Tag Archives: morocco

Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ April.

Hello there, I am joining in with Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt once again. This month I have had to rummage round in the archives for my pictures. Feeling like a Time Traveller!

Rock. Back when Hugo was a pup we took him on holiday to Baycliff in Cumbria. Our holiday cottage was right on the beach so everyday was spent taking walks along the sands. In his puppy days Hugo didn’t like water very much. Here he is 5 months old and marooned on a rock. Bless him. πŸ˜™

Swirl. I spent a little while looking for swirls and whirls and ended up settleing for this bright display of swirly plates I saw in Essaoirra in Morocco some years ago. Also tagines make purrfect cat beds. Obviously.

Wood. I don’t go to many art exhibitions but a hanging display in the woodland of Grizedale Forest back in 2009 was a really effective gallery, I thought.

Balance. 2009 was also the year we went to the South of France…and found ourselves in Cannes, when its famed film festival was showing. Pictured is a rather dapper mime, balancing two white ( and very real) cats in his arms. Very bizarre.

Letter. In those days Brangelina was still a thing and this banner is a love letter to Brad Pitt and his then wife Angelina Jolie. The crowds were waiting for the star couple to tread the red carpet. Brad’s film ‘Inglorious’ was showing at the festival. We waited too…but alas not long enough! Our friends who we were holidaying with ,had an understandably cranky 18 month old with them. Brangelina were fashionably late of course and babies and international film events don’t really mix. C’est la vie.

My own choice. To show we were really there, early morning at the 62nd Festival De Cannes.

See what the other scavenger hunters have found over on kates blog.

Five destinations I would love to return to…

I’ve seen this post idea on various blogs, most recently on the excellent Darwin On The Rocks and around the World. and I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the places I would love to revisit. It was hard narrowing it down so I have decided to choose from holidays abroad and all are destinations I would hop on a plane and fly to right this minute if I could.:)

Blue fishing boats in Essaouira.
Blue fishing boats in Essaouira.

Essaouira ~ Morocco.. I have visited Morocco twice and loved the vibrant bustling souks of Marrakech and the long sandy beaches of Agadir. I must admit my favourite place though is less than three hours drive from both of these more better known resorts. The beautiful and windswept coastal town of Essaouira is an ancient fishing port with fortified walls and whitewashed buildings. It has a laid back vibe and I remember the fresh sea breeze ( which is present at all times!) was a welcome respite from the stifling heat inland. The same breeziness means it is a popular base for beach sports such as wind surfing and kite surfing. Its an aspiring photographers dream too of course. Look at those gorgeous blue fishing boats! Seafood, Souks, Sun, Sea and Sand. When we stayed in Essaouira we made our own way from Marrakech on a packed locals bus complete with whole families, chickens and paper fans.;) Easyjet have just started flying twice weekly from Luton Airport. Fancy it?

Moroccan Moggies.
Moroccan Moggies.

Cannes and the French Riviera. The recent Cannes Film Festival made me hanker for that touch of class that is the French Riviera. Quite a few years ago now we found ourselves in the crowds waiting for a certain ‘Brad & Angelina’ to grace the red carpet for the world premier of the film ‘Inglorious’. To cut a long story short we never got to see them. Sob! If only we had waited around that little bit longer. I think Angelina must have been busy getting airbrushed or something. That aside I would love to return to this part of France again. Just wandering round at Festival time was so amazing and glamourous but the area has so much more to offer. Other memorable moments of our holiday included a crossing with two nuns in a little boat from Cannes to the picturesque island of Ile Saint-Honorat and a wander round the ancient mountain village of Eze and its exotic cactus gardens with exceptional views. Can I go back now!

Here we are early morning at the 62nd festival!
Here we are early morning at the 62nd festival!
Cactus garden in Eze.
Cactus garden in Eze.
Inside the Reichstaag.
Inside the Reichstaag.

Berlin. There is never a more fascinating city than Germanys capital. Nine years ago now, Wil and I experienced a city break in Berlin. Its history is so powerful and engulfing that you can’t help but be moved by it. Remnants of the Berlin Wall still exist. Bullet holes in old elegant buildings date back to the second world war. We visited the topography of terror, the holocaust memorial and the Checkpoint Charlie museum for an insight into the lives of everyday people caught up in gigantic events. And we ate out lots……sourkraut with everything. Think thats the national dish! Despite this I would love to go back one day. πŸ˜‰

A part of the Berlin Wall.
A part of the Berlin Wall.

British Columbia ~ Canada. I have been fortunate enough to visit BC in Canada twice. Luckily for me one of my old school friends lives in the scenic ski resort town of Fernie in the Canadian Rockies. Vast amounts of snow are dumped on the mountains every winter making it a powdery paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. But I would love to relive our fantastic road trip to Vancouver Island if thats possible please? Or get stuck in a bear jam. Or spy a mountain lion ambling into the forest. Or watch whales in the Pacific rim national park….. πŸ™‚

Kayaking, Island lake lodge resort, Fernie.
Kayaking, Island lake lodge resort, Fernie.
Larking about Crystal Cove, Tofino, Vancouver Island.
Larking about Crystal Cove, Tofino, Vancouver Island.

Iceland. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to go to Iceland. And in October last year I finally got to realise my dream when Wil and I stayed for three nights in Reykjavik. Highlights of our trip included the Golden Circle tour where we got to visit the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall and the gushing Strokkur Geysir. We also had a memorable dip in the iconic Blue Lagoon. πŸ™‚

Bathing in the Blue Lagoon.
Bathing in the Blue Lagoon.
Reykjavik Rooftops.
Reykjavik Rooftops.

Although I never got to see the Northern Lights ( it was too cloudy) this is not the reason I would like to return to this beautiful country. I would also like to explore more of the island and as I’m a bit of a nature lover Summer seems the perfect season for a revisit. Well one summer, one day eh!

What would be your favourite destinations to return to? I would love to know! X

Passport Tales.

Well Dear Passport, its time to trade you in for a shiny new one. Its ten years since I went to the post office and battled with the photo booth for a semi decent passport pic. Ten years since I treated myself to a lime green soft leather passport holder adorned with cities of the world I hoped to visit. I know it will be ten years in August this year because ten years ago in August 2004 I was one of those silly people who found out their then passport was out of date………..at the airport!  Oh the horror, the shame!  I was there in the queaue with three of my best  friends ( we had organized a girls week away in sunny Turkey)  and I was pulled away to one side and gently told I couldn’t board the plane, my passport was out of date by nearly a year. A whole year! 😦  I pleaded it must be a mistake ~ I had only got the offending item six years earlier when I had changed my surname.  It turned out I had presumed when they had updated my name they had automatically given me a full ten years on my new passport. They hadn’t. They had only given me the time I had left on my old one. Off course I should have checked. I should have double checked! My friends jetted off to Bodrum and I made the tearful journey by taxi from Manchester Airport  back to Costa del Clitheroe. The ground could have swallowed me up whole.:(((

image

Of course since then I have always been extra vigilent with my passport date checking. My non holiday adventure became the cautionary tale everyone I knew  checked their passports by.  I got a nice new passport in a nice new passport holder and I’ve  even  actually managed to get further than the airport on several occasions. Thank goodness!

Although I have not managed to visit most of the destinations on the cover, In the last ten years I have seen the Berlin Wall, visited the ruins of Pompei, holidayed in Spain with the girls, star spotted in Cannes, covered my ears at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, whale watched in Canada, stayed in a riad in Marakeche and admired ‘The Scream’ in Oslo. Think I’ve made up for my ‘non holiday’ a little bit…

Inside the Reichstag, Berlin.
Inside the Reichstag, Berlin.
Giant Transformer 'Bumblebee' in Cannes.
Giant Transformer ‘Bumblebee’ in Cannes.
Icecream in Amalfi, Italy
Icecream in Amalfi, Italy
Enjoying the sunset, Vancouver Island, Canada
Enjoying the sunset, Vancouver Island, Canada
Beautiful Essaouira, Morocco.
Beautiful Essaouira, Morocco.
Tropical gardens, Eze, South of France.
Tropical gardens, Eze, South of France.

So now I had better get my new passport sorted. We have just recently booked a much anticipated ( By Me!) short break in Iceland for October and we are hoping to go to France this summer. I still haven’t got round to booking anything to Turkey yet though……….

Have you ever had any passport disasters? Just so I know i’m not the only one out there. πŸ˜‰

Atlantic Coastal Agadir.

I have been lucky enough to visit and fall in love with the African country of Morocco twice. A few years ago we visited exotic Marrakesh and exquisite Essaouira which you can read about in a previous post. And only last week we were sunning ourselves in the Atlantic coastal resort of Agadir. It seems like forever ago now though.

We decided on Agadir as we genuinely just wanted to get away from it all and relax. Though its in an African country the city is just short of four hours away on the plane and there’s only an hours time difference. The main languages spoken are Arabic and French.

Sand horse sculpture on the beach.
Sand horse sculpture on the beach.

As soon as you come into Agadir you will notice it nestles under a hill top which has the Arabic words for God, King and Country inscribed into the hillside. This is because Agadir itself is a new city built in the sixties. The original settlement was completely destroyed in an earthquake in 1960, killing 15000 people and leaving 50,000 homeless. The new city was built as a resort around the sandy bay and the king offered cash incentives to settle there. The words in the hillside are lit up at night to remind the people of their homes history.

God, King and Country written in Arabic on the hillside.
God, King and Country written in Arabic on the hillside.

Although Agadir is relatively new it still has its charms as a holiday destination. The long wide sandy beach goes on for miles as does the adjacent palm tree lined promenade. The sea breeze here keeps you cool in the otherwise thirty plus temps. The Atlantic sea can be rough for swimmers and amazing for surfers. Every morning the locals are out jogging and keeping fit. You can hire bikes and cycle to the marina, indulge in a mint tea and cycle back along the promenade. πŸ™‚

The Marina.
The Marina.

I must say we totally cheated with our accommodation in Morocco this year. We decided to go all inclusive, which I had never done before and I must say before going I did have my reservations. All was well though and we really enjoyed our time in the RIU Tikida Dunas hotel. I don’t have anything to compare it to, having had no previous all inclusive experience but it seemed to tick all the boxes. A spacious ground floor room with a sun terrace and sea views, several palm tree fringed pools and four different buffet style restaurants. There were activities and entertainment but I was far to lazy to get involved. However if you should ever visit any of the more historical and cultural Moroccan cities I would recommend staying in traditional town house called a riad which will give your trip a real authentic flavour.

Our hotel grounds.
Our hotel grounds.
there were magpies everywhere! This one I took upside down from my sun lounger.
there were magpies everywhere! This one I took upside down from my sun lounger.
Mint tea.
Mint tea.

There are souks in Agadir but we decided to go on a half day excursion to the walled Berber city of Taroudannt instead.On the way we drove through Argan tree country where we came across twisted trees full of goats ! Apparently they love the fruits which are used to make cooking oil and cosmetics. Berber people believe Argan oil keeps them healthy well into their old age. It certainly keeps the goats nimble!

Goats in the argan trees.
Goats in the argan trees.

Taroudannts impressive sand coloured stone fortifications still remain intact and inside dusty squares and shady souks invite you to wander and explore.

Olives.
Olives.

Spices.
Spices.
I will work off all those tagines !
I will work off all those tagines !
Babouches.
Babouches.
More Spices.
More Spices.
There were lots of cats at the hotel. Luckilly they were fed and looked after. :)
There were lots of cats at the hotel. Luckilly they were fed and looked after. πŸ™‚

Although Taroudannt was interesting (rather like a mini Marrakesh ) we were glad to get back to the coast and the invigorating ocean breeze. Then we were mostly lazy for the rest of our trip. I think we must have needed the rest though! Have you ever visited Morocco ?

Sunset at Agadir.
Sunset at Agadir.

Memories of Morocco

OOOOh a little bit of sun today. Though not the kind that gives out much warmth! My boyfriends brother and his wife are on the second day of their stay in Marrakech. On our recommendation they are stopping in the same lovely riad as we did two years ago. I am so jealous! So I thought I would post a few of the pictures we took on our trip. Hope they inspire you to visit too…..

Here is our room in the beautiful and elegant riad darhani in the medina of Marrakech. Staying in a riad which is a typical moroccan townhouse with rooms looking on to a tranquil inner courtyard makes for a more interesting and authentic trip.

The souks are full of amazing colour, sights and smells




The main square in Marrakech ( jemaa el fna ) is amazing during the day and at night. A world heritage sight, it is packed full of colourful water carriers and snake charmers during the daylight hours.We liked to sit and watch the world go by wil’st sipping mint tea. In the evening hundreds of stalls hook up to a gas supply and cook up lots of interesting moroccan dishes.



I don’t know about you but a holiday is not a holiday without a seasidey bit. Three hours drive away from Marrakech is the beautiful fortified harbour town of Essaouira. We hopped on the locals bus and headed for a few nights stay on the coast . You don’t really want to do the locals bus unless you fancy the whole sharing your seat with farmers and chickens! We found out on the way back that the much more plush and air conditioned Supertours coaches are quicker, more comfortable and exactly the same price.Typical!
Beautiful Essaouira.

Blue fishing boats

the view from the hotel every morning : )

cats and tagines.

So if you do visit Morocco why not take in both vibrant Marrakech and the more chilled Essaouira with its great stretch of beach,wind surfing and fresh seafood restaurants.Wow I want to go back there now!