In today’s world, many people were surprised we decided to head to Morocco for a winter break. But we were in much need of some winter sunshine and being pregnant I didn’t fancy a long haul flight because of the risk of DVT.
We did consider the Canary Islands, but if you’re anything like us and looking last-minute the prices were just astronomical, and there’s not quite as much to explore there for the inner traveller. So Morocco seemed our final (and more exciting) short-haul winter sunshine option.
I’m not naive to world events, so before booking I too did consider the safety aspects. The only thing that I suppose makes people assume Morocco is unsafe is because it is a Muslim country. But that is the only reason why many are hesitant.
In terms of safety it’s nothing to be concerned over. Yes, as always irrelevant of where you are in the world keep your eyes open. But statistically London and other big European cities are more at risk of acts of terrorism and I’ve yet to boycott Europe, so that settled it and I booked flights!
So with my mind made up I then decided to break our holiday down into two parts to make it toddler appropriate.
Morocco is a travellers dream because it’s a world away from our own, but at the same time the crazy hustle and bustle of the Medina (the old part of Marrakech inside the walls) can be a little overwhelming and unfriendly with a toddler who requires space and some freedom- not impossible though.
The easiest way to break the holiday down is to book separate accommodations for your time there. We booked a hotel for 4 nights in the Palmeraie area of Marrakech which is about 15-20 minutes outside the Medina.
We chose Les Deux Tours which offered a free shuttle service into the Medina daily that we didn’t take advantage of because for our final two nights we chose to stay in the Medina itself at Riad Al Loune.
It gave us the opportunity to relax and enjoy the weather, the pool and the sunshine initially.
And then before leaving Morocco we were able to absorb some authentic culture.
If we had stayed in Morocco a bit longer, we would have liked to have stayed in the Atlas mountains as well and through word of mouth we would have booked Kasbah Bab Ourika.
I’ll be writing up separate posts about our time in each part of Marrakech because to put everything into one post wouldn’t do the trip justice.
On a final note, heading abroad can be a bit hit or miss when it comes to food.
I’d read a few horror stories when it came to food poisoning in Marrakech. Nothing horrific, but not something you would want to deal with while pregnant or if you have a young child.
The main problem is the water in Morocco. We’re just not accustomed to it. So as long as you stay away from all the typical culprits such as ice, salad, ice cream, water that’s not bottled etc you should be fine.
I kept to a strict vegetarian diet while I was there, gorging on healthy vegetarian cous cous and vegetable terrines. Everything I ate came from a restaurant that had been recommended and the food was thoroughly cooked. Because of the places we picked prices weren’t necessarily cheap in comparison to other eateries but for risk free food it was worth it.
I didn’t eat any cheese because I couldn’t guarantee the pasteurising techniques and I also stayed clear of milk for the same reason.
I avoided all food and drinks from stalls and street vendors. While the freshly squeezed orange juice in the medina may seem tempting, it is often watered down to make it go that bit further. The only place I would drink orange juice was at breakfast at both accommodations.
^^Please don’t think we have an amazingly well behaved toddler that sits down nicely at meal times- note the Kindle which we bribe him with.
Other than that all other fruit was off the menu for me unless I could peel it.
In terms of drinks I stuck religiously to bottled water and would indulge in a mint tea at our accommodation choices or if we were at a restaurant.
Safe to say I didn’t have any food issues. My other half did continue to eat everything and anything, but again keeping to the restaurants we had been recommended and at our accommodation choices. So if you aren’t prepared to go vegetarian, cheese and milk free I can vouch for the places we ate in.
Places to eat in the Medina:
A rather sophisticated eatery serving Moroccan and international dishes and probably one of the top restaurants in Marrakech. They didn’t do a separate kids menu, but they did create Little London his own dish of vegetables and roast potatoes- which went down very well for him. It’s not the cheapest establishment and there wasn’t a great vegetarian selection. But atmospherically it was enchanting.
Fabulous place to eat. The dishes were huge and hearty, we stopped in for lunch and I think I was still full when it came to dinner time. The vegetarian cous cous was delicious as was the vegetable tagine which we shared with Little London.
Great views from the upstairs terrace and extremely friendly staff. We didn’t see the entire menu though I don’t think, because people were ordering burgers and fries which we didn’t see on the menu so perhaps ask to see their whole menu. The orange juice here was fine to drink as we ordered one for Little London after he tantrummed about having to drink bottled water. I indulged in a coca cola which came poured from a glass bottle with no ice- bliss.
You can’t miss Cafe des Espices, the place is full of tourists who have obviously heard of its reputation.
For a vegetarain Nomad’s menu really excited me. Although I went cheese free for the holiday I actually couldn’t resist the courgette and feta fritters and figured it couldn’t be too harmful if it had been cooked through.
I also ordered a really good vegetarian soup. Mr London Mum ordered a huge burger, and from the children’s menu Little London decided on breaded chicken strips and roasted potatoes. I indulged in some mint tea while the other two had some fresh squeezed lemon and water concoction which was great for an adult, perhaps a bit too sour for little taste buds. But everything was just delicious. I probably could have enjoyed a lot more of the menu because apparently everything is cleaned with filtered water (something I’ve only just read on the website- damn). Reservations to sit on the terrace are recommended. We did get a seat outside but we were restricted over where we could sit.