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    My 4 Day in Marrakech, Morocoo Itinerary

    Having had a busy start to the new year, with a new job, moving house and some personal changes I was in need of a relaxing/exploring break. Myself and my friend Sophie spend most nights looking at holidays and planning random adventures, and this was one of them.
    Booked it. Packed it. Fucked off.
    Our hotel was around a 45 minute drive from the airport, that’s without the 2 stops we did at other hotels. I will say that drivers in Morocco are ruthless. We were in the car for around 5/10 minutes when a car nearly went into the side of us at great speed. Our driver got very angry and was shouting at the driver of the other car in Arabic, so we didn’t know what was being said but we could just see the driver shrugging his shoulders. After it had calmed down, our driver told us that they were the police and did not give a care in the world that what they had done was wrong.
    DID YOU KNOW?
    Marrakech is split into two distinct parts: the old city, or medina and the modern city of which Gueliz is the heart of and offers an alternative vibe to the traditional, relaxed old medina atmosphere. Best for modern high street shops, cafes and bars.
    Here’s my 4 day relax/explore itinery of Marrakech, Morocco.
    DAY 1
    As we arrived in the night, we was not able to see our surroundings. So in the morning we had a pleasant surprise when we awoke to large balcony doors with our own outside seating areas and surrounded by palm trees and beautiful flowers. To me, it was the definition of paradise.
    The first day was chill by the pool day and soak up some rays. Food was an all you can eat buffet, which included hot & cold food, drinks and desserts. Breakfast was served from 6 – 11:30, then there were snacks available before lunch and then lunch was at 14:00, and then dinner was served from 19:00 and to be honest it was lovely. Although every meal had peppers in it in some sort of way (which I am not complaining about, peppers are life) it was really, really good and very filling. 
    The pool area, included a bar which had unlimited alcohol (be careful in the heat) and multiple water slides and every day the hotel staff would do different pool activities and work outs.
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    DAY 2
    On the second day we booked an excursion within the hotel which cost around 375 MAD (Moroccon Dirham) which is around 30GBP go see the waterfall called Ouzoud which is about 150km Northeast of Marrakech. This was one the sites we wanted to see and was really excited.  I’m not going to lie, if I had known the coach journey would be 3 hours there and 3 hours back I probably would of given it some thought as it was 33 degrees outside and the bus had really bad air con. BUT, the coach journey took you through Marrakesh and showed us parts that we would not have seen if we hadn’t of gone and parts they don’t show you in the travel guides, and it really was breath taking. The poverty and the way people live their lives was just mesmerising and very sad. (I also saw some goats chilling in a tree and it made the journey).
    When we arrived, we had 5/6 hours to roam around the village and down to the waterfalls before we had to head back. Walking down the mountain side, through a little village with loads of the little stalls was beautiful and you kept getting glimpses of the waterfall through the trees.
    I do have to mention there were several animals being used for entertainment purposes and it wasn’t nice. As cute as the Monkey, Donkey and Horse were, they all looked exhausted and dehydrated. The young boy that was looking after the horse wanted to charge us for just making sure if was ok.
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

     The excursion included lunch, half way down the mountain was a restaurant that looked directly onto the waterfall, so every now and then you would get a little spray of the water, which is perfect as it was around 33 degrees. The food was amazing, we had starters of bread, dips and some olives.
    For my main I had a chicken kebab which came with the tastiest fries. The others had a Vegetable Tagine (which I wish I had got). The service was great and the food was amazing, they also gave us free large bottles of water. After food, we headed down to the bottom of the mountain/waterfall to see the plunge pool. There were boat rides to that took you into the plunge pool but as it is quite a tourist attraction is was very busy, and the wait was very long.
    If you don’t like hiking in very high heat, I wouldn’t recommend walking right down to the bottom as of course you have to walk back up. By the time we got to the top, I was the sweatiest mess. Also there are no toilets. Just a little hut, covered in creepy crawlies and no light, YUP.

    DAY 3
    On the third day we went into the centre of Marrakech and got lost in the Souks. There was an excursion within the hotel but it cost around 325 MAD which exchanges to around 26GBP but our hotel also ran a free shuttle bus that took you into the centre of town that ran around 5 times a day and back. So we decided to take the shuttle bus and find our own way around.
    The bus dropped us off into the town centre which was around a 15 minute walk from Jamaa El Fna Square which is where Koutoubia Mosque is located (the famous tower that you see on any travel guide) and then the Souks are a 5 minute walk away.
    Before going to Marrakech, I read a lot of blog posts about how women should dress and how to respect their religion and heard about many incidents where women had been harassed and spat on in the streets for the clothing they were wearing so I was a bit anxious on the way there. I wore a knee length dress, put a scarf around my shoulders (IT WAS SO HOT, HOW DO WOMEN COPE IN THAT HEAT) and some sandals and the girls wore similar things but when we were there,  there were many women out there that had very little on. Personally I wanted to respect their religion and beliefs and cover myself up so I kept the scarf on.
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo ItineryMarrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo ItineryMarrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery
    Marrakech, Morocoo Itinery

    As the square is the most popular tourist destination, it is very busy so be prepared to be hounded with people selling trinkets and wanted you to get henna tattoos. There are also the snake charmers. Oh the snake charmers. I am one of those people that prefer animals to humans, so when I see an animal’s getting treated badly I just want to punch the human straight in the face. These snakes were thrown around, kicked and shoved into bags. As I have never been that close to a snake of that nature before, it was very surreal. But it was also very sad. Again, there were monkeys that just looked starving, dehydrated and just very unhappy.
    Once you get through the hustle and bustle of the main square you can enter the Souks in many different locations, so just remember where as you will probably get lost. Imagine entering a mirror maze and not taking notes/leaving a trail of where you’ve been well the Souks was like that. I read beforehand that the ‘exit’ signs are all wrong because they want you to keep walking past their stalls and make you buy things. But us, being the goody goodies that we are, we took a route that we would remember but even then we got lost and ended up in the back end of the Souks where all the making of some of the goods are sold, it was very dark and dingey and having it just being us 3 girls, very unsafe.

    Walking through the Souks, we were hounded by some of the gentleman on the stalls making crude comments but I guess you just have to ignore that and stick together.

    Once we were done, we got a taxi back to the centre, where there was a shopping centre and resturants and had a wander around until the shuttle bus would come and collect us.

    DAY 4

    This was our last day in Marrakech, so as the previous 2 days were very busy we decided to have another pool day and get in some tanning time and take full advantage of the all inclusive and free alcohol. This was the day that I burnt, and I am still rocking some questionable tan lines.

    8 POINTERS IF YOU ARE GOING TO TRAVEL TO MARRAKECH, MOROCCO.

    1 – Complete the embarkation card they give you on the plane and complete the form when returning from Marrakech before going through security.
    2 – Water. Make sure you buy big bottles of water.
    3 – In the souks they will try and make you pay for everything. Even taking photos of the ground.
    4 – Money. You can’t exchange your money beforehand, make sure you let your bank know that you will be using your card overseas to exchange money.
    5 – Wasps. Everywhere.
    6 – Be respectful of religion.
    7 – Wear your seatbelt.
    8 – Don’t take it to heart. If you go to the Souks expect to get harassed and have rude comments thrown your way.

     

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    Book Club // Dark Places, Gillian Flynn


    “I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.”

    ★★★

    DarkPlaces is an unsettling but slow book. Libby Day, is the main character and her
    family was butchered when she was just 8 years old and she survived. But why?
    Did her brother Ben Day actually do it? 

    Libby
    is very open about her dark side and the way she has dealt with her past. When
    I read books, I like to connect to a character, but with this one I didn’t
    connect to any and even though I loathed Libby for the way she used her tragedy
    as an advantage in life, I did end up feeling sorry for her through out.

    Not
    giving any spoilers, this
    book was very unsettling and did live up to its title. But I feel it was very
    slow and I understand the reason it was slow but for me, I found myself
    skipping pages as I just thought they were unnecessary. I had this ending
    in head, that Libby was in fact the killer and Ben was covering up for her.
    Which would be have been a huge curve ball and I was a little dissapointed when I
    was wrong haha.

    All in all, if you’re a fan of
    a dark story that makes you feel a little uneasy then I would recommend. I have another book by Gillian that is on my shelf waiting to be read, Sharp Objects. Watch this space.
     

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    10 things to do in Amsterdam under €10

    1. Kitten Café Kattencafe Kopjes Amsterdam

    Kitten cafe is situated around a 25/30 minute walk from Vondelpark. You are 100% guaranteed to have some kitty action from the 8 rescue cats and you can also order a ‘cattuccino’.
    €3 for 2 hours (all proceedings go to the cats food and wellbeing).

    photo from here
    2. Cheese tasting

    Ok, so by cheese tasting I mean, walking around the beautiful streets and going into the many cheese shops that you pass and just taking a few samples. All of the shops have lots and lots of cheese samples and although most of them have the same you do come across a few different ones.

    FREE

    photo from here
    3. Electric ladyland

    The only museum of it’s kind in the world, the first ever museum of florescent art. Go and experience ‘participatory art’, you won’t be disappointed.

    €5 (including 15 page booklet, children under 12 go free)

    photo from here


    4.  Ice skating

    Ice skating in Amsterdamon the canals is super romantic and very special as it doesn’t happen every year (depending on the weather) but fortunately there are 2 locations where you can 100% ice skate. The first and biggest is Jaap Eden and the other and most common is ICE*Amsterdam which is situation right opposite the IAMSTERDAM sign.

    €2.50 – €10


    5. Hang out on top of NEMO (science museum)

    The roof the Science Museum NEMO is the highest city square in the Netherlands. Although I went in the winter and it was slightly cold but the views were incredible and we stayed there so we could catch the sunset which for me, was the highlight of my trip. In the summer they have open air exhibitions and all year round there is a café which some impressive water features. When I return in the summer, this is first on my list to re visit. 

    FREE

     

    6. Rent a bike

    When wandering the streets of Amsterdam, and noticing how many bikes and cyclists there are roaming the city it can get very daunting and make you not want to rent one but take the plunge and do it. Make sure you following the instructions the vendor may have given you and always lock your bike up properly. There are plenty of rental shops around, you wont have trouble finding them.

    €7 for 1 hour / €10 for 2 hours

     


    7. Sex museum

     Although the Sex Museum isn’t what I was expecting it to be (although I have no idea what I was expecting) its still worth the visit to see the funny and quirky things if you’re not prudish. And with it only being a couple of minutes walk from the train station its hard to say no.

    €5
     



    8. Ride the ferry


    If you want a slightly different view of the city then you are in luck as there are free ferry’s. The ferry is situated behind the back of the train station on the River IJ (pronounced EYE) and it will take you to Noord (North). You can just walk on (bikes and scooters are also allowed) and take in all the sights. There are 2 different ferries. One take you to Buiksloterweg (short ferry) which runs every 10 minutes, the other takes you to NDSM (long ferry) and runs every 30 minutes.
    FREE
     


    9. Glow in the dark golf

    After seeing this on a travel blog, I knew this is something we had to do. It sounds really lame but for the price its definitely worth it. So when you go into the building is just looks like a normal restaurant/bar but downstairs is transformed into a 3D glow in the dark paradise. As soon as you put on the glasses everything looks completely different, even the Golf Clubs. A bit of advice, as its 3D trying to hit the ball of a darker surface is harder than is looks. Just be aware that because we were a group of 8, we had to split into 2 teams.

    €8.50

     

    10. Amsterdam light festival – Boat Ride

    As it was a birthday in the group whilst we were out in The Netherlands, this was booked as a surprise for one the nights. I know this only runs at a certain time within the year which is November 30th – January 21st But for the price was €9.50 each and we were on the boat for at least an hour. Architects, artists and designers from all over the world bring their light artworks and installations alive every year. Even if you weren’t too bothered about seeing these fantastic installations the boat ride is perfect for sight seeing and travelling around the canals. We went when the sun had just set, so it was dark but not too dark and it was amazing. By the time to tour had ended it was very dark and the installations looked amazing.

    From €3.50

     

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    Book Club // The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

    Author – Karen Thompson Walker
    Title – The Age of Miracles
    ★★★★★
     “I guess it never is what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophes are always different—unimagined, unprepared for, unknown.” 
    The Age of Miracles is narrated by a girl named
    Julie in her twenties about a time in her life when she was just 11 years old,
    and they called that time ‘The Slowing’.
    I
    loved how this book started with it being a natural reality and
    then it turning into an apocalyptic world. Karen Thompson
    Walker has written this book so beautifully well that on several
    occasions I woke up from dreams about ‘The Slowing’ happening in my
    reality and sometimes I would have to stop reading to make sure time was
    ticking away in the seconds that we are so used to.
    I
    would 100% recommend this book to anyone and especially if you like
    reading books where you can connect to the characters in more ways than one.
    I
    bought this book at The Works which came in a book set of 4 for £5 as it
    included ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ in a cover which I didn’t have and
    didn’t think the rest were going to be all that. I do love it when books surprise
    me.
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    Travel // Brecon Beacons, Four Falls Trail

     
    Last weekend me and a few friends spontaneously took a trip to Brecon Beacons, although our original plan was to climb Pen Y Fan, but the visibility up there would be 0%.
    This series of Waterfalls can be found in Fforest Fawr, which is situated in Brecon Beacons National Park. To start, if your not a local then travelling by car would be the easiest option. There are 2 main spots to start this hike, also car parks situation around the National Park that will all link up to the route. The car parks do charge £4 and will only take coins, so don’t forget to take some change!

    The car park at Cwm Porth is near a pub, so great if you would like to stop for a pub lunch or just to have a sit down. If you would like a short hike on a flat trail, you are best parking at the Angel Inn, in Pontneathvaughan. If the weather is bad, wear appropriate footwear/clothing and I want to say wear warm clothing, but I did and I was sweating buckets by the end of it.
    The rocky and muddy trails run along four small rivers, The Mellte, Hepste, Pyrddin, and Neath Fechan. All four rivers cascade into a series of Beautiful Waterfalls. To access these waterfalls some of the trail is quite steep and semi dangerous, so for anyone who is afraid of heights stay as close to the rock face (and don’t look down). Although there is a path, and if your like me and a bit of an adrenaline junkie then you don’t have to stick to the path.
     

    Depending on what time of year you go and visit these amazing waterfalls, you can walk behind the Sgwd yr Eira Waterfall in the Summer when the flow is low. You can do this in the Winter but you will get wet and it can get a bit slippery, so be careful!
     
    We set off on foot around 14:00/14:30 and we are in the middle of winter so our sun sets around 16:30 so at the end of the day we were walking back along a muddy and rockly trail in the dark which was a little dangerous but we made it before it was completely dark, obviously think about the time you go and the time the sun sets.
    Having grown up travelling to Brecon Beacons very often, I knew this versatile hike was going to be beautiful, and it did not disapoint. The trails are also so versatile that if you wanted to do a quick hike, you can. If you wanted to make it a 7 hour day hike, then you can.
    Amy x

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    Travel // 10 Things You Need To Know About Amsterdam Before You Go.

      

    1. Plan & Pre Book
    There are so many different things to do in Amsterdam that it can get a bit overwhelming if you are only there for a few days. As the tourism in the city is quite high, you are going to expect to queue for different attractions. If you are planning on visiting places such as Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and Rijksmuseum Museum then book in advance. You can pre book online which means you will skip all those nasty queues. The iamamsterdam.com website is a great place for tips on what/where/how on all things Amsterdam and you can also book the tickets through to website. There is also something called I Amsterdam City Card which gives you free unlimited travel on public transport for the duration of your stay, a free canal cruise, free city map and free entry to all the major and best attractions. For a full list of attractions and prices of the card to match the duration of your stay please check it out here.

    2. Bikes over Cars
    As soon as you step into central Amsterdam you will notice that cars are over run by bicycles. They are everywhere you look, and that includes cycle lanes. If there is one major thing that I have learnt is that you do not walk in the cycle lane. People get very angsty and understandably, I get why. One of the best things to do in Amsterdam is too rent a bike and get lost in the canals.

    3. Cheese
    Amsterdam is the city of cheese, and for me that literally is the best thing. Amsterdam produces and exports millions of tons of Dutch cheese each year. 
    Gouda is Holland best loved cheese. If are a cheese lover like myself, taking a trip to the Cheese Museum will be perfect for you. There are many shops and taster rooms around the centre of Amsterdam that will fix your cheese cravings such as Henri Willig Cheese and More, Golden Age Cheese Store, and Reypenaer Tasting Room.

    4. Dutch
    Travelling to another country can be daunting when your first language isn’t spoken but in Amsterdam, English is spoken everywhere. For me when travelling to another country, learning little phrases in another language is fun and I just like practising the phrases on the locals.

    5. Canals
    Amsterdam has more canals and bridges than Venice, 165 canals and 1281 bridges to be exact. Strolling over the bridges at night with all the pretty light is just perfect.

    6. Pick pocketers
    As
    the same with any other destination, Amsterdam does have its fair share
    of pick pocketers, make sure you’re bags are secure and with you at all
    times.

    7. Sex, Drugs & Prostitution
    Before I went to Amsterdam the most famous and intriguing thing for me was the Red Light District. From brothels to sex shows, everything you probably heard about this neighbourhood is true and I would definitely recommend checking it out for yourselves.
    One thing to remember when visiting the RLD is photographing the female entertainers is strictly banned.

    8. Coffee Shops & Cafes
    Although to me a Coffee shop and a cafe is the same thing here in Wales, in Amsterdam they are completely different. If you want to to smoke some legal marijuana or eat some delicious space cakes then you want to go to a coffee shop. There are many around, I would recommend staying away from the chain shops and the ones in the built up tourist spots as they can get very busy and they over charge you. There are some great ones, such as BasJoe, Green House, and also Prix D’ami.  

    9. Cash
    Majority of places in Amsterdam don’t accept cards, so cash must be carried around with at all times. The currency in Amsterdam is Euros and there are many places where you can exchange your local currency. 

    10. Alcohol
    Drinking alcohol whilst standing on the streets of Amsterdam is illegal. If you want to stand a drink, you will have to be inside a pub/cafe. If you would like to smoke whilst in the pub/cafe you will have to go outside, but remember don’t take our glass if you have alcohol in it.

    I hope everyone enjoys this post about the things I learnt the first time I visited Holland and will not forget when I return.

    My next trip to Amsterdam is in 3 days time, and I have planned a lot more things to do this time so watch this space.

    Amy x  

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    2017 Travel Wishlist

    Every year I make resolutions to travel more, do more and just generally live life a little more. Although 2016 was  great year for me with travelling. I travelled to a lot of places and even conquered travelling on an aeroplane, alone. I want 2017 to be bigger and better and to sure all my adventures and life on my blog. So that’s the plan.

    Instead of making any specific goals, I have made a travel wish list for this new year. Although most are doable, some on there are just dreams but I want them to there to give me the inspiration that I need.

    U.K
    Brighton


    London

    Bristol

    EUROPE

    Amsterdam

    Budapest

    LONG HAUL


    Las Vegas



    Maldives

    Amy x


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