Paradis Plage

Four days at ‘Paradise Beach’ Surf, Yoga Spa resort has been a perfect way to unwind and relax. We haven’t done any surfing but we’ve done yoga and had a spa treatment every day. We have also walked along the beach each day, been to the gym (me only once) and sat in the sunshine both at the pool and the beach and been waited in hand and foot.

Here’s a few pics:

Off to Agadir

For the last little splurge on our trip, we have booked 4 nights at a 5star beach resort. It calls itself a yoga, spa, surf resort. It is a very western thing – a bit like the tourist experience in Bali.

There is an airport at Agadir but no flights in from Marrakech, so we took the bus. The bus station is right next door to the train station – both run by the giant French company ONCF. We walked to get the bus tickets a couple of days earlier (I’d learnt from my Spanish experience not to rely on booking online!)

We took our first Moroccan cab – they are absolutely everywhere – and I bargained but not too hard!

The scenery on the way was amazing, sparse and red with the snow capped mountains we had seen from the city, in the background. We even had periods of sandstorm with next to no visibility. Luckily the roads are fantastic and mostly dual highway.

Massive Fail!

After two failed attempts to go and see the 16th Century, Madersa Ben Yousef. It was a school that every tour guide says you should see.

Not having phone data makes life tricky. Google maps works if you search while you have wifi then leave it open but you can not keep several addresses active at one time.

We set off (using my navigation skills) in the totally wrong direction and by the time Gracie saved the day and noticed my mistake it was getting close to lunch time. So when we got back to the Medina we decided on lunch first at Nomad, an attractive Modern Moroccan restaurant that has a big tourist following.

After lunch we set off for the 800m walk to the Madersa (school) only to get there and find it is closed for renovation for two years.

Luckily, right next door there was an amazing grand Riad that is in private hands that is also being renovated but nearly finished and housing an exhibition of art dedicated to recognising the strength of Moroccan women. Both the Riad and the exhibition were amazing! A fortuitous mistake!

(Photos have become a huge issue posting as the wifi is so poor. I’ll add some if the wifi picks up – sorry!)

YSL Museum Berber Museum and Majorelle Gardens

Yves Saint Laurent and his partner spent a lot of time in Marrakech. They bought a house from Moroccan, French artist called Majorelle. The gardens were developed on the large site and are beautiful and an oasis of calm, green and shade that would be a sanctuary in the summer heat. The house has been turned into a museum of Berber history (no photos allowed) and a permanent exhibition/museum to Yves Saint Laurent’s work built beside it. The temporary exhibition on at the moment was a retrospective of Majorelle’s painting, which was a great touch and very interesting.

We sat down for a coffee in the restaurant and ended up ordering a vegetable couscous to share as well. It was fabulous and not run of the mill as we had expected.

Riad Yousef

The Airbnb we are staying in, in Marrakesh, is an authentic Maroccan Riad in the Medina. Quiet and inward facing around a central courtyard, these solid buildings shut out the noise and bustle of the market and souks all around as well as the harsh Moroccan heat.

The Riad has a kitchen and dining room on the ground ground floor off the courtyard as well as a cool dark living room. Upstairs are four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and then a terrace on top, on which to soak up the sun.

We feel like sultans.

Porto’s been a hit!

We are just about to head off to Marrakech via Lisbon. We have had a lovely time in Porto. It is a beautiful town; clean, friendly, steeped in history and lots of lovely food to try.

Our apartment was amazing and if you are coming this way – let me know because it is in amazing position and is gorgeous (and huge)

The hilly terrain was not the problem I expected and I would gladly return for a longer stay – maybe spring or Autumn. I do like travelling when it’s not peak season but rain and cold can make you want to hibernate a bit.

Luckily Maria’s apartment had a lovely wood stove for relaxed cosy evenings too.

Sunshine, hillsides and moorish patterns

I’m in love with Porto already.

We ventured out for breakfast on a sunny but crisp morning. Top temp today will be 12 degrees.

I’ve always had a thing for the Moors and their fascinating tiles and patterns. Porto is clean and old and filled with examples and modern interpretations.

The town is in the banks of the Douro river but the hills run directly down to it with almost no delta. So a pretty but hilly higgledy piggledy maze of cobbled streets.

Like Melbourne it has trams which run in sections separated from the roads most of the time and are remarked by different cobble patterns.

Here’s a quick peek:

A full day of travel

Walk to bus

Bus to Bilbao.

Plane to Madrid

Another plane to Porto.

Train into the city.

Walk to apartment.

No serious hitches – a short delay sitting in plane at Madrid of nearly an hour b fire we could taxi out.

Highlight get was the bus through snow covered mountains.

And finding our apartment is fantastic (pics in the light tomorrow) and finding a great cafe for tea with vegan options and was yummy too!

A few pics from the bus and one of how railways should be done thanks to Porto!

A Rainy day for indoor exploration

Last time I came to San Sebastián with Rhiannah, we did not find time to visit the Aquarium. So with a rainy day arriving it was the perfect opportunity.

I chose the audio guide and had just the most relaxing and enjoyable time. So different to my expectations because the first two thirds where essentially a maritime museum of the Basque coast. Then when I eventually got to the fish it was so lovely and quiet compared to my visits to the Melbourne Aquarium it was magical.

I’ve tested out an app I haven’t used before to join my photos and video clips together. It’s probably a bit too long but I had fun making it.

Walk in the Sunshine

Today was 16 degrees and sunny. We had breakfast back at Sakona then split up for the rest of the day. I went for a lovely long walk along the promenade to the sculptures in the sea, only to find the last 100m blocked off for safety. A quick coffee then I strolled back along the beach with bare feet and rolled up jeans. I walked to a vegetarian restaurant but was too late for lunch so returned to a favourite from last time, Nineu. I couldn’t resist having the dessert Rhiannah and I loved last time, and I was not disappointed! Sitting in the sunshine to enjoy it was a big bonus!