African journey: A breath of Marrakesh
As much as I love the tranquility and quietness of Leiden, being a young person it’s always a bit more fun to be surrounded by the bustle and hustle of a vibrant city. That said, after 2 continuous month staying at home to write my thesis, Marrakesh, the capital city of Morocco, was totally a breath of fresh air. I only planned this African trip to escape from the cold of Europe, but it turned out, it’s really an exciting trip that you should also not miss when you are staying in the Netherlands! Let me show you some highlights from my wonderful journey to a land that is so different from our little cocoon in Leiden.
Eating is always a part of traveling that I enjoy a lot. We found this really nice Henna Art Cafe in the media of Marrakesh which is really close to our hotel. Moroccan food is not very diverse and you’ll find yourself eating tangine (a kind of meat stew) almost everyday. But a nice thing about Moroccan cuisine is that they do include a lot of vegetables in their dishes, which is not the case in Europe. You should also not miss the mint tea and fresh orange juice sold pretty much everywhere in Marrakesh. What I love the most is that eating here is soooo cheap compared to the prices in Europe. With 2-4 EUR you can already have a decent meal, and the orange juice costs just 0,3 EUR per glass! My friend and I drank twice everyday 😛
The first thing we did in Marrakesh, besides filling our stomach, was to get a henna! Definitely top of our must-do Moroccan experiences. We got the henna right at the cafe and we were so glad we did, it was inexpensive and very pretty as you can see. You can find a lot of henna artist in the main square (Jemaa El Fna) but do avoid doing it there to save yourself from being robbed! My henna costs around 10 EUR and it lasted for 2 weeks 😀
The main square is where everything happens in Marrakesh. During daytime you can find souvenir shops, snake chambers, henna drawings, etc. When the sun goes down, it transforms into a food market. We tried the famous lamb sausages here. It’s a bit touristy though, meaning the price can be a little more expensive than anywhere else. But it was also quite an experience!
This is what I love about Marrkesh and Morocco in general: the cats are everywhere! Like seriously, there are so many cats in every corner of the streets. Some are friendly, some are not. But it is definitely a signature thing about this city 😛
I made a new friend everywhere I went to 😛 One of our major activities in Marrakesh is simply getting lost in the medina. We discovered so many beautiful spots in these never-ending narrow alleys. It’s always nice to see different types of architecture from the typical houses and castles you see in Europe.
If you’re thinking about going somewhere new for a change, I strongly recommend Morocco. Apart from exploring a totally different culture and landscape, a big reason why you should go there is that… it is so much cheaper than in Europe! But, be prepared to make some bargains 😛 I’ve been warned that in Marrakesh especially in the main square tourists will be bugged by travel agencies and some self-called local guides who want to take advantage of the fact that it is hard to navigate in the media to get some money from you. But that didn’t happen to me and my friend, two tiny Asian girls. Yes we went pass some guys like that, but they stopped bothering us as soon as we showed no interest. And most of the people we met are really nice and friendly. Just be mindful and you’ll be fine!
Please stay tuned for my next destination: the one and only blue city Chefchaouen!