A labyrinthine expedition into the souk markets of Marrakech's old town had us re-emerging into the daylight clutching armfuls of Eastern treasures, blinking and squinting into the sun. I couldn't have been happier, and I even couldn't wait to get home to accommodate my new found delights, but we had a whole travel adventure ahead of us to enjoy first..
|Hotel Pullman Palmeraie|
|Scarves on sale in one of the many souks|
As we got deeper and deeper into the souk markets, bargaining and haggling became more and more addictive and fun. Prices that are 'impossible' suddenly become possible with a casual sweep of the hand and a warm exchange, and the regular offerings of items like rusty taps when we originally ventured inside to look at jewellery!
|The fruits of a day's hard work of haggling and bartering|
|Camel ride in the Palmerie|
The camel riding was a fantastic experience, they are so high up, and surprisingly comfortable!
|Atlas Mountains - Ourika Valley|
|A rickety bridge crossing|
On arrival in the valley the traffic became so blocked that we weren't moving for around half an hour. A local guide came by and offered to take us up to the waterfalls and through the Berber settlements, which we were glad of, as we had no idea where we were going. We simply left our things in the taxi with Adbaslam and met him at the end village when we had filled up on a delicious tagine and plate of chips.
|Monkeys at Ouzoud Falls|
At the end of the trek we came across the famed local wild monkeys, and were lucky enough to see some mothers with their babies! With the knowledge that they were a safe distance from us, they strutted around under the trees showing off their young - it was incredible.
On the 2 hour drive back to the hotel, Abdaslam took us to a local Berber market. It was fascinating to see the difference between the polished goods of the city souks, and the raw materials being sold at this Nomadic Berber market in the middle of the countryside.
|Mosque in Marrakech near Djemma El Fna|
|Fresh Orange Juice in Djemma El Fna - main square. 50p!|
Eating out is a delight in Morocco, with sumptious tagines spiced with exotic flavours available at every opportunity. This was my favourite restaurant, hidden around a corner and seemingly only known to locals. It was recommended to us by the staff at our hotel.
A Moroccan man in a fez sat and played local style music, just adding to an already atmospheric experience.
|Richard and I before our delicious Tagines|
|Richard dressed traditionally by a lovely Berber man we met!|
Our first experience of Gran Canaria's local life was our visit to picturesque and colourful village Aguimes.
|Easter Church procession in Aguimes|
A church procession for Easter went by the main street just as we were approaching so we stayed to watch.
|Flying down the Maspalomas sand dunes|
The enormous expanse of sand dunes at Maspalomas had us entertained for a good while!
|Teror Town - typical wooden balconies|
|Driving in the mountains|
Driving through the mountains there are some stunning views, including the famous Roque Nublo rock landmark, and we really enjoyed the novelty of 'being in a cloud' even though it meant no sun, and much colder temperatures!
|View of mountains from Artenara|
|A quick fitness stop!|
|Casas Cuevas - Cave Dwellings|
The cave dwellings at Artenara were fascinating - inhabited since before Columbus times, and with sweeping views over volcanic mountains of the island. Information and displays about the craft and trade that took place here is interesting and the local guides are happy to show you around. Entrance is free but a donation is appreciated.
We met an adorable local lady who didn't speak a word of English, working at the cave site. She was cracking Almonds out of their shells by hand with rocks, and let us all have a go too. In Spanish, she told us all about the island and local life - between us I think we managed to gather at least 45% of what she was saying. She was lovely anyway!