African Sisters in Morocco Part II




Hello!

If you haven’t seen our blog on Morocco, you can click the link The Blue Pearl of Africa and African Sisters in Morocco

Selman Marrakech

We had a chillin’ pass which cost 60 pounds (A la carte lunch and Pool) booked at the 5 stars Selman Hotel, 15 minutes away from the city by taxi. We were blown away by the stunning architecture, the interiors and mosaics. We were warmly greeted and walked into the hotel, it was magical, unique, an Arabian dream of desert luxury.

We had the best lunch with an amazing view over an 80 metre long pool, the weather was beautiful enhanced by lush green grass and the most amazing blue skies. We wanted to relax and to treat ourselves to something special away from craziness of the city and we did, it was the best feeling of the day! 

Marjorelle Garden is definitely a must-see for anyone who appreciates fashion, art and nature. We absolutely love bold colours! We would advise you to visit in the early morning or evening to avoid crowds.

The garden was designed by French artist Jacques Majorelle, who bought the property in 1930’s and then spent 41 years turning it into a luxurious oasis. Years later, Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé discovered the gardens and purchased the property. They lived there, drawing inspiration from the garden retreat and adding new species of flowers and plants. When YSL passed away in 2008, his ashes were scattered at the Jardin Majorelle and a memorial was built there in his name.




















That’s a wrap for Morocco, we will be back!

 

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African Sisters in Morocco



Visiting Morocco has been a dream of ours for as long as we can remember. We’ve always wanted to explore Chefchaouen, Casablanca and Marrakesh. Five days in Morocco went by so fast… if you haven’t seen our blog on Chefchaouen, you can click the link “The Blue Pearl of Africa

We arrived in Casablanca via Marrakech for an 8 hour stopover. We thought we should visit the Hassan II Mosque first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds, so we went by taxi and thank heavens we did. We were absolutely blown away by the beautiful architecture. It’s the largest mosque in Morocco, the second largest in Africa and the fifth largest in the world. You simply can’t go to Morocco or Casablanca without visiting the Hassan II Mosque. If you want to see Casablanca on a short visit, we recommend having a stopover that will allow you to see the Hassan II Mosque as the interiors are absolutely heaven, but just remember that you will need to be dressed appropriately and respectfully, meaning shoulders and knees should be covered. You won’t regret the experience.










We were finally on the plane to Marrakech, which is a remarkable city, with its mixture of old and new and the charm of an exotic city, an experience you won’t be able to fully appreciate until you’ve been there for yourself.

We stayed at Riad WOW and it was gorgeous, a small hotel with lots of character which we loved, right in the middle of Medina. The room was beautiful and the Moroccan decoration was just stunning, it made us feel like we were Queen’s staying in a palace.

If you are looking for a truly authentic experience, rather than finding a modern hotel, you really must stay in a Riad, definitely something you must to do when travelling to Morocco.




Medina is the oldest part of the city and the true of heart of Marrakesh where you can experience the real Marrakech in all its glory, this includes the good and the bad. You will find yourself amidst chaotic streets just like a maze that sucks you in, especially with the motorbikes and bicycles passing by a little too close for comfort, so always keep an eye on what is happening around you!

You will be walking within a city full of amazing produce, from exotic fruits, spices, beautiful rugs, ceramics and accessories. The shops were everywhere. After all, the atmosphere was magical, but it’s as charming, as it’s chaotic and yes, you will be hassled a lot.

We loved getting a lost in Medina and getting lost is all part of the experience of visiting a new place. You have to be prepared for something very different from anything you’ve ever experienced before and it can be very intimidating asking for help. We were surprised that even asking for help with directions there was an expectation for money to be exchanged… so, just ignore them.

We also had a man who claimed to work for the hotel asking us to follow him to discover one of the best Argan oils in the market, even though our friends were a little more suspicious then we were, we bought it. We soon learnt that we should never have bought Argan oil in a plastic bottle because it’s not pure and plastic can cause contamination.

Don’t allow yourselves to be fooled, you really have to be very careful because some items are fake unfortunately. If you are looking to buy a real rug or Argan oil, please do some research beforehand.

If you need a bit of therapy, head to a hammam, sip on Moroccan mint tea and relax the night away.


This time, it’s all about the food that you cannot miss in Marrakech.

Limoni 

If you get tired of eating tagine and couscous non-stop then try out Limoni. This place serves up lovely Italian food and it was the first restaurant we went to once we arrived in Marrakech, with its beautiful courtyard garden with fresh scented lemon trees. A perfect little gem inside the city of Medina yet away from all the chaos. The food was heaven and “Pastilla” a traditional Moroccan dish was very tasty.

Cafe De Epices 

Located at the small square “Rabha Qdima” is a perfect place to chill and have a hearty meal at the Cafe de Epices, after exploring the souks in the middle of Medina for hours. You can choose to have your breakfast, lunch or dinner either on the terrace, inside on the first floor or on the rooftop. 

Atay

The view was amazing and the food was delicious too. We’d highly recommend Atay as it’s a lovely place to relax before you go back out and enjoy Marrakech again.

Le Jardin 

This restaurant was full of green, we felt like we were in a secret garden. The food was great with a mixture of traditional and European cuisine.







 















Stay tuned for Part Two.

Happy travelling x

 

 

 

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The Blue Pearl of Africa

 



If you’re looking for a unique spot, you will absolutely fall in love with this one.

Chefchaouen is known as the The Blue Pearl of Africa, it is a heavenly city in Northern Morocco situated in the Rif Mountains, just inland from Tangier and Tetouan.

Chefchaouen was established in 1471 in the Rif mountains by Jewish and Moors fleeing Spain. There’s a lot of different theories about why Chefchaouen is blue. Some say it was painted blue by the Jewish settlers after fleeing Hitler, others say it’s to keep the mosquitos away, while some just said it represents the colour of the sea or because it looks like the sky and reminds them to think of God.

We’ve always wanted to go Morocco but weren’t sure at first. We have seen plenty of photos from the city with blue walls on instagram and travel media. Firstly, it is very far from Tangier, we’ll tell you how to get there but you have to be prepared for that, don’t expect the luxury lifestyle.

Chefchaouen is full of surprises, as you know Africa is our home and this reminds us how Africa can still surprise us. It’s like stepping into a fairytale, blue everywhere like a dream and there is absolutely nothing else like it in the world. A very rare gem and this place reminds us of Santorini so much but different colour.






Things to do?


 The small city of Chefchaouen is well worth exploring for a day or two

It’s amazing vibe was very relaxed when wandering in Medina. The best way to explore the old city of Chefcaouen, is to get lost. Every corner you will find hidden gems shining with 50 shades of blue. There is no one street you need to see, you will see them all.

There are fewer tourists which is a bonus, you can take a lots of picture out there! If you fancy watching the sunset, Spanish Mosque is a must.

If you’re itching for hiking or a dip in the pool, hire a guide to take you to the beautiful surrounding countryside and visit Cascades d’Akchour ‘Waterfall’

This is a best place to shop in the street because its high quality, genuine and reasonable prices.









Where to eat?


The “Plaza” Uta el-Hammam, there are cafes and restaurants all around. This is a peaceful place to relax and try some delicious treats after a long day exploring. We had Tagine for 35 dirham, it is very very cheap and tastes amazing and authentic.

Chez Aziz – For a decent selection of pastries, make your way here. Pizzas and paninis are also delicious. You can get lovely smoothies and juices.

Cafe Restaurant Sofia and Beldi Bab Sour family run restaurant with typical Moroccan cuisine, quality and affordable.

We had a lovely drinks at the terrace of Hotel Parador, perfect place to view Chefchaouen.






Where to stay?


We had a wonderful stay at Puerta Azul, very traditional, beautiful hotel with kind hosts, breakfast is also included, we really enjoyed the Moroccan cuisine! Its easy enough to get to the main Medina of the city by foot from the hotel. If you really fancy having a spa, theres a hotel called Lina Ryad & Spa









How to get there?


Surprisingly the flight only takes 3 hours from Europe! But If you’re flying from London, there is no direct flight. So, we flew into Tangier via Casablanca, so to get to Chefchaouen from Tangier we took a taxi, please make sure you book in advance which took 2.5 hours and cost 360 MAD return.







Tips?


Morocco is a muslim country, it’s important to be respectful of their culture and dress appropriately.

Carrying cash is highly recommended as not many cash machines.

Make sure you bring your own toilet rolls everywhere, public toilets don’t provide.

Ignore the random people offering you a free guide or direction. Go to official tour guides.

 It’s really a place to chill out and enjoy being there! Taking in a wonderful culture and architecture.


 

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Happy Sunday!
Stay tuned for Casablanca x

 

 

 

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EasyFX Launches #WomenWhoTravel Campaign to Show Diversity of Women Travellers.


LONDON



When currency exchange service EasyFX  www.easyfx.com began work on its new website last year, they encountered an unexpected problem: they couldn’t find enough images of female travellers who represented the true diversity of what women who travel around the world really look like. They realised that, when it came to representing women of all colours, cultures, shapes and sizes, the travel industry was lagging sorely behind. 

In response, they are curating a database that shows the true diversity of what #WomenWhoTravel www.easyfx.com/womenwhotravel REALLY look like. We are proud to be a part of this campaign. Here’s why:

Travel is definitely more than a hobby because we see it as a lifestyle. Our challenge was to travel last year to share our experiences with the diversity community, who don’t travel much. Through our travel, we experience different cultures and people. We always try to learn from these differences. Our blog gives us the opportunity to widen our perspective. The more you see, the less you hate. Prejudice is a big part of the human condition and the more cultures you experience, the more you realise they are not that different from us.

Every women deserves to have a chance to see the world, just like us. And sometimes it’s easy to feel intimidated because there’s lack of diversity and representation in the travel industry. Who doesn’t have a dream to travel? We want to be role models. We aim to inspire diversity girls and women to see the world too. It’s okay to be yourself and look the way you do while you travel around the world!


ICELAND


 


LISBON



MYKONOS



SANTORINI



MALTA



COPENHAGEN


 


#WomenWhoTravel

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The Hygge Life – Copenhagen



Copenhagen is voted the happiest city in the world. Colourful townhouses, beautiful boats on the canals, Michelin-starred restaurants, cosy cafes and the freshest pastry’s ever! Although we’re not great fans of coffee. You are always cycling distance from castles, art galleries and museums. We love the hipster area Vesterbro, the chic fashion and design shops and the wonderful amusement park. The city feels airy with beautiful skies and sunshine even if it is FREEZING! An absolute must is a stylish pair of sunglasses as the sun is very low. The streets are spacious with gorgeous architecture old and new.

While Copenhagen has a reputation for being expensive there are ways that you can stay on budget while enjoying all the cool things the city has to offer.

We booked last minute for February because it’s low season, less tourists and more affordable accommodation but bear in mind it is so cold, bring good layers of clothes. We stayed with wonderful Airbnb at Puggaardsgade Kobenhavn (Copenhagen) and it’s very central. One thing that surprised us about Copenhagen was the fact that you can practically walk everywhere.

While wandering around Copenhagen, we spotted the Museum called Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, one of Scandinavia’s top art galleries. Its displays ancient and modern art in truly unique surroundings. The Winter Garden is a fabulous space, felt like we were in a jungle. Perfect space to chill, have a drink and dinner with your friends or lover. The price cost 95-110 DKK per adult, children are free and Tuesdays entrance is free. We stopped by Bar Burrito for late night taco heaven.

Tivoli Gardens is the second oldest amusement park in the world. Tivoli is a must-do for every visitor to Copenhagen, with or without children. The scenery typifies winter wonderland, It’s magical and vintage. The price cost 100KK just for walking around or 200KK unlimited rides.

Nyhavn is the famous harbour, the picture-perfect postcard area of Copenhagen – super touristy, but super pretty. Nyhavn is filled with people enjoying the relaxed atmosphere by the canal, jazz music and great food and admiring the colourful view.

Magstraede is the prettiest and oldest street, the townhouses have vibrant colours. You must take the time to walk down this little street. We spotted a wonderful atmospheric courtyard behind Restaurant Krebsegaarden, it’s definitely worth a visit. Grabodretorv 3 is one of the oldest squares in Copenhagen. A must see to past by or a stopover for food and drinks. Beautiful old houses surround the square. Around the old neighbourhood the street is vibrant and lively, crammed with shops and cafes.

Stroget is most famous for shopping. Overall it is a truly Instagram worthy spot. We stopped over Sonny cafe, cosy place with amazing Sonny big shot (warm turmeric, ginger, lemon, danish apple), coffee and a very tasty menu. Coffee Factory is the cute little bar where the coffee/tea is great and the brownies are heaven. Their interior is so chic and vintage. The atmosphere is hygge (cosy) and the location is pretty in central. We walked past by a hidden gem restaurant called Chao Viet Kitchen, What a great find. Excellent fresh Vietnamese cuisine and very reasonably priced.

If you’re into history or want to see how the Danish Royal family lives, Christiansborg Palace needs to be on your to-do list in Copenhagen. It also contains the Danish Parliament, Supreme Court and Ministry of State. Vesterbro is known as hipster, the Meatpacking District where cool people hang out for dinner, drinks and dancing with such a generous selection of bars and club. We had delicious sushi, walked to the best cocktail bar in Copenhagen, called 1656. It’s hidden but worth the effort. The bar itself is small, dark, and extremely hygge (cosy): everything is vintage. The staff are extremely sweet and recommended delicious cocktails.

Lastly, we were lucky to spot ‘The Wave’ at Ofelia Plads in the late evening, it is part of the frost festival every year. It has interactive triangles, which line up parallel behind each other. The triangular gates are glowing and making sounds. It’s magical to walk in the triangle, what a spectacular view. Lagkagehuset is one of the top cafes in the world, we had rye sandwiches, hot chocolate and Danish pastries to die for. We loved everything we tried.

We planned to visit Norrebero, it’s multicultural, vibrant and colourful. Paper island is a perfect place to visit for street food, hosts Copenhagen Street Food, a huge market hall full of stalls selling food of all kinds. Botanisk have ‘botanical garden’ for few hours to unwind in the middle of nature and to enjoy the views. Frederiks Kirke ‘The marble church’ is more richly decorated and impressive than Copenhagen’s Cathedral, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a leading international museum of modern art. Unfortunately, it was too cold to explore.

We recommend going in summer or spring, we would definitely visit again. The city would sparkle and the people are enjoying every minute off it, cuddling in parks, cosying up in cafés and bars and exploring the wonderful Copenhagen.



Photos by Nabih Kassam

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