Ahlan from Marrakech

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I have waited a long time to visit this place, a city I associate with cultural depth and pretty colours, a place where I pictured myself as SJP, a dream I’m finally living in the heart of Marrakech, Morocco.

After spending two days here, the notion that Marrakech is an exotic place I’ve learned is far from the truth. It’s an idea portrayed to the Western world to encourage tourism, an industry that this country aims to build as it’s number one source of income over the next few years.

What I found most appealing is that from speaking to locals we were able to get an insight and an understanding if you may of how the city came about. As chaotic as it seems, the neighbourhood is really tight, it’s people are warm and friendly, their architecture is designed in a way to promote humbleness and simplicity from the outside (your interior home can depend on your wealth), an idea that wealth cannot define you nor differentiate you from the community, it’s an equal ground.

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There’s much to do and see here. The new city is nice to visit, but I encourage you to stay in the hub of the old city where you find the markets and the medina and the buzz that you expect to feel.

Overall, this really has been an incredible experience. I much love calligraphy, street art and mosaics, all of which you get to witness around the streets and in particular when visiting the holy places. Tea drinkers, this is your source of heaven!

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Dear Lisbon,

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I’ll express her visually, they say a picture says a thousand words.
She’s close to her people’s hearts; they talk about her as a strong woman, one with curves and attitude.

Lisbon is a city with colourful buildings and hills, she is beautiful.
Once a broken soul, she’s old. Now built new, you can’t break down her fierceness, they won’t let you.

Art is a huge part of her, creative and individual.
Her emotions are expressed through her Graffitied walls, if you look close, they each say something.
She’s born to be photographed and snapped away, even the details on her exterior are romantic & bald.

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What you’ll do is this:

– Eat FABULOUS Tarts in Belem at Pasteis de Belem.
– If you want a nice dinner hot spot, this is popular with a wait, it’s called Taberna.
– For GREAT Portuguese Chicken, a recommended local casual is Frangasqueria Nacional.
– And if you have time, do a walking tour, you get to see what your eyes naturally miss.

Love Love
xx

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A surprising Madrid

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It’s known that Barcelona is one of the most beautiful and popular cities in Spain so you expect it to look as sharp as they say it is, Madrid on the other hand has been a wonderful surprise.

Seeing the city for the first time shuffled all my presumptions of what I thought it would be. I expected it to be dated, instead it’s archeitectually modern, naturally spacious and has all the features that a city should have, that being white European historical buildings, a great Castle, a huge natural park, great food, and a calm crowd.

No doubt, if you walk outside the city the surrounding neighbourhood does feel like Spain with it’s narrow streets and apartment blocks that are covered in painted walls.

Do I recommend you visit Madrid? Absolutely. After spending few days there, and travelling with two food finders, here is what I recommend you do?

1- Visit the Parque De El Retiro: Natural park, and absolutely gorgeous.
2- Visit Jardines De Sabatini: Castle for great views
3- Walk around the city centre
4- Their Art Gallery is also a must do for those that enjoy casual visits.

In terms of food & drinks, here’s our favourite hot spots:

1- Bump & Green: An organic cafe for Breakfast or Lunch, one of my favourites so far.
2- Pum Pum: A cute cafe, outside the city centre, great good and you get to feel the neighbouring suburbs of Madrid
3- El Sur: For lunch or dinner, has traditional Spanish food
4- San Gines: Churros, of course, this is a MUST

You can’t leave Spain without some Sangrias. to see the view of the city the NH Collection Hotel has a hidden rooftop bar where you can snap away the city of Madrid, along with the Oscar Hotel with it’s chilled bar scene and delicious cocktails.
If you’ve been, what did you like most?

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