Morocco is full culture, chaos, mint tea and tasty tangines and it’s the ideal destination for a long weekend of sunshine from Europe…
I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences on my travels and undertaken some awesome challenges – from hiking the Inca Trail in Peru to snorkelling with sharks in Fiji – and I love exploring different ways of travelling too.
Whether that’s making my way overland from Bangkok to Singapore or travelling with just hand luggage.
So when Money Supermarket challenged me to head off to a destination of my choice for a long weekend without luggage I thought, why not?!
The main goal behind it was to experience a trip as if your luggage had been lost, something that many traveller overlook when it comes to travel insurance.
Back To Morocco
After much debate I decided that Morocco was a good place to head for the challenge – it was warm, I could fly from Bristol Airport (one of the closest to my parents) and it’s a melting pot of culture, cultures and chaos, ideal for taking pictures and enjoying the sunshine!
Marrakech though is somewhere I’d only briefly passed through, so this was the perfect excuse to spend a long weekend in amongst the souks and explore it some more!
Lost Luggage – It’s The Small Things!
Landing only with the clothes on my back, my GoPro, iPhone, wallet and passport it soon became apparent how the little things really bug you when you have no luggage!
First off I landed in the evening, so after checking into my hotel (all reservation emails on my phone!) I was shattered and wanted to sleep.
First task for the morning – locating a toothbrush and toothpaste!
Like I said, it’s the small things!
Into The Souks
Having woken up in the humid sunshine and heat of Marrakech a few other essential items that I would need got added to the list – suncream, a travel adaptor, iPhone charger…and of course some clean clothes as I was obviously going to be pretty sweaty walking around the city!
And with that it was time to brave the hustle and bustle of the Moroccan souks to locate everything…
Now if you haven’t been to Morocco or the main square in Marrakech it’s best described as organised chaos and a total barrage on your senses.
People moving in all directions, the noise of snake charmers on their pipes, the smell of spices and the humid heat and a total lack of personal space.
It’s pretty intense and somewhat overwhelming at first but there comes a point where you just have to embrace it and go with the flow!
Ticking off some of my essentials was pretty easy – the glowing international sign for a pharmacy meant grabbing my toothbrush, toothpaste and suncream was pretty smoothly done.
It was actually the clothing that was the toughest to sort, but not for the reason you might expect.
The souks around the main square are a winding maze of shops selling pretty much everything you can imagine – from knock off sportswear to herbs, spices and traditional medicines.
While it’s pretty easy to find heaps that you want to buy, the actual process of buying can be pretty stressful – bartering here is on a totally different level to any other place I’ve travelled!
Shopping In Morocco – Stay Firm And Know The Exchange Rate
The Moroccan shop owners I encountered in Marrakech were a freaking nightmare to deal with and it became very apparent very quickly that they were trying to get as much money out of me as possible!
Take my scarf for instance, a pretty standard black and white afghan scarf. I checked it out and asked the price and after I calculated the exchange rate it turned out he was trying to charge me £35!
They are persistent and pushy. If in doubt place the items down (carefully!) and simply walk out. Don’t get bullied into buying anything you don’t want or at a price you aren’t comfortable with.
A Long Weekend In Morocco
So lost luggage aside – why would I recommend a long weekend break to Morocco and what should you get up to?
Well first off here are some great reasons to head to Morocco;
- Short flight from the UK and Europe
- …and those flights are pretty cheap (I paid less than £100 return with Easyjet)
- Variety of destinations for all tastes
- Wide variety of accommodation to suit all budgets
- Amazing food
- Warm weather (perfect for escaping a European winter!)
Great culture shock instead of the standard Euro weekend breaks!
So if all that appeals to your wanderlust what should you get up to?
Well I was initially we were just going to spend the 4 days exploring Marrakech, but after a couple of days exploring the sites we wanted to check out somewhere else too and opted for a day trip to Essaouira – which was a welcome break from the chaos and a much better spot for shopping and relaxing!
So if you decided to follow in those footsteps here’s some of my favourite things to spend your days in Morocco;
- Sip heaps of mint tea (aka Moroccan whiskey!) and people watch
- Watch the sunset over the hustle and bustle of the Jemaa el-Fnaa sqaure (the rooftop cafes overlooking it are the best spots!) and then sample some of the local food stalls
- Get lost in amongst the souks hating for trinkets
- Head to the beach and check out the fishing town of Essaouira
- Tuck into a steaming hot tagine…or two…or three!
- Get a shot of some goats chilling in the trees (yes that’s a real thing!)
- Marvel at the mosaics of Ben Youssef Madrasa
…that should keep you busy for a few days whilst you soak up the atmosphere and the sunshine!
And of course if you want to check out how some of my other blogger buddies got on with the Money Market Lost Luggage Challenge click here!
How did you get on?