In February, I packed my bags and set off for Marrakech, Morocco for a couple of days of excursions. I had booked a Riad in the middle of the Mediná in Marrakech and it was a total maze to get there after getting dropped off by the taxi. The driver told me to follow a man and so I did, as soon as I arrived to the Riad Sable Chaud, of course the man wanted money for showing me the way. Since I came straight from the airport I didn’t have any smaller cash and asked the hotel personnel if they could help me in the meantime. I thought this was all figured out, but the day after the same man followed me from the square asking for more money and wouldn’t let me be. I gave him some more money in the hope of getting rid of him.
Finally, at the Riad I was treated to some tea and cookies before I got to check in. I heard from the manager that they were over booked and therefore I would have to change rooms for the next day. The day after came and no one said anything, the morning after the second day I had breakfast and still nothing about changing rooms. In the evening on the third day I came back from a trip and got told by a lady at the Riad that they had packed all my things from my room and placed them in the dining area. The next surprise from the Manager was that I would have to change Riad straight away. I of course got upset because they touched my things without my knowledge and all of a sudden, I had to change hotels? Well you can probably imagine my panic, if you have been to the Médina in Marrakech, you know how hard it is to find your way and how easy it is to get tricked by the locals. After a couple of minutes, I realized that my passport and money was still in my old room, where new people had moved in. So, they had to help me with this and then after some more tears all of a sudden, they had an available room at this Riad. I was so happy about this, because I finally taught myself the way from the square to this Riad and was not happy at all about the fact that I would have to change. So, after an hour of panic, I could go to bed in my new room and load for a new excursion the next day.
Apparently, I was not the only one who had issues with this Riad due to overbooking and some others had to change Riad. I just felt so violated since they went through my stuff. If they had only told me, I could have packed my own things and not have anyone else go through my underwear and privates.
During my time in Morocco I also visited the Ouzoud waterfall, which was absolutely amazing, but at the waterfall I chose to take a guide, so that I could be shown how to get down from the top of the waterfall and also to learn some more about the area. I got a male guide that was in about my age that got way to close. When I was standing on the border of the waterfall he placed his hands around my waist and he wanted to hold hands all the time. He kept saying how beautiful I was and he wanted to live with me and so on. At one moment, he took my away from the company of others to the other side of the waterfall and I felt so uncomfortable and vulnerable. This is not something I’m used to and I actually don’t wish anyone having someone touching you like that, when you say you don’t want to. Once again, I felt violated and someone entered my private space.
Unfortunately, my last evening two men tried to rob me on my way back from a tour to the Riad. As I wrote before the Médina in Marrakech is totally like a maze and it’s really hard to find your way, especially if you have a bad sense of navigation. The streets have no names and they are really narrow and especially they are really dark during the evenings. I felt pretty sure of the way for once and walked from the mosque square which I had done a couple of times by then, but this time I realized I had two med behind me and they walked in my pace. In front of me I had an older man walking by himself and didn’t really think they would dare to do something. But when we turned a corner in the maze and the older man already turned around the other corner they jumped me from behind, trying to get my camera bag. I started to scream and run, they followed me and tried to drag my bag I had over my shoulders instead, but at that moment the older man had heard me screaming and came back. As soon as the two med saw him, they stopped pulling my things and ran away. I probably don’t have to tell you that I was a bit shaken up by the situation and it was so sad that this had to happen.
As the manager at the Riad said, I was unluckily lucky, because they actually never got anything from me, but I have the memories of this with me.
I decided to do this post separately and don’t confuse it with all of the amazing cities and places I got to see. This trip has been one of the best once, but also one of the most eventful in a not so positive way. I went to Morocco alone, I’m female and I have blonde hair and maybe this is not the best combination when traveling here. I’m not saying that this happens to everyone and that you should not go to Morocco, but I want to share my experiences, so that someone else can be more cautious and this might not happen to them. As a single, female, blonde traveler I would not recommend going to Morocco. I would have felt so much more secure if I had someone else with me. #metoo