Marrakech, Morocco x December 2017: Day One

It is 00:59 as I am typing this and my friends and I are on a midnight coach that is going to take us back home.

For some reason, I could not sleep. I did not get even just a power nap on the three-hour flight earlier from Marrakech Menara Airport to London Luton – which is why I have decided to just start on this travel entry. As promised to a few friends.

Five days ago, my friends and I escaped the harsh British weather (that is just getting meaner by the minute, by the way) and basked under the warmth of the Moroccan sun (man, I just feel so giddy saying that I’ve been to Morocco already!!!).

It was a trip that we had in mind for a couple of months to celebrate two of our birthdays. Also, it was a trip that, for a number of times, we were not too sure if it will push through – there were concerns about Visa requirements, passport expiry, and budget.

For the record, Philippine passport holders do not require Visa to enter Morocco. We had to contact our airline and their consulate to make sure of this.

As soon as that was sorted, we booked our tickets with Ryanair, our BnB, and our coach tickets for a four-hour trip from home to London Luton. As it was the first time for majority of us to be outside the United Kingdom (since we got here), we were also advised to get single travel insurances for the trip – which we did, at Sainsbury’s (£10-ish).

On the day of the trip, we hopped on an early morning coach to give us enough time to check in our luggage for our 1505 flight at London Luton. Thankfully, everything went smoothly – from the security check to boarding.

On the plane, my designated seat was right in the emergency exit lane while the rest of my friends were seated in the front rows. Maybe it was just my anxiety kicking in but, for the duration of the trip, it seemed like too much was going on. The plane engine was too loud and passengers kept on standing and swapping seats.

Four hours later, we arrived at Marrakech Menara Airport! Much to my relief, nothing happened during the flight as opposed to what I kept on imagining (teehee).

I have to say we were at awe at the design of the airport. On our last day, we were told by our hired driver/tour guide that part of this airport is “old”. Honestly, I cannot see what he was talking about as none of it looked old to me.

*Our BnB host arranged for us to be picked up by a local driver. As soon as we got on his van, we tried to find out if he we could hire him for transport for the next few days as we did not know how to go around and we did not want to be ripped off by taxi drivers.

We were brought to our Bnb… which again, much to my relief, did not disappoint. Since our first trip to Belfast, I had gotten used to be the one to take on the task of finding suitable accomodations for us. Trust me, I would rather find us homes than take charge of the budget or the itinerary.

Our Bnb was located inside a compound of some sorts. From the moment we got inside the bab (“gate”), we knew we would not have problems with our safety (+++) as they checked each of our passports and gave us cards which we presumed will be our IDs for the duration of our stay.

Our place was a three-storey house (with a rooftop terrace) with an open ceiling. It was well-kept just like how we saw it in the app and well-lit and very comfortable. There was a tiny problem with the heating system (so we had to make do with sharing one bathroom) and the Wifi was not as fast as how we were used to but the rest of the place made up for that.

Since it was already late when we arrived, we thought it best just to have a quick dinner by one of the cafes located inside the compound. There were stores there as well from where we got our supplies of canned goods, eggs, and water for the next days.

First order of business: pastries from Aldi (lol just kidding). Moroccan patisserie (10dh).

Tip (from an amateur, I might add): it is best to download the offline versions of Google Translate and Google Maps when visiting cities such as this one. The former will do you good especially when looking through the menus of restaurants/cafes. It did us well especially because most of the locals speak very limited (or no) English.

After dinner, we headed back to our Bnb as we had to be picked up by our driver (yep, the same driver who agreed to be our ‘tour guide’ as well) to see the rest of the city at 0900 the next day.