A memorable trip

September 16, 2013

This is the view from the balcony of a riad we stayed at in Marrakech. The photograph was taken in 2010 before POD arrived. We decided to go to Morocco for a long weekend without really knowing what to expect.

The taxi we had from the airport dropped us off in a dusty street and pointed at an alleyway when we asked where our riad was. The sense of unease was quashed however when we located a big black door with a beautiful riad the other side. It was a place of calm, a stark contrast to the mayhem we’d just experienced. Our room was wonderful and a roof terrace provided a superb location for breakfast. The door you see to the left was where we ate dinner and chose wine from a secret menu.

Outside this place of beauty, all sense of direction departed you. Even though we knew exactly where we were heading, there are so many distractions, we soon lost our focus. It was a mistake to stare at a map like a couple of lost tourists. Within minutes we’d been approached by locals keen to show us where to go.

Totally lost it wasn’t long before we selected someone and headed through a labyrinth of alleyways. There seemed no logic to any of them. We did end up where we wanted to be.

The best way to get around the Medina is by foot. Other than scooters, that appear from all directions, it’s closed to traffic.

There was an endless maze of markets and the souks comprised of alleyways of small retail outlets. If you ventured in, it was presumed you would purchase. A mix of specialisms covering everything from carpets and textiles to spices, clothing and blankets. Not forgetting alligator skins.

The renowned Djemaa El-Fna square was home to juice vendors, henna tattoo artists, astrologers, magicians and monkey trainers. We were collared by the snake charmers when one of their ‘team’ discovered us taking a photograph from way back. Before we knew it we both had snakes round our necks.

Although real snakes they appeared dead to us. We were asked to hold each just below it’s head, presumably to show unsuspecting tourists they were alive. They resembled something you’d find in a party shop rather than a reptile enclosure!

It was a truly memorable weekend and it may have also have been where POD was conceived. She did arrive nine months later after all.

We’re linking this post up with What’s The Story? on this blog and Magic Moments at The Oliver’s Madhouse.

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  • Afra September 16, 2013 at 7:23 am

    looks lovely – somewhere I’ve never been

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Thank you Afra, it’s a mental place. The riad was so peaceful though. Complete contrast 🙂

  • Louise September 16, 2013 at 7:28 am

    sounds like a lovely trip

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Thanks Louise, it was a great trip 🙂

  • Only Best For Baby September 16, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Looks amazing, I’ve never been to Marrakech but my friends rave about it! x

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      It is the most mental place I’ve ever been to!

  • Notmyyearoff September 16, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Ahhh sounds like a really lovely trip – besides maybe the snake bit! I went in 97 and really loved it! I think I’d like to go back one day as OH hasn’t been yet!

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      It’s an incredible place isn’t it. I was so thankful for the riad with everywhere so busy. You should definitely go back at some point. The snakes were tiny – I’m so sure they were dead!

  • Capture by Lucy September 16, 2013 at 9:40 am

    How lovely to have a photo that reminds you of where your daughter was conceived. I have to admit (get ready for over share) that we took a photo too of that fateful night but it wasn’t nearly as lovely! We just had a feeling that it had happened!

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      I’m sure they’d probably want to know where they were conceived one day. We don’t know know for sure but we’re fairly certain 🙂

  • OneDad3Girls September 16, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Wow it looks and sounds a lovely place.

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      Thank you Darren, it’s a mad place! We did pick up some rather nice leather goods though 🙂

  • Kim Carberry September 16, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Wow! It does look lovely!

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Thank you Kim. The riad was lovely then it was mental the minute you stepped outside it. Great trip though 🙂

  • LauraCYMFT September 16, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Looks really pretty. I love exploring new places!

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Thank you Laura. You should check it out, it was good fun 🙂

  • TheBoyandMe September 16, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Wow! I’ve always wanted to go to Marrakesh, but I suspect it is a grown child or childless couple holiday, I certainly couldn’t imagine taking The Boy into that hustle and bustle. There is no way on Earth I could have coped with a snake around my neck!

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Think you’re right, it’s definitely a childless trip or waiting until they’re bigger at least. The riad is so quiet and so beautiful but outside that it’s super hectic! It’s a shame the snake photos were so rubbish, they were hilarious – and small thankfully 🙂

  • Jocelyn (@IHaveCards) September 16, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Looks gorgeous! Never been, though my brother has and says it’s fabulous, too. Lovely to think POD may have been conceived in such a beautiful place x

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks Jocelyn, its a great place to go and visit but not for a relaxing weekend 🙂

  • Jaime Oliver September 16, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Charly this is so fab you wrote about this place today, my twin sister arrived there this morning for a birthday surprise with her boyfriend!!

    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      So funny Jaime that you sister arrived there today. Small world 🙂

  • Lou's Lake Views September 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    This made me smile, we had a very different experience of Morocco, I’ll have to write about it someday. I know what you mean about having locals offering to help you, as long as you pop into their uncle’s gift shop though!

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      You so should Lou, it’s a mad place. Seems so long ago now. I guess a lot has happened since 🙂

  • suzanne3childrenandit September 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Ooh, I would definitely have run away at the sight of snakes (albeit fairly docile ones by the sound of it!). Marrakech is somewhere I’ve never been but do quite fancy – stark contrast to the UK!

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      Very different to the UK, an interesting place to visit though. The snakes were very docile indeed, that was such a strange experience!

  • Coombemill September 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Lovely to look back on some pre kids times

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Funny how it seems so long ago 🙂

  • Erica Price September 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve always fancied going to Morocco. Must be so strange the contrast between somewhere calm and serene and the heaving, busy streets outside.

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Such a contrast Erica, it’s really weird. You’re so thankful for the riad though, it was wonderfully peaceful there. Morocco is definitely worth a visit, I’d like to see more there one day 🙂

  • Colette September 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    It sounds like utter bliss! What a wonderful oasis of calm!

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      The riad was just wonderful then out to the mayhem of the souks!

  • Verily Victoria Vocalises September 16, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I would love to get to Marrakech – if only for all the hustle and bustle of the markets! 🙂 x

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      You will I’m sure! It’s nice to have all the hustle and bustle but also that quiet place to retreat to too 🙂

  • Sara (@mumturnedmom) September 16, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful (and eventful!) trip 🙂 It’s not somewhere I’ve been, but I have been to similar places and have had slightly different experiences…! More along the lines of Lou 🙂 Fascinating place though, and a lovely story xx

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Be interesting to see a bit more of the country potentially when POD is bigger. Although saying that I’d probably be happier sitting on a beach 🙂

  • Iona@Redpeffer September 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I would love to go to Morocco, such a fascinating culture. What is it about holidays?! Both ours came along after trips to Seville and Paris.

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      Seemingly trips are a good idea LOL! It’s definitely an interesting place to visit, seriously chaotic though 🙂

  • Bex September 16, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Looks beautiful. i’d love to go to Morocco.
    Lovely MagicMoments 🙂

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Thank you Bex, it was an interesting weekend 🙂

      • Bex September 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm

        🙂 xx

  • Mama Syder September 16, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful trip, what a beautiful place to have conceived, so lovely x

    • Charly Dove September 16, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      It was a great trip thanks, seems like such a long time ago though now 🙂

  • Emily September 16, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Beautiful picture and fantastic sounding holiday, I’d love to visit Marrakech! x

    • Charly Dove September 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Thank you Emily. Was a fleeting visit but a good one 🙂

  • Cathie B September 17, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Fab post – would love to visit. Not sure about the snakes though!!!!!

    • Charly Dove September 17, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      Thank you. Teeny tiny snakes Cathie, you would have been alright. Worth a visit at some point 🙂

  • Dragonsfypoppy September 17, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Ah how lovely! Sounds like it was a little haven away from all the hustle and bustle. And what a fantastic result of it all nine months later 🙂

    • Charly Dove September 17, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      It so was – really nice to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy streets. The markets and souks were amazing though 🙂

  • An Exeter Mum September 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I would so love to go to Morrocco, many friends have been and loved it! The snake story did make me shudder a bit though! Kind of worse if they were dead in a way :-/

    • Charly Dove September 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      You’re probably right with their status – it was a weird experience! Definitely an interesting place to visit 🙂

  • Funky Wellies September 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    It looks like a gorgeous place where to stay… *sigh* xx

    • Charly Dove September 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      Lovely place to stay and so calm in comparison to the outside 🙂

  • Man & Buggy Blog September 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    I just want to dive into that water… whether it is meant to be swum in or not! I love the tiles on the floor…

    • Charly Dove September 19, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      It did look really good it has to be said! I did resist the temptation to dip my feet in though. Thought best not to given it was next to the restaurant :))

  • Nell Heshram September 19, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I LOVE Marrakech. I went when I was a gleeful singleton, and am keen to go back one day. Maybe when the children are a bit older – I think it might be a bit too hectic at the moment! You were very brave with the snakes – I ran a mile from those vendors!

    • Charly Dove September 19, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      The thought of going with little ones is quite daunting isn’t it! I’d be quite happy just lying on a beach or something! We would have run a mile from the vendors, we got caught taking a photograph so were collared!

  • older mum in a muddle September 22, 2013 at 8:28 am

    What a fabulous place for a weekend away. The raid looks lovely! X