Mountains and markets in Marrakesh

It’s a well known fact that all the best plans are the ones that you make on a whim. Which is exactly what my recent trip to Marrakesh was. Having had a super stressful few months (read: years), my mum impulse booked a holiday in Morocco for some quality gal time with my sister and I. So, after my Easter in Cornwall, I took a 360 turn and boarded a flight to Marrakesh.

The holiday started in the best way a holiday can – with a surreal yet hilarious taxi journey to the airport on roads I have never seen before in my entire 20+ years living in Sussex. Having successfully navigated the maze that is the English countryside, we arrived at Gatwick with plenty of time for the staple pre-holiday shopping trip.

After a three-hour flight we landed in Morocco and were swiftly taken to our “boutique” hotel (reminiscent of a large scale AirBnB) just outside the city. Despite our 10pm arrival, we were met by our host and his three dogs and were treated to a three-course Moroccan dinner with special provisions for the vegan of the group. We were starving and the food did not disappoint; this dinner essentially kicked off four days of pretty great dining. Sleepy and satisfied we headed to bed.

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Having slept off the travel-tiredness, we decided day one was a day for relaxing by the pool and it wasn’t long until the resident attention-seeker, Lucky the dog, was chilling on the sunbed with us. As a crazy dog-lady, this suited me fine and more than made up for the fact that by the end of the day I was a patchy, sunburnt mess.

Day two was our dedicated sight-seeing day and was decidedly more active. Heading out with our host/ guide/ Moroccan history expert, we spent the morning exploring the Medina, or the old town, learning about some of Morocco’s past and taking in some of the sights. A tour of the souks, the Bahir Palace and the Saadian tombs along with some (quietly communicated) outrage at the attitudes towards women in the Morocco of the past, was more than enough to work up our appetites and the time came to seek out a vegan-friendly restaurant in a decidedly un-vegan country.

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Lunch over, we decided to set out on our own and made our way to the famous Majorelle Gardens, the pride of designer Yves St Laurent. Despite all the people, the gardens were stunning and all three of us were inspired by the rainbow of colour that hit us as we wandered through. Safe to say, we took a lot of pictures.

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After a quick trip around the Yves St Laurent museum and a stint back at the hotel to clean up, we headed back out on the town to a favourite restaurant of our hotel hosts. Complete with belly dancers, cocktails and an array of cuisines, the packed restaurant seemed to be the tourist destination. Hen dos aside, the food and the service was brilliant and we even managed to sort out a vegan option.

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Tired out from our busy Saturday, Sunday was another day of relaxing by the pool. To end our long day of relaxing, we decided to indulge ourselves in a traditional hammam, followed by a massage. The hammam was an interesting experience, to say the least. It’s pretty strange to be washed by someone else once you’re past the age of six. After being washed down with hot water and left to soak up some steam, we were scrubbed from head to toe to slough off all of the dry and dead skin. Following this, we were covered in moisturising mud and left to soak some more before a hair wash and a second rinsing. We were then whisked away to another room for a massage to finish our day of relaxation.

Not content with relaxing for too long, Monday had us back on our feet in a big way and we made our way to the Atlas mountains, a must-see for any outdoors lovers. Described as a gentle walk, this was more of a scramble and I was rudely awakened to just how unfit I’ve become. Despite this, though, we climbed through the mountains and ended up at some beautiful waterfalls as well as some stunning views of the valley. Definitely worth the effort.

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This was the high note our trip needed and we left Morocco feeling satisfied with our trip and hungry for more mountain trekking.