Dag allemaal.. or should I say Salam?
I thought it was finaaally time for an update.. (yes I know I haven't written since February.. so you missed out on my adventures in Stockhom, Barcelona, Venice and of course the Netherlands - but you can see the photos).
I'm now with Josse in Marrakech, Morocco. We flew here yesterday out of Brussels.. such a long day, up at 7 am and didnt get here until 12 hours later.. even though the flight itself was only 4 hours.
It was certainly a shock arriving and right away having to navigate our way through the Medina (old town). Our hostel is in a renovated Riad (old estate/house), and it is absolutely gorgeous. However, to get to it we had to force our way past the beggars and shopkeepers and snake charmers, all trying to convince us to pay them a visit. We probably looked like the biggest tourists ever, pulling our suitcases through the giant, crowded square of Djemma El Fna.
After we found our hostel we wandered back through the Souks (shop stalls buried in a maze of narrow alleys), and back again through Djemma El Fna. We refused several offers on the street for 'great dinners' before going to a somewhat touristy restaurant that served Moroccan dishes with live Moroccan music. Josse ordered a chicken/olives tajine, and I ordered a 7 vegetable couscous one. The chicken was definitely tastier though. Tajines are a dish with stewed meat, cooked traditionally by men and served in pottery dishes.
After wondering around a bit we went back to our hostel and went to bed. Earlier that night we had discovered the great views of the rooftop terrace of our hostel, and spent a long time attempting to capture the lighting in the thunderstorm we were watching.
The next morning we woke up to discover that I was covered in around 50 (but probably more) bed bug bites.. Surprise! Josse of course has not a single bite on his body. Apparently when people go to do the desert tours they pick up the bugs from the camels and then bring them back to the hostel. Well, we're changing rooms tonight so hopefully that helps.. but unfortunately that means moving from a big, decorated room to a boring one. (First we were sleeping under canopy tent beds, and now itll be bunk beds.)
So I spent the day walking around and looking diseased, but it was worth it just to be here. 40 degrees by 11:30 am.. wow. And this was supposed to be the coolest day this week. Josse and I bought tickets for a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, did that for a little while, and then stopped to visit two palaces and some tombs. Mosaics are everywhere in the palaces, and absolutely breathtaking. It also helps that orange trees and hibiscus plants decorate the palace gardens. Another interesting thing is that all the buildings are painted a rust shade here, makes me feel like I'm in an Indiana Jones movie or something.
The one downside is that we can only look at the mosques from the outside, but they are certainly impressive. One of the ones in Marrakech is 70 meters tall, and we can here the call to prayer several times per day.
On a side note, we stopped at Mcdonalds for lunch.. (yes.. guilty of that).. and Josse ordered a McArabia.. a pita filled with hamburger.. halal.. and an eggplant sauce. It was way better than my Big Mac!
We also got ripped off in a market today, after a man befriended us with Mint tea, and convinced us to buy smelling salts and spices for 15 euros. Oops. And Josse paid a visit to the snake charmers, and almost got charged ten euro for having a snake put round his neck!
Tomorrow more exploring in Marrakech, then off to the desert - camel riding in 42 degree weather- on Friday. Wish us luck!