Marrakech was originally supposed to be Barcelona. TheBloke (TM) and I had literally never been away from the children for more than a
So I asked him. And it turns out he didn’t want to go to Barcelona in March. So we talked about other
As it happens, we almost didn’t make it to Marrakech. I was struck down by a SHIT bug and was worried I was too ill to fly. As I was on the way to the doctor’s on the morning of our flight, Mrs Nunn – kindly depositing the children at school – fell down some steps and twisted her ankle. It wasn’t looking good. But, the surgery sent me away with antibiotics, and Mr and Mrs Nunn swore blind they were still good to babysit, so off to Marrakech we went.
I had forgotten how bloody easy air travel is when you’re not also taking the children. Shuttle bus takes ages to arrive? That’s OK, nobody is trying to run in the road. Want to get a snack at the airport? Great. Nobody needs a highchair and a ham sandwich, but not that sort of ham. Or that sort of bread. Flight delayed for a couple of hours? Fuck’s sake. Never mind. I’ll just read my book.
It is SO different.
We were picked up from the airport by a pissed-off looking man who said he’d been waiting two hours for our flight. I did feel a bit sorry for him. Less so when I realised it was only 20 minutes from the airport to the place we were staying, and why the buggery bollocks hadn’t he checked the plane was on time, but there we go.
We had booked a riad in Marrakech – finally using up some of the air miles I had accrued when I used to fly regularly for work. The irritating number of airmiles that seems amazing until you actually try to use them, and you’ve got enough for a return economy flight to Edinburgh, or to upgrade one person one way to South Africa (I’ll be honest, this was tempting the last time we went to SA, to leave TheBloke (TM) in economy with the children.)
Driving through the medina to our riad was an experience. The streets are incredibly narrow and windy, which doesn’t stop drivers from blind overtaking each other. Mopeds and motorcycles are everywhere. Nobody wears a helmet.
I tell a lie. I did see one man wearing a helmet on the motorway. “Good for him,” I thought to myself. Before realising the motorcyclist was literally texting as he drove.
The riad was stunning. As we arrived, we were treated to mint tea and some nibbles, before going for the meal we had booked, which – because we had arrived so much later than planned – was basically a 5-star, private-dining experience.
The exception was the breakfasts we had on the roof terrace at the riad. Chilly-ish in the morning at about 16 degrees, the sun slowly made its way up to the roof terrace, the shadows shortening and the temperature slowly climbing. As breakfast was at about 9.30, it was a perfect lazy start to each morning. We are normally rudely awakened by the children at about 7, and then forced to cater to their cereal-based demands almost immediately. Pancakes,
The thing you’re supposed to do in the medina is get lost. The souks are vast and sprawling and narrow and
That’s not to say the souks weren’t an experience though. Streets barely wide enough for three pedestrians to stand abreast were frequented by mopeds, cars and even donkeys and carts. I found the constant threat of being run over quite stressful.
It’s definitely not a place to bring children. That’s not to say we didn’t see some brave souls who attempted it, but trying to get the children to stay in a straight line, not get run over, not talk to the man who wants his monkey to stand on you (and then charge you for a photo), not to poke the snake with the snake charmer, not to touch those china plates, put that down, don’t touch that stray cat (to be fair, I had to say that to TheBloke (TM) too on several occasions), would have been very stressful.
For the rest of the time… we enjoyed the sunshine – it was an average of about 26 degrees whilst we were there, which was perfect. We visited gardens (but not the famous
Most things in Marrakech are affordable – although you need to haggle.
We Skyped the children each day. We missed them just the right amount, knowing they were safe and happy with Grandma and Grandad. It occurred to me that from a technology perspective, even 5 years ago, I would have been much less happy about leaving them, relying mostly on text updates probably. Whereas now, anywhere with WiFi can let us have a conversation and I can see they are absolutely fine.
We returned from our long weekend happy, chilled out, amazed that we’d actually managed a few conversations with each other that reached a natural conclusion rather than being interrupted by the vitally urgent need to enquire which Paw Patrol character was our second favourite.
Marrakech is mental. Don’t take your children. Don’t hire any type of car/bike (you will die). It is also brilliant. The weather is fantastic and it’s got a really cool vibe about it. It is a beautiful city to look at. Go. Don’t take your kids. Go.