We woke up the next day feeling a little worse for wear. Seems all that drinking since the morning of our wedding day had taken its toll on us. That’s the last time I ever kick off with Disaronno on the rocks again. With no time to even comprehend a hangover, we quickly packed our bags – ready to jet set to Morocco!
Arrived at Liverpool Street station to board the Stansted Express, only to be disappointed with the fact the trains weren’t operating that day. Replacement coach readily available – great start! Not letting this minor hiccup ruin our trip, I responded with “well you shouldn’t sell tickets for a service you clearly cannot provide!”. That’s as far as I go when it comes to complaining. Hopped on the bus and we were well on schedule for our flight to Marrakech.
After four hours of being airborne, we landed in the “Red City”. During our transfer from the airport I was stunned to see a horse and carriage pass by on the road, until I noticed an abundance of them everywhere. Quite a popular way to get around – well for tourists anyway! We checked into a traditional family –run riad which was nice and peaceful on the inside – a huge contrast to the hustle and bustle of the run down streets.
Both still slightly hungover, we chose to eat in on our first night. The riad prepared our dinner, which started off with a range of typical Moroccan salads, followed by my very first lamb tagine – delicious! And for dessert we were served freshly peeled pomegranate topped with toffee yoghurt. I thought if this was anything to go by then we couldn’t go wrong in the food department. That was a fact! Everything that we ate in Marrakech was ever so tasty!
The highlight for me was the night we dined at Pepe Nero, a hidden gem tucked away in the narrow twisting alleyways of the Medina. Seeing the couple walk in before us be turned away without any reservations, I was pleased to find out that Adam had secured us a booking one week prior. Inside the beautifully designed riad, we were greeted warmly by the restaurant chef and maître d’ who escorted us past the quaint indoor traditional water pool before seating us next to another water feature.
I started off with the king prawns, which I thought was delicious, until I had a taste of Adam’s salmon. A classic case of food envy – fortunately for me, Adam was more than happy to swap our starters. We shared the pigeon pie, another favourite of mine. The crispiness of the pastry combined with the aroma of the meat oozing in gravy, together with the crunchiness of the crushed pistachios – all made for a delightful combination. Our mains arrived and surprise surprise, I preferred Adam’s slow roasted shoulder of lamb over my wild sea bass. Don’t get me wrong, the flavor of the fish all came together well and it was all cooked to perfection, but the way the succulent lamb just melted in your mouth took me to a whole new level of foodie heaven. Whether it was an empty gesture or not, I didn’t have the heart to accept his offer to swap meals again. Instead, I occasionally picked at his plate! For dessert we were served a complimentary chocolate honeycomb cake – absolutely divine! What a perfect finish to such an amazing dining experience!
A trip to Marrakech wouldn’t be complete without wandering through the souks, visiting the tanneries and trying a traditional Hammam scrub – and that we did! After having a quick tour of one of the spas near our riad, we opted for the full shebang – spa, scrub, massage and seaweed wrap. We were given a basket each before we parted ways to enter the gender appropriate rooms. In my goodie bag I found a bathrobe, disposable underwear and a locker key.
After dressing down and putting my belongings away, I walked into a hot and steamy room that had two raised concrete slabs as beds. On the left-hand side laid a semi naked lady getting her nether region scrubbed. I was directed to stand by the right bed by a boisterous woman, who spoke no word of English. The next thing I knew she was throwing bucket loads of water all over me and lathering me up with some kind of black soap. I was escorted to a steam room afterwards where I stayed for about 15 minutes before another lady took me back into the same heated room to perform the scrub. She signaled me to lie face down on the concrete bed while she scrubbed the back of me down. Flip!… As she continued to scrub every inch of dead skin away from the front my body. The seaweed wrap was none other than a seaweed paste-like consistency smeared all over me and left to marinate while a big sheet of plastic was used to cover my entire body. Could’ve done without it to be quite frank. I was rinsed off and then lead into the massage room – now we’re in business! An hour-long massage later and I was left feeling calm,relaxed and stress-free.
We both walked out of there feeling smooth as a baby’s behind. Not really in the mood to do any sightseeing just yet, we continued to eat our way through Marrakech. We were travelling along fine until all of a sudden I felt my stomach churning. Oh no…This can’t be happening now! I needed to get back to our riad pronto! I don’t know what exactly triggered my upset stomach but whatever it was, it left me glued to the toilet – not the most romantic of moments! I encouraged Adam to go out and explore but he insisted on staying in with me – witnessing (and regrettably hearing) me frantically racing to the bathroom every 20 minutes. And just my luck, it had to happen on the day that every pharmacy in town was closed.
I braved the thought of stepping outside for the first time in two days. Having to literally peel myself from the loo, I took a couple of Imodium pills Adam finally managed to procure from an open pharmacy. We ventured into the new part of town where my faith was restored in food again. After lunch we made our way to Jardin Majorelle – the place where Yves Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered when he died. It was a beautiful well-maintained botanical garden with just about every type of cactus known to mankind! The garden itself isn’t very big at all, so we didn’t stay very long, but it’s definitely worth a visit nonetheless.
From the lovely Marjorelle Garden to the exquisite royal garden of La Mamounia, where we spent our last night having extortionately priced drinks. We stumbled across the Five Star Hotel’s casino on our way out and made a spontaneous decision to go in and try our luck. Inserted the equivalent of £5 worth of dirhams into the first poker machine we saw and scored a free feature on our third spin. We watched in amazement as our machine lit up in all sorts of colours with flashing lights everywhere, not quite understanding exactly what was going on. With the help of the people next to us, we cashed in our winnings, which only equated to £20 – that’s one cocktail reimbursed for us!
Following on, we were able to nab last minute dinner reservations at the highly recommended restaurant, Al-Fassia. Among the great reviews I’d read about the restaurant were the big servings. I wasn’t sure whether this would apply to Adam and myself as we’re both big eaters. We all know how much I love my portion sizes! So rather than order dishes to share, we opted for starters and a main each. The starters went down very well – a variety of meat and vegie pastillas and I kid you not, a whole pot of authentic Morrocan soup. Loved it 🙂
By this point the Imodium had fully kicked in and I found myself feeling full. Just as the mains arrived, I was well and truly bloated. Lamb tagine for Adam, mixed grill couscous for myself…And the portions did not disappoint! Not wanting to let the delicious food go to waste, I had a good crack at it but didn’t even seem to be making a dent. I was just about to turn to Adam for help when I noticed he was sitting uncomfortably in his seat. It was then revealed that he too, secretly popped one too many Imodium pills on the side. So there we both were…bloated with half our mains left uneaten. That’s a rare sight for us! Walked out of the restaurant leaving half a bottle of wine behind and couldn’t stop thinking about what had just occurred. Defeated by Imodium!
Still feeling congested on the day of our departure, we boarded our flight back to London…. Highs, lows – Delhi belly and all – we had a great time. It wasn’t exactly the honeymoon I expected but if that was a snapshot of what being married is like then I think we’ve nailed it!
Till next time…Outskies!