Friday, April 29, 2016

2 days in Marrakesh

Hey my friends!
This is the last travel post I’ll have for a while. Mostly because this is the last city from our European trip but also because the hubs and I have decided to achieve some of our financial goals in the next year. So staycations here we come! (Let me know if you want to hear about the fun things we like to do around Atlanta)

I’m not sure where to start with Morocco. As much as I love London and as much fun we had in Paris and Madrid, Marrakesh was our favorite part of this trip. There is so much to love about this place! Everything was alive. I hope you know what I mean by that. There were so many sounds, smells, and sights that it felt like the city itself was breathing. During the day, we wandered around the winding streets, getting lost among the shops and the stalls. In the evening, we retreated to our quiet riad oasis and ate until our stomachs quit.

I think my favorite part was the souks. Those are the shops where you can get lost in the maze of lanterns, scarfs, and other trinkets aplenty. I could have spent hours in there!

We also explored the city by carriage. Yes, that's right. A HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE! Believe me it was so fun seeing the city this way! Our driver was so sweet too! At least I think he was, he only spoke French which as you know, we do not. Here are some pics from that adventure:

The last thing that I loved about our stay here was our Riad! If you travel to Marrakesh do not stay in a hotel. A cheaper and more authentic thing to do is to book a room in one of the many many riads around the city. It's like a bed and breakfast except much cheaper! Make sure to do a lot of research on where you want to stay since there are so many out there. We took full advantage of the meals offered to us through Riad Anabel. As you can see it was pretty epic!

Here are my tips for a few days in Marrakesh:

1. Stay in a Riad.
As I mentioned before, this is such an authentic experience! There are so many around the city that offer almost any amenity. There is really no excuse to stay in a hotel. I highly recommend Riad Anabel. It is very reasonably priced and is located very close to the square Jemaa el-Fnaa. This is is basically the center of everything in the city. Plus! Habiba makes everyone feel like family. She fed us soo well and even took us on a tour of the rest of the riad. And it's beautiful. Breathtaking. Go there for real.

2. Visit the Majorelle Gardens. 
Yves Saint Laurent designed and created a garden in the middle of this city. It's so beautiful! 

3. Don't be afraid to haggle!
It's actually customary to negotiate when purchasing goods from the souks. It can be pretty intimidating if you're not used to it. Honestly, I love it. Y'all know I love getting a good deal. So some light hearted bargaining is so much fun to me! The key is to cut whatever price they quote you in half and then haggle to about 25% off. Not to brag, but I got a lovely pashmina for my mom for about 70% off the quoted price! Totes bragging. At this point of the trip I had pretty much lost my voice, so the hubs says that's why I got such great prices. I like to think it was my spunky spirit.

Well that's it my friends! We had such a good time on this adventure. I'm positive that we'll have many more to come but I will always remember this one.
If you happen to be travelling to any of these cities, feel free to ask me any questions you may have!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

2 days in Madrid

Hey my friends!

The next city we visited on this trip was Madrid. This city had a more laid back feel than Paris and London. We took our time everywhere we went. We arrived on Easter Sunday, so I’m sure that had something to do with the laid back feel. We walked around Retiro Park, toured the Royal Palace, and explored the old city. We also had an amazing meal at the oldest restaurant in the world, Botin! We had the roast suckling pig. It was delicious! If you are able to, get to the restaurant early and they will seat you in the basement which has such an old world feel. That’s about it. At this point of the trip I was needing a recharge, so we skipped out on a lot that we had originally planned. I don’t regret that decision one bit! The hubs and I both decided that it was better to relax and enjoy ourselves than to stress about seeing everything the city had to offer. It just gives us a reason to visit again! The next (and last) leg of the trip is coming next week: Morocco!

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