Marrakech

Two weeks ago my mum and I took a little mother-daughter trip to Marrakech, Morocco. It reminded me a little bit of Lisbon (the colours), Peru (the landscapes) and Egypt (the lifestyle). I took lots of photos on our 6 day adventure, so I thought I’d share the best bits (as per usual) with you guys.

The Old Town (Medina)

We spent a full day exploring everything within the old city walls, the Medina. There is so many things to see! We booked a guide for a day so we could get our bearings of this city (that is totally a maze, by the way!) and we walked A LOT. Our first stop was the Djema-el Fna, which is the main square and basically where most of the action happens. There’s snake charmers, henna tattoo artists, little restaurants (at night), a plant market and lots of fruit stalls. Trying some freshly squeezed orange juice here is a must!

IMG_2490 copy

IMG_2357 copy

IMG_2504 copy

We also went passed the Koutoubia Mosque, which is the highlight of the city. It can be seen from far away and heard too, when prayer begins. Even though we  couldn’t go in as a non-muslim, we very much enjoyed the looks of this architectural stunner from outside.

IMG_2480 copy

We also paid the Saadian tombs and the Bahia Palace a visit, both of which are stunning. The tiling is just wow. I could walk around there all day just people-watching or reading underneath the trees.

IMG_2414 copy

IMG_2393 copy

IMG_2416 copy

IMG_2444 copy

IMG_2431 copy

IMG_2447 copy

Other than that, the souqs were really interesting – we saw the leather processing, bargained (hard-core) prices and learned a lot about the different spices and medicinal remedies. We also got ourselves some of the famous argan oil.

IMG_2507 copy

IMG_2433 copy

Jardin Majorelle + YSL Museum

We spent another half a day exploring the Majorelle garden and YSL Museum. One tip: if you plan on visiting the YSL museum anyways, get a ticket there! The line at the gardens is waaaaaay longer and by getting your ticket at the museum, you can skip the queue. Anyways, we made our way through the garden which was a-ma-zing, but a little but overcrowded to be enjoyed fully. I really enjoyed the bright colours of the yellow and blue that are so typical for this garden, as well as the cacti. The garden’s café is a nice relaxing place too if you want to stay a bit longer.

IMG_2560 copy

IMG_2521 copy

The YSL museum is kind of disappointing, unless you are really really into fashion. It’s a nice museum though, with some cool features. The movie about YSL is interesting too.

IMG_2565 copy

The Atlas Mountains

One main goal of the trip was to get out of the city too and explore a bit of the surrounding nature. So we booked a day trip with Marrakech Inspiring Tours (with our guide Abdul) and we would definitely recommend. Although the drive is pretty long, the tour never got boring and we made plenty of stops to enjoy and photograph the surroundings, which was nice.

IMG_2575

IMG_2580 copyIMG_2591 copy

IMG_2592 copy

IMG_2611 copy

IMG_2586 copy

IMG_2607 copy

Aït Ben Haddou

One of the highlights of said day trip was the Aït Ben Haddou, a UNESCO heritage site that seems to be yet undiscovered by the masses, one of the things I loved about it so much. In the middle of the desert, these castle-like structures arise and behind it is an entire village (still inhabited). Interesting to see to say the least.

IMG_2632 copy

IMG_2692 copy

IMG_2651 copy

IMG_2667 copy

IMG_2641 copy

Hammam

I absolutely wanted to try hammam while we were in Marrakech. It’s a bit of a strange experience to have someone wash and scrub down your entire body, but the massage afterwards was really nice and we came out rejuvenated. We booked our hamma experience through Les Bains de Marrakech.

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 17.46.30.png

IMG_2719 copy

Le Jardin Secret

We spent our last day hanging around in the souqs and enjoying the serenity of this place called le Jardin Secret. This recently opened garden is a true oasis with lots of green and water. Different from the Jardin Majorelle though, because the plants are less exotic and more English-French garden-like, if that makes sense. The roof-top terrace is the perfect hangout spot to enjoy the garden.

IMG_2772 copy.jpg

The Riad experience

It can be nice to get away from the hustle and bustle that is Marrakech city life, so when you are looking for a place, the riads are a perfect hideaway.  Really, there are tiny pieces of paradise in an overcrowded city. It’s like an oasis of piece and quiet. Best breakfast ever.

IMG_2346.JPG

IMG_2339 copy

That’s it, folks. Curious to see where I go next…? :-)

Until then,

Silke

Norway – the best of

A week ago, we came back from the cold north that is Norway and were blown away by the astonishing landscapes and dreamy, wintery views. We will definitely be going back in summertime someday to see the great contrast. Because I’m all about spreading the joy, I thought I’d share my favourite bits and pieces, including photos, of our trip. We stayed in Oslo for four days and took the Oslo-Bergen railway to, you guessed it, Bergen, where we spent another 3 days before heading home.

Oslo

Things you shouldn’t miss

  • Oslo Operahus. It’s undeniably one of the city’s architectural masterpieces. Impressive in winter, with the frozen harbour, I can only imagine the grandiosity it must radiate in summer, when the roof is the best place to catch some of that sparse soleil.
  • Korketrekkeren. This translates to the English equivalent of “The Corkscrew”. It used to be a winter sport practice course, but is now open to everyone for… sledding! And it’s one of the most fun things I’ve done in the snow for sure. You simply take Metro line 1 up till  Frognerseterveien, where you rent a sledge and helmet and off you go! And what’s even better is that you can take the metro back up at Midstuen and go again. Easy peasy.
  • Norsk Folkemuseum.  Although a bit chilly and slippery in winter, the peace and quiet of the outdoor museum and the colourful old houses make up for it. If you plan to go, try going on the weekends, when they have lots of activities going on, even in winter. We did some banana and chocolate grilling on the campfire.
  • Det Kongelige Slottet. The royal palace is located on a bit of a hill and offers a fantastic view over the main shopping streets and a beautiful park.

screen-shot-2018-03-04-at-14-59-59.png

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.00.33

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.00.24

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 14.59.39

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 14.59.48

Things you can skip

  • Vikingskipmuseet. Although the viking ships are impressive, you’ve pretty much seen everything the museum has to offer on their website. 100 NOK felt a little bit much for the size of the museum. A tourist trap, if you ask me.
  • Nasjonalmuseet. The museum itself is relatively big and provided me with an okay indoor visit, but you won’t be missing out much if you skip it.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 14.59.30

Places to eat

  • Gryn. A concept restaurant that specialises in porridge with typically Norwegian ingredients like brunost (brown cheese) as well as waffles (savoury and sweet). Great place for a quick lunch!
  • Munchies. With two places in Oslo, they are the best burger places. Quick, easy, delicious. Try the sweet potato fries.
  • Rent Mel. Although expensive, this pizza place next to a hotel, had a-ma-zing pizza’s. The best.
  • Taco Republica. This place has delicious taco options. You can mix and match to your liking. Make sure to book a table, though.
  • Retrolykke Kaffebar. The best place to try waffles with jelly and cream. The entire interior reminds of the 50s and 60s. I love the mismatched cutlery, cups and plates.
  • Liebling. A good place for lunch or coffee. Cozy and homey with plenty of space. Great pie. They also have a variety of colourful lattes.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.00.14.png

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.00.52.png

To shop

  • Norway Design. The best place for design. Also a stationary lover’s dream.
  • Ting. Cute little gadgets that you don’t need but desperately want anyways.
  • Glasmagasinet. Basically, you could’ve just left me here to live and I would’ve been perfectly happy. It’s like a dream for any design lover. They also have a fabulous Kicks department which is perfect for any make-up or skincare lover.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.00.43.png

Oslo – Bergen railway

A highlight of our trip was definitely the Oslo-Bergen railway. We had booked tickets 2 months in advance, which was the perfect time because that’s when you get the “minipris”, which is cheap tickets. You get to choose your seats and there is no hassle of checking in, just hop on. Bring plenty of snacks and reading or listening material because you are settling in for a 6 hour train ride. Things never get boring because after every tunnel, a new and magical scenery appears. Sit back, relax and enjoy (it’s easy).

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.07.25

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.07.37

Bergen

Things you shouldn’t miss

  • Bryggen. The row of old Hanse houses is one colourful sight to say the least. If you’re lucky the sun will come out and the harbour view will be one to never forget. (Or very lucky, because apparently there’s 320 days of rain in Bergen!)
  • Fjord tour. You can simply not leave Bergen without exploring the fjords a bit more. Even in winter, there’s tours running. Although I’m pretty sure the Norway in a Nutshell tour is better (but our budget didn’t allow for it), we did the Mostraumen fjord tour. Nonetheless spectacular! We booked ours through Fjord Tours.
  • Fløibanen. Take up the funicular (with a 26 degree slope!) to Fløyen and you will be rewarded with an amazing view over the city and the harbour as well as the surrounding mountains. It’s when you realise why Bergen is called Bergen! If possible, go for a hike or a ski. We got stuck knee-deep in the snow, but had an enjoyable walk nonetheless. And the hot chocolate afterwards with that view is just the best.
  • Audhild Viken. An all-year-round Christmas shop. I didn’t know it was a thing, but I am so glad that it is! You’ll come out cheery, singing “Jingle Bells” in no time.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.35.03

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.35.14

Places to eat

  • Pingvinen. The best restaurant we went to for the entirety of the trip! Also very popular with the locals, which says a lot. They have daily specials, of which we tried the Plukkfisk and the Raspeballer. Typical Norwegian flavours assured.
  • Blom. If you’re looking for a strong, specialty coffee, Blom is the place to be. Clean, crisp, cozy.
  • Alléhjørnet Thai. Also very popular with the locals, we had some delicious pad thai at this place. Can’t go wrong.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.34.44

Where to sleep

  • Citybox Oslo. A very easy and new concept hotel. You do everything yourself: from check-in, payment to luggage storage and check-out. If you really need help or more towels, you can go to the management office, but we loved this hassle-free and easy stay. Also very close to the train station and the city centre!

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 15.34.54.png

Next up…? I’ll leave that to be a surprise! :)