Farewell Morocco!

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All too soon I am back in the airport & waiting to board my flight back to Switzerland. My trip flew by so quickly & I am so glad I made the decision to go. I met lovely people, experienced a beautiful land & of course, the hammams!

I made some purchases to remind me of my trip – dates, chillis, a teapot, mint tea, nigella seeds, spices & argon oil. I dread to see what my friend takes home after her 20 day trip. By day 2 she already had 2 new handbags & was pricing 3 wedding carpets! Being the worldly gipsy that I am, I don’t like to accrue homely items, or any items for that matter, with no home to put them in. Plus I always have the idea that I will go back to my favourite places again, so no pressure to stock on keepsakes just yet.

Swiss Airlines taking good care of me

Swiss Airlines taking good care of me

My friends are having a lovely time out of the city of Marrakesh. If I had more time I certainly would have travelled around Morocco & visited the Sahara. This time round I just needed to de-stress & feel the buzz of a new city. Travelling can consume so much energy. I will try to make the most of my 12hour trip back to the alps & enjoy my ‘me time’ before I’m thrown into a month of non stop work.

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Still hammaming in Marrakech. Bliss!

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My last night in morocco & what better place to spend it than in a hammam. Dear god it was incredible! I went to the hammam next to my hostel. I’m so sorry I don’t remember the name. I can however give you directions if required!

All the staff were very lovely. I went upstairs for the hammam & scrub first. I was completely naked & lying on a heated marble bench. The girl washed me & scrubbed me, rinsed me & washed my hair. It was lovely & warm & relaxing. Another girl came to take me downstairs for my massage.

My naked massage was amazing. I normally never get my stomach done but this time I got everything done. Legs, bum, stomach, boobs, back. It was amazing! I was so relaxed & content.

As a sports rehabilitation therapist & masseuse I would never dream of doing a stomach or boob massage. I have been trained in basic stomach techniques for musculoskeletal problems, but I rarely, if ever, do it. If I did a boob massage I might get into serious trouble! Pecs I’ve done many times before, but never anything like the lovely oily breast massage that I was given. I think I’m now a changed person & fully converted to naked massages – when appropriate. I won’t whip everything out for a sports massage, but I wait with bated breath for my next Moroccan hammam & naked massage experience. (FYI I’m not a pervert or a creep!).

I slid back to my hostel in my oily state & drank mint tea & made new friends until past my bed time.

What a perfect last night in Marrakech. My friends think I should aim for 1 last hammam tomorrow morning seeing as I’m such an enthusiast, but I think they are being too optimistic. It does sound like a wonderful idea though! I’m glad I got to experience both the traditional hammam & the more luxury hammam with the massage. I recommend both! I really hope there is a Moroccan hammam in back in Verbier…..

Not all fellow travellers have morals

After complaining about how I hate being hoodwinked & shortchanged, lo & behold, someone in my dorm steals my purse with €250 in it. I am so mad. What sort of low life does something like that? I generally have good karma but I know that money is long gone. I wish the thief nothing but terrible karma to come from my hard earned wages & kindly appreciated tips.

I am now a little anxious with the rest of my beloved belongings. I don’t think I could cope well if anything else gets stolen. So much for a cheap break to morocco. There goes my flight to New York *sigh*

As usual I will convince myself that it was my fault so I have to deal with it, it could have been much worse & that it’s only money, I still have my health. All fair arguments. All not bringing me my money back. I have some very strong words I want to scream & seek justice…. Instead I will wallow in a smelly room *sigh*

My roommates have purchased big leather bags. The room fucking stinks. I can taste the leather & it tastes disgusting! It has certainly put me off buying a new handbag, not that I even have the funds for it to be an option anymore.

Everything is annoying me tonight. It is freezing cold again. There is no toilet roll. The pillows are uncomfortable. I’m skint & have been robbed. I’m at a bit of a low right now.

Tomorrow is my last full day in Morocco. I will have some orange juice for breakfast, visit the spice souk, read my book, get a tagine for lunch, nap in the sun, visit another hamman, eat something delicious for tea & chill out in the evening. Sounds perfect! Bring on a better day!

Hammaming with the locals, Marrakech

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Today I visited a traditional Moroccan public hammam. None of that take you by the hand, nurture your privacy & bow to westerner bullshit for me! I’m going to wash with the locals!

For the most authentic experience we went to the hammam the Moroccan lady in my hostel goes to. One of the members of staff took us to buy the mandatory black soap & exfoliating mitts then led us to the hammam. He kindly arranged a price so we weren’t charged tourist prices – Although I’m sure we still paid more than the locals.

For 70dirham I got to wait uneasily in a changing/clothes storeage area as a Moroccan lady shouted orders at us in what must have been Arabic. It certainly wasn’t english or French. Using the universal mode of sign language & accompanying noises we slowly managed to get by.

We disrobed & wrapped ourselves in towels & accompanied our panty wearing body washer into the steamy hamman. There were naked ladies everywhere, some still in their panty’s, some not. All busy & absorbed in their own cleaning ritual or helping to scrub each other.

We passed through 2 chambers of steam rooms & entered the third & hottest room. We were told to sit on the tile floor, but we didn’t understand so we stood like naked morons for a while. A fight broke out between 2 women, maybe over buckets, soap or the best spot to wash! Hammam turf wars!

Eventually we sat down on the tiles & our helper passed us buckets & a scoop to pour the hot water over our bodies. It was so warm & lovely! The helper then took the black soap & rubbed it all over my arms, body & legs. She poured water over the floor & pointed for me to lie face down. She quickly rubbed the black soap all over my back & legs then flipped me over & did my whole front. I was so warm & slippery on the tiles, it was oddly wonderful! She rinsed me off & did the same for my friend.

She came back to me with a black exfoliating mitt & I sat in front of her while she scrubbed layers of skin off my back. Amazing! She got me to lay down & did the same to my front & back. I felt like a baby being taken care of by it’s mother. So warm, soothed & comforted. Then she rinsed me, washed my hair & rinsed me again. It was so lovely. By now being naked didn’t even bother me. I felt so clean & free!

She took me into the next steam room & filled a bucket with slightly cooler warm water & we took turns at rinsing me down. Then we walked though the next steam room & outside the entrance she rinsed my feet.

Over! All too quickly! I wanted to steam, rinse & be washed & scrubbed for hours! I felt so relaxed & comforted from the heat & very clean & content. This is what I need when I’m hungover. I’m sure I have friends who would come & scrub me down. Form a queue people!

My first experience at a traditional moroccan public hamman has left me with one question – When can I have another one!?? Incredible!

Marrakech

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I have spent my first 24 hours in Marrakech ducking & diving snakes, donkeys, motorbikes, monkeys, hecklers & a guy selling weigh ins in the street….

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What a vibrant city! The hustle & bustle in the main square is intense! The people are so friendly & warm – although we are quite hesitant as some expect money for directions, pictures & things they initially offer as gifts. I like to see a price tag before I agree to anything & not be pestered for money when it’s too late. I don’t enjoy being hoodwinked. The same goes for being overcharged for things & not being given enough change back. That 10 dirhams you shortchanged me with will be bitterly held against you. Maybe I’m being too mean & the stallholders are just terrible at maths. I just particularly dislike being treated like a fool.

The heckling is incessant. Even with sunglasses & earphones I still get pestered. Being the palest, blondest little lady in Marrakech I guess I have brought this upon myself…. Hopefully it will give me a bit of self esteem & wipe out years of self doubt, personal hatred & shortcomings? Too deep???? Sorry…

The medina is a maze. I am quite smug that I was able to find my hostel quickly & all by myself! I pride myself on my excellent sense of direction. Maybe in a previous life I was one of the people who led holidaymakers to their desired location for a few dirhams? The souks are incredible. There is so much stuff & so many winding paths. Today I let myself wander without my internal gps & it was a delight. Shopkeepers are so enthusiastic to get you into their shop & talk to you about their products & offer you tea. We wandered through the various souk districts & stumbled upon a queue of locals in a busy tagine eatery. We joined in & had the most delicious chicken, butter bean & bread meal. I want to go back! I’m also going back to the spice souk to stock up on spices & mint tea – amazing!

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It is so cold here! Myself & most travellers I meet are surprised at how cold it is at night & in the mornings. My hostel has no central common area roof & no heating. I am currently in bed with a hat, thick scarf, jumper & 2 blankets & I’m still cold. People keep asking me if I’m warm because I look so wrapped up & snug but no. I am a wimp when it comes to being cold. Hence, I am not envious of the people going to the Sahara to camp overnight in minus degrees. If Glastonbury has taught me anything, it’s that I am a miserable camper & want to die when I get too cold. My temperature seriously affects my happiness! I know I will most likely regret missing out on the Sahara (this time around) but I do hold on to my memories of misery & I don’t need any more.

Tomorrow I shall be getting my nudity on & visiting a hammam. I expect to lose a stone in shredded, shed skin! I also expect to regret moreso my lack of razor – my haphazard packing *sigh*

Forward thinking

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6.15am & I’m stood outside in -7 degree temperatures waiting for my transfer. I’m waiting patiently dressed for my trip to Morocco, not wearing anything remotely ski resort appropriate. 45 minutes later & I have strongly resolved to forward think a little more.

Hindsight. I’ve got plenty of that. It’s the finer details in following things through which I gravely lack. My ‘sure it’ll be grand’ attitude only gets me so far. It doesn’t stop my toes from turning into icicles & snapping off, it doesn’t help the convulsing shiver I have involuntarily developed to survive. Sure, on this occasion, I have saved myself having to carry a winter jacket to sunny Africa – though at some point in life I’m going to have to be more pensive & take better care of myself. Take the jacket bitch!

I’m getting old damnit! I need a bit more comfort in my life. I need to be a bit kinder to this ageing hag. I need my sleep more than ever & I’m convinced I’m developing a lazy eye. What next? My only solace is in my equally aging friends who can relate to the process & are helping me through these traumatic developments!

Now it’s in writing I will endeavour to take a bit better care of myself because I’m getting old.

….To see it in black & white is awakening. On second thoughts I will put it to the back of my mind & continue to live in my carefree manner depending on my resilience to cope with whatever I put myself through. Well done me! You’re a tough cookie!

Morocco, anybody??

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I seem to have taken a diversion before choosing my next path…. In a bid to try to organise my year I have been sucked in by my day dreams & instead I am jetting to Morocco this week for a short break! I have never been & I am super excited!

I can’t take all the credit for booking this trip. Everyone with an active addiction has an abettor. My ‘enabler’ is Sky Scanner. Just a tap away, placing the world of possibilities before my eyes & goading me into my next adventure.

I have been perusing blogs for tips & inspiration for my trip & came across #take12trips. The idea is you go on a trip every month. They can be as small or large as your budget, time & imagination allow – An overnight stay in your nearest town or all around the world. You decide! This is a new year resolution I could actually keep for once! Maybe even by default with my track record for travelling.

Who’s on board?? Are you going to #take12trips with me?

Marrakech will be my first trip. Please share any recommendations with me in the comments. The less touristy the better! I’m after an authentic trip immersed in culture & copious amounts of street food – This might actually help me get over the heartache of leaving my beloved Thai street food. It’s been 6 weeks & I’m still a foodie mourning. I love that I can say I’m a foodie & not a greedy, ravenous, slave to my taste buds & appetite….

In Marrakech I am planning on wandering, doing a cookery course, taking pictures & people watching. What else should I do?

http://www.skyscanner.com