Wednesday, 24 February 2016

snap that pic, make a memory

So a few important things happened over the weekend. My close friends know about it. My personal diary knows about it. And I will remember it for the rest of my life. 
And I didn't have any proper pictures I could share from that night. Which kind of made me think about all the memories I have on my computer. So I decided to do these collages I was telling you about a few posts before. These memories are kept for only 24 hours on snapchat. Yet I started to save the special ones. And I'm really glad I did, because life is made out of little things that make you happy, right? 
I'm putting these out here just in case one day my computer decides to crash and I wouldn't have backed up these pictures. Or if I get into an accident and lose my memory and wouldn't be able to remember my password of my laptop. Or any other accident that would make me loose all of these memories.  (Click on the collages if you want to see them bigger)

A huge selfie collage was needed as well.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Morocco part 2: Casablanca

When we were deciding what tovisit in Morocco, it seemed that the capital Rabat doesn't really offer much of touristy spots. All of the reviews about Morocco sent us to Casablanca. The original plan was to actually stay there two nights and then come back to Rabat for another two nights, but since the whole plan got ruined by the Air Strikes, we were unsure if it's worth enough to go to another city, since our time was so limited. But in the end, we decided that it's better to spend the whole day in Casablanca and visit the most amazing views we found on Google maps, rather then skip it for convenience.
When we were searching how to get there, Google doesn't really show any public transport and most of the websites suggest getting taxis, since it's so cheap. But since our previous day experience with the taxis didn't go so well, we looked into the public transport and found a train going to Casablanca for 37 MAD (£ 2.6 ). To be honest, the train station and how easy it was to find the right ticket and platform really impressed me. The self service machines had English menu and the main French words to find the right way to the platform are not that different from English.

The journey took us a bit more than an hour. When we got to Casablanca, their train station impressed us even more. They had proper WiFi, McDonald's, Starbucks and all the basic things you are surprised to find in Africa.
We headed straight to the main point of the city Hassan II Mosque. This is the place to see in Casablanca.

Since the Mosque is a touristy spot, there was a lady doing henna tattoos. It was definitely on the bucket list of the things to do in Morocco. I have never tried henna before, so the 'small burning' on my skin was really unexpected. Also, I thought that it's straight as it is - these random brown lines on your skin that you see in the pictures. Turns out it looks a lot different when you apply it and you have to wait around 20 mins for the henna dye to dry. Price - around a pound; lasted almost two weeks.

After the Mosque we started going towards the famous market while looking for a place to have some lunch. Can't remember the name of the place, but all we needed is some Moroccan cuisine and WiFi to tell families how we are doing and check were the market actually was. The prices were quite good again and even though the cuisine didn't really impressed ( I guess, because I didn't order the right thing (was going for the vegetarian option which later turned out to be just an omelette with some bacon bits) ), we had lovely time. AND the freshly squeezed STRAWBERRY JUICE. OHMYGOD. It was pure deliciousness (ordered two - believe one glass was around £0.60) RECOMMEND!

Spent the rest of the day in the market, looking for Moroccan tea, which is Green tea with mint ( found the next day in Rabat), checked fridge magnets, postcards, scarves and all of that goodness. To be honest, it was really tiring. LOADS of knock offs ( Gucci, Prada, Nike and all of that). And also, really difficult to find an exit! :D

Sorry if the post is not informative enough, but this has been a draft and on my mind for the past few weeks. And even though I was really ill the past week and spent the whole time in my bed watching Friends and could've easily finished the whole story, it feels like so many things happened in those three days that you can't write it all down.

PS. Most of the pictures are my friend's Zanna's. Not that she reads my blog, but thanks honey for taking time to capture this trip!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Morocco trip part 1: "The land where things don't exist"

Boy did me and my girls went through some adventures these past few days.

Basically, the story of our flight cancellations and stuff is on my previous post, so I'll tell you all about what happened in the actual journey. Grab a cup of tea, because this story is something else. 

Our coach ride from Birmingham to London Victoria was quite smooth and simple. We were supposed to take Terravision coach to London Stansted airport. It so happens that Terravision is having some kind of changes and we have to change at Kings cross station and get on a train to the airport. (Free of charge). Even though that is what we were told, the driver took us to some random Bishop gate train station. While everyone was stepping out of the coach, they gave us the train tickets to Stansted and said station is 'that way'. Since we made to the train quite fast and reached the airport successfully I can't complain too much knowing what happened later on. 

It was my first time at Stansted and I actually liked the airport, even though we didn't have much time, since the Terravision thing took us 40 mins longer than we planned ( or we were promised). We grabbed some meal deals and headed straight to the gate. By this point we were really excited, because on Monday afternoon when the flight got canceled and everything got messed up, we thought that we probably won't be able to make it at all. 
While on the plane, my friend started talking to a man which seemed to know a lot about Rabat (the city we flew to ( the capital as well) ). He told us that the taxi to the city centre can't be more than 200 MAD. ( 15 MAD is about 1 pound, so our journey should cost around 14 pounds). When we landed, we did ( at least I did ) experience quite a bit of a cultural shock. It was really warm outside, which was expected. But the moment we went looking for taxis, I got scared for a second. It looked like around 20 men started going towards us shouting 'taxi'. We showed the printed sheet of the booking for the place we need to get. The taxi drivers were a bit confused, didn't really seem to know where the place is, but still made us sit in a taxi confirming us that they will get us where we need to be. I should probably mention that they made 4 of us sit at the back, which is illegal, but all of the cars where small, so there wasn't much we could do. And I should also mention that we agreed on the 250 MAD price, even though the girls didn't want to, but we were kind of in a rush, since the check in time for our hotel was supposed to finish in like 40 mins, and there's 20 min drive from the airport. 

We booked our accommodation through website. The place had loads of good reviews, close to city centre, WiFi, and quite cheap. The pictures were promising, because this it was more like an apartment with few rooms, kitchen, shower and a common living room. When we got to the city centre, the taxi driver stopped randomly, got out of the car and walked over to another guy ( which kind of seemed like a friend, but as the story goes on, he was probably not) to ask for directions. I may add that the driver didn't speak any English. This was such a problem most of the trip. More about that later. There were a few moments when the driver made the person in the front seat ( which was Kristina or Mariann) get out of the car and try to speak to the other men that joined us trying to find the address. It took us 1 hour, around 20 different men ( out of whom 2 spoke English), multiple 'get out of the car, try to speak to us in Arab' and loads of scary realization that we don't have a place to stay in fucking Africa. When we finally found the correct address, we were told by the men around the doors of the address that this place DOESN'T EXIST. Like, the address is right, but there is no such Guesthouse here. Keep in mind that the driver and other people tried calling the number on the booking confirmation and it seemed like the number was wrong. There was one man that said there are apartments in this building that are his and if we want we can rent it, but the price was a lot higher than it was in the confirmation. Me and Kristina went to see it, while the girls were still in the taxi, because at this moment, we still didn't really knew for sure that this is the right address. We looked at the apartment and later on we checked the booking website. IT'S THE SAME APARTMENT. Right now I think it was a complete scam, because it seems quite smart to get lost tourists pay more since they don't have a place to stay, but the thing we didn't get was why they had so many good RECENT reviews on, which was kind of a trusty website I'd say. 

We were lucky that there was an Italian restaurant open quite late that had WiFi. We took a seat and started looking through the net where can we stay the night. We found ibis hotel (which is a huge chain of hotel in the whole world, right?) and it was only 10 mins of walking. After we had some coffee and something to eat, we loaded  our maps and started walking to the ibis hotel. In the pictures it looked very nice and we were happy that it was so close, because we didn't want to get into another taxi. So we started walking and when it looked like we reached our destination, we couldn't see the huge sign of ibis, the one we saw online. Little do we know, we saw a random guy walking past that happened to know English. We asked him, do you know where is the ibis hotel? He said 'ibis? There used to be one here, but..." and we were like "BUT?" and he said 'it's not here anymore". basically, the hotel DOESN'T EXIST. We were literally speechless. How is that possible? Google maps says it's right here.... By this point we were so emotionally and physically exhausted that we started laughing, saying 'why nothing exists here'. It's a complete Morocco inside joke now. 

There was a train station on the other side of the "ibis hotel" and thankfully with a WiFi. Started our research of hotels again and Zanna found 'Texuda' hotel, which was around 40 mins walk away. At the station there was one guy who spoke English and Arab. He actually started talking to us, where are we from and stuff, how come we are here and looking quite lost and stuff. He helped us arrange the taxis to get to the new hotel we were really hopeful for. But these taxis were a bit different. First of all, they were blue ( which is kind of the main taxi color of Morocco ( mentioning this just because there were none of the blue taxis near the airport)) . The guy talked to the drivers that we are kind of afraid to take two different cars, but there's no other way to get to the hotel, because it is illegal to have 5 passengers in the car.

We reached the Texuda hotel successfully and walked in with loads of hope. The receptionist was SO nice and made us feel so safe. We managed to get two rooms for all 5 of us. Even though the price was not the cheapest we could get, we were ready to pay anything really. 

We landed at 8 in the evening, managed to get into our own rooms a bit past midnight, so in the first few hours of our trip we got into adventures that we will remember for a lifetime.

part 2 coming soon

Monday, 1 February 2016

Air strikes and other journeys

I promised a post on Monday, but the whole evening was so stressful, I didn't get a chance to write and here is why: me and four of my friends ages ago bought cheap tickets to go to Morocco for 5 days. We were supposed to leave on a Tuesday morning, but when I decided to do the flight check in I saw 'Flight disruption' and a list of 700 canceled flights. Which of course included ours. We spent the whole evening trying to come up with the best option and we decided to go to London for the day (since we have tickets), return home and fly out on the 28th, since it was the first flight to Morocco ryanair could offer. Apparently, the flights were canceled because of the France air traffic control strike. For now we haven't really lost any money, just lost 2 nights in Africa.

On the bright side, we spent a really lovely day here in London. Even though it was freezing and rainy and miserable... We managed to go to Camden town which I haven't been to before. And it was SO amazing. Of course, the weather kind of ruined it a bit, but it's definitely worth a visit if you are in London!!

AND HOW COULD I FORGET. I haven't shared my 2015 video with you guys yet!! 
Unfortunately, since copyright thing on youtube is really strict and I used my favorite songs which I'm actually not allowed to upload on YT, the video is on vimeo.