Sunday 11 December 2011

Home Sweet Home

Whilst my blog last had me riding camels in Morocco, I have returned home.

In the intervening time, there were trips back to London, to Hong Kong, to Phuket (at a Muay Thai fitness camp) and Seoul. I will, in time, write about the amazing experiences I had in those places and how wonderful those last six weeks of my trip were.

I hope to turn my blog into a photobook, if for no other reader than myself. As of yet, I have not decided whether to maintain this blog with tales of future travels or turn it into something else. In the interim, I hope readers will find the reviews useful in their trip planning.

Kind regards


Tuesday 22 November 2011

Essaouira, Morocco

So once the TV host of a travel show has visited Marrakech and Jemaa el-Fnaa, the next stop is usually Essaouira and a visit the dock for a seafood grill. So of course, that was my next stop as well.

The beach at twilight

Located about 2 ½ hours away from Marrakech by bus, Essaouira sits on the Atlantic coast and is famous for its seafood and wind, making it a base for windsurfing and kitesurfing enthusiasts from around the world.

The day’s catch is laid out in stands and grilled to order. We sampled a bit of everything: prawns, crab, sea urchin, sardines, snapper, squid and another large white fish. For $6 a head it was definitely a bargain considering the amount of food left uneaten could have fed another three or four people.

Just point to it and it will be cooked to order for you

A small sample of what we ate (sea urchin and sardines)

For the rest of our time in Essaouira, we hit the souks, the hamman and the beach; a perfect and relaxing couple of days, with the exception of the morning daily call to prayer at 4.30am coming from the Mosque’s loudspeaker which was located directly next to our hotel facing our window. However, when in Rome……

The obligatory camel ride on the beach

Sunday 20 November 2011

Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech

Watch any travel show or read any magazine article about Marrakech and there is one place that is included each time: Jemaa el-Fnaa. The proverbial heart of the city, it is located across from the main mosque and is the centrepoint of activity. Fronting a large souk, the square is filled with musicians, snake charmers and other street performers by day, and by night, comes alive with the smells of roasted meats as the food stalls set up.

The view of the organised chaos from a rooftop cafe overlooking the square

It was the number one reason I wanted to go to Morocco and I had finally made it. The food stalls cover range of food from kebabs and sausages (packed with tourists) to snails and sheep heads (not so many tourists). I was travelling with a group so we ended up as the more unadventurous food stands but I still loved it.

First of all, you need to decide where to eat and the staff owners are experts at trying to persuade you to eat at their stall and not another. In perfect cockney accents, they would imitate Jamie Oliver, one said his food was “better than Heston Blumenthal” and others would try to charm the ladies with stories of how many donkeys you were worth.

The staff absolutely LOVE being in photos

Once a venue is selected, you then need to decide what you’d like them to grill or fry up for you, accompanied with fresh salads and bread. We ordered a bit of everything and feasted like kings.

A tiny selection of the food on offer

After dinner, we wondered the square, I tried some snails and we also went up to a rooftop café to see the view of the square from a different perspective. The smoke and steam billowing from the grills and fryers produces a fragrant haze that gets illuminated by the night lights: a truly chaotic and wonderful experience.

Snail time - not bad but not great