Morocco · 21 Days · 20 Moments · September 2016

Amanda Ellis

Mesmerizing Morocco

5 October 2016

Epic night out in Marrakech! Mandarin Oriental, drinks and a bite to eat at Ling Ling Hakkasan, then to dinner at Comptoir Darna with live music & a belly 💃🏼 show w candelabras on top of their heads. After dinner headed to La Mamounia to see where Gerard worked - the most iconic hotel in Marrakech. Back home to Sofitel where we had a drink on the patio, checked out the club but was wayyyy too loud so stuck outside the. Back to the room for a big sleep!
Final shop and glass of wine at Kosybar before heading for the airport for Barcelona. Hakim was a fantastic guide, lovely experience in Morocco overall, hope to be back again someday!

29 September 2016

Majorelle Gardens of Yves Saint Laurent - stunning array of cacti & plants, with beautiful water features and ponds. An oasis of contemplation for the late YSL whose ashes were scattered here in the gardens. Just beautiful!

23 September 2016

Day 10: Beach exploring, resting, caught a few solid waves then went into Agadir. Bought bus tix for Monday, perused the souks - bought some oils & herbs, picked up sushi on the way back, and were dropped off at the hilltop golf club for an afternoon strawberry milkshake w some tapas. Then walked over to the Hyatt hotel to take in the sunset by the ocean. Beautiful! Taxi back just in time for dinner, kefta meatballs w tomato sauce & egg, cucumber, tomato salad w sautéed zucchini. Fantastic!

22 September 2016

Day 9: Puppy on the beach!

21 September 2016

Veggie tagine for lunch, cute cuddly cats & final view of the valley
Paradise Valley: Hiked about 20mins to swimming area & jumped off a ledge about 12 feet into the water. Rachid jumped off a cliff about 40ft high, very impressive! Just a pity there was a lot of trash around from people leaving it...seems to be a big issue here and at the beaches especially, but the water seems ok. Stayed there for an hour before returning to restaurant for lunch where they had been cooking all the veggies in a tagine. So healthy and easy, will definitely be using purse when we get our kitchen back up and running!
Day 8: Yoga & day trip to Paradise Valley. Stopped at local souk in Agadir for some nuts, dates & veggies for the lunch. Stopped at botanical gardens where they make & sell Argan oil, bought some jasmine oil, lip balm & special tea then headed for the valley.

20 September 2016

Fantastic homemade fish tagine with Baba Ganoush & cake for dessert, then went to check out the sunset view from the rooftop then watched a Wire (last episodes) for the first time in a week! Heading to Paradise Valley tomorrow after yoga, having a rest day from surfing which is good timing as we're both a bit sore but loving it. 😍
Day 7: Paddleboarding (aka SUP) w instructor, Jean - half French half Portugese. Nice day for a beak from surfing to rest the knees & shoulder for Aaron. Very chill paddle out to Anchor point, then on the way back tried to catch a few waves w no luck. Aaron caught 2! And lost his sunglasses. Collateral damage that was worth it. Lunch on the beach, then over to check out Sol house resort where Rachid's friend works. Beautiful little surf concept. Then back for yoga (was cancelled, rescheduled for our last day) and amazing fish tagine for dinner. Then up to watch the sunset 😍

19 September 2016

Day 6: Surfing was a huge success! Managed to get up like 85% of the time, rode some really nice waves. Aaron was a rockstar. Only downside was there were a lot of people from other camps out in the water so the surfing etiquette went out the window and had to avoid running into people but we had some solid time before anyone came out so were pleased. They bring lunch to the beach, amazing salads (not lettuce) & had beetroot, chickpeas, lentils, onion, egg, carrots...really nice, esp for our diet. Read for an hour. Went out for a while more, but harder w the high tide but managed to catch the last one in for the day. Back for yoga, then for dinner went to the local fish market. Had grilled sole & a mixed plate of shrimp, calamari & mackerel w a tzaziki sauce. Then went up to check out the ruins from the earthquake in 1960 which was the only remaining structure. Then the fog rolled in! Weren't able to see much of the view but was still fun.

18 September 2016

Day 5: Yoga at 7am (everyday) then brekkie, boiled egg, pistachio yogurt (never tried before, delicious!), nuts & some of the best brewed coffee I've had (maybe hazelnut or cinnamon?). 😍 Really cloudy, grey day - same routine checking the waves at the beach & choosing 17. Was a bit harder today to get up on the board, got a few times but was really exhausted from battling the currents & swimming back out, really zaps your energy! Even w/ his foot pain & shoulder Aaron still managed to catch a "green" wave - literally a perfect wave before it breaks. So proud!!! After we came in for a rest & had lunch (a lovely potato salad w onions, tomato, golden raisins) decided to call it a day as not to push the injuries & was a bit too cold. Of course when we came back the sun came out, but was happy to take it easy. Didn't go to second yoga (cramps:() so called my mom and had a good long chat, then booked our second hostel for Barcelona. Turns out my friend Noelle will be there too! Can't wait!

17 September 2016

Day 4: Agadir; First day surfing! Up at 6am to prep for yoga class, what a great way to start the day! Those stretches really help to prep you for surfing. Around 9:30 Rashid came to take us out, went to the closest beach & had a look, lots of people, not a lot of waves so we moved to Beach 17, as they call it (17km from the city). We warmed up, running & more stretching, before getting into board basics. Spent the first few hours trying just trying to stand up but both of us managed to actually get a few rides in! Unbelievable! Were pretty tired so came in for lunch around 12, Niçoise salad w beans, a read, & headed out for an hour more. Caught a few, Aaron is a natural (of course;) Home for more yoga, then dinner which was amazing fresh grilled fish w lentil stew. Slept like a baby!

16 September 2016

Day 3: Marrakesh to Agadir; Breakfast on the terrace, had a Moroccan crumpet! Then bus to Agadir, missed the stop then the driver realized so had to walk back about 10mins but was fine! Sabine (owner of Surf Magic) and Rashid (our instructor) met us there and gave us the grand tour of the area, little beach cafes and surf spots all the way along. Our Riad is dated but nice, Mohammed runs it, super sweetheart. There is a pool and a few different rooftop terrace areas. Got our phones sorted & had lunch at a local cafe, our favorite egg dish, shakoushka! Came back for a read on the terrace before dinner. Kefta meatballs, rice and Moroccan salad w mint tea and melon for dessert. Lovely!

15 September 2016

Sir Richard Branson's retreat in the Atlas Mountains, Kasbah Tamadot. Took a detour on the way home from the waterfalls as we had to come check this place out on recommendation from Tony in Marrakech. I had a cinnamon tea which was phenomenal and they guys had juice. We also ordered an Eaton mess for dessert, pavlova, cream, strawberry - yummo!
Lunch by the base of the falls, photobomb in the mountains, goats, mint tea with a view and dipping our feet in the stream:)
Day 2: Setti Fatma waterfalls in the Atlas Mountains; Brekkie on the roof w Big ears again, then Hakim picked us up from the Riad to take us up to the waterfalls site. Little did we know it was more mountain climbing than hiking but we nailed it! Arrived around 10:30am & headed straight up. Was challenging but beautiful, not too many people int he morning then as we were leaving swarms of tourists & locals showed up so our timing was perfect! Made it up to the 2nd waterfall which took 1.5hrs then headed back, didn't want to push it w surf camp coming up. On the way saw some mtn goats and ate some wild walnuts which Hakim was a pro at opening by smashing on rocks. Stopped for lunch at the base of the mountain for a shakshouka type dish (baked egged w tomato, peppers and mince) and Moroccan salad (tomato, onion, garlic, herbs), really lovely afternoon, and workout included!
Great way to start the day! Pics of our rooftop terrace in Marrakesh w breakfast spread brought up to us. Big Ears likes to join us for some yoghurt (the cat) and then we head down to explore the town. And would you believe it, the street we are staying off of is called Nana!!! 😵 Just like in Bangkok.

14 September 2016

Took a sunset carriage ride around to check out the town w Rashid aka Mr. Marrakech. Saw both the new and old city, lots of gates, spice markets and mosques. Were dropped off at the restaurant recommended for dinner, Le Jardin. Amazing first day!
Day 1: Flying into Morocco from Lisbon, super early start but so excited as this will be both our first times in Africa! Up at 4 am to go to the airport, flew into Madrid, had a 2 hour layover, but didn't care because Starbucks had Pumpkin Spice Lattes! One of my favorite things in the world:) Arrived into Marrakech around 1pm & were taken to Riad Chameleon, where we are staying for 2 nights. Were met at the gate to the old city by Tony, the owner, & Abdou, his asst. Followed a maze to get to the Riad, but what a beautiful little oasis of a place! Beautiful open courtyard w a pool and rooftop terraces where you can take in a panorama of the city. The owners so helpful w advice and recommendations and even walked us to a cafe for lunch as a lot of things were closed due to the Eat Festival (where they sacrifice sheep en masse - thankfully we missed that by a few days as he streets were covered in carcasses!) Henna Cafe, lovely simple local food that gives back by teaching English.