situated on the first floor for our convenience of travelling with a stroller and the room was clean, spacious and child friendly.
In the morning we had a delicious traditional Moroccan style breakfast consisting of “baghrir” a Moroccan crepe or pancake that is flat and toasted on one side and sponge like on the other as well as “rghaif” a flat flaky pastry similar to a roti or croissant and both eaten with butter or jam, plus a selection of yogurts, fruits and freshly squeezed orange juice..perfect for even a picky toddler. Every morning we enjoyed a nice breakfast on the roof top patio with views of the medina, a great way to start off our day right. Our son Frankie loved playing with the sugar cubes for our coffee/tea…he even accidentally spilled the coffee all over the table and nice white linens but the staff were understanding and didn’t mind the mess. At times Frankie would even walk into the kitchen and the staff would play with him and give him treats… Moroccans continue to amaze me with their love for children.
Here are some of our Marrakech highlights…
- Visiting the stunning Jardin Marjorelle, exhibiting exotic plants and flowers, pools filled with water lilies and lotus flowers, art deco and Moorish design, plus the memorial of famous French designer Yves Saint Laurent.
- Going to Jemaa El Fnaa during the day and night and seeing the huge contrast, less crowded during the day and then massive crowds and interesting entertainment at night. My one regret was not eating in the outdoor food stalls as it was super cheap and I’m sure tasty!
- Walking around the souks in the medina and getting lost (as always), but it’s fun to try to bargain and be like a local.
- Exploring the new city (outside of the medina) and seeing locals in their street fashion, very similar to western style.
From Marrakech we visited the quiet seaside port town of Essaouira, just located a two-hour drive away. This quaint city is really easy to explore as the streets are well organized and not as confusing as the medinas in other cities in Morocco. We stayed for just one night here as everything can be seen in a day. It was nice to go escape the big city and have a more relaxing time, see the ocean and be at the beach. It is actually quite windy here by the Atlantic Ocean, so the nights are cold and would definitely need a jacket or sweater.
Here’s our highlights of Essaouira:
- Shopping in the souks, almost everyone can speak English and prices are cheaper for souvenirs compared to the shopping in Marrakech so we took advantage of this.
- Going outside of the medina and exploring where the locals are, we got lots of stares but I think they were just surprised we went outside of the “bubble”.
- Spending time at the beach so our son could play in the water. Don’t expect to see sunbathers, there was probably one foreigner doing this but here you can see that it is not common. I was actually fully clothed at the beach but thankfully the ocean breeze helped.
- My husband got a haircut and shaven done in local barber shop, it only cost him $10! He was happy and satisfied that he got this done.
- The white and blue architecture, it feels a lot like Greece…it’s so pretty and picturesque here.
- Watching the fishermen doing their daily work at the port in the morning…this is what you see in the postcards!
- At night time it gets really dark, there aren’t many lights so it almost feels really mystical here especially when you see the men wearing their hooded thobes which is a Moroccan style and traditional outfit for Muslim men.
- Watching people pray outside of the mosque on the street when we first arrived in Essaouira…the mosque was full so they had to move outside…very beautiful.
After our time in Essaouira, we returned back to Marrackech for a couple more nights to absorb more culture and then we headed back to Rabat where we started our adventure for one last day before departing to go back home. This time we were more experienced at bargaining and more adventurous when it came to sampling street food vendors, so we did that here. We also returned to the same riad for our last night stay and the staff were so welcoming (we had our Moroccan mint tea again on arrival of course) and they missed our son Frankie….they even forgot my name but remembered me as Frankie’s mom! The riad actually consisted of two properties which were located away from each other, and we had stayed in one of them the first time and then got a chance to stay in the other on our last night. We were walking past the riad we had originally stayed at and ran into one of the staff there who remembered us, and she invited us into that riad for tea and conversation…the people are really what makes Morocco an unforgettable place, I will really miss this feeling coming back home.
My family adventure to Morocco was an amazing experience and I highly recommend for families to visit. I loved everything this destination has to offer… the culture, colours, food, history, architecture, natural beauty and of course the people! I plan to return one day of course, inshaAllah (God willing).
August 16, 2014