Best songs for an American road trip

At Home around the World

Apart from my naturally pasty skin and my unwavering love for tea and scones, I don’t really consider myself to be very British.  That may sound a little silly seeing as I was born and have lived in the UK my entire life and my family tree is English for as far back as I know, but England is not somewhere that I have ever truly felt to be my home.

I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s because my body craves constant sunshine instead of constant drizzle.  Maybe I dream of a more chilled out life with less rushing and stressing.  Or maybe it’s simply because I love exploring the world so much that nowhere will ever truly feel like home to me; I always want to be on the move and am always looking for a new adventure.

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Where to eat in Marrakech

The Best Lip-Smacking Places to Eat in Marrakech

Almost as soon as we had dropped off our bags in our beautiful riad we found ourselves stepping back out into the chaos of Marrakech’s Medina.  Cars tried to jostle their way through the dusty streets, donkeys pulling carts alongside them and mopeds speeding by loudly tooting their horns.  We darted out, joining the people (and cats) zigzagging between the traffic.  Our bellies were rumbling and we were on a mission to find some Moroccan food.

Not a total surprise, I’m sure, that the first thing I do in a different country is hunt out the local food.  But Morocco is a place where the cuisine is such a huge part of the culture – well I like to tell myself this anyway so that I have an excuse for all the eating!  With five days in this magical and mythical city we attempted to eat our way around the whole of Marrakech, from sipping mint tea in rooftop cafes, sampling street food in the bustling markets, and fine dining in luxurious hotels.

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Jarjeer Mules Marrakech

The Mules of Marrakech

It’s no secret that I have a massive love for animals and every time we travel I seem to make furry friends wherever we go.  In fact, my doctor always recommends that I get a rabies shot whenever we travel because, whether I’m living with lions in South Africa, saying hello to street dogs in India, cuddling flea ridden kittens in Fiji, or doing my usual job of volunteering at London Zoo, absolutely nothing can keep me away from animals.

So when I started my research on Marrakech and came across Jarjeer Mules, a retirement home and care centre for donkeys just a short drive out of the city, there was no doubt in my mind that we had to go.

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Hiking in the Cinque Terre

My Favourite Travel Memories from 2015

As 2015 comes to an end and we look back on a year of fabulous adventures, and onto 2016 which will hopefully be filled with many more, I know you’re already thinking “oh no, not another New Year round up post!”.  So okay, I may be doing a total cliche here but I figured that this year has been a pretty awesome one so I simply couldn’t resist.  Plus, Mr Ayla is adamantly refusing to go on as many trips next year (oops my finger must have accidently slipped and hit enter to book those flights!!) so all I can do is look back on some of my favourite memories from this year.

Despite having a full time job I’ve managed to squeeze in plenty of adventures, from long haul relaxing holidays to short city breaks closer to home; trips with both family and friends; sightseeing holidays, hiking trips, beach breaks and everything in between.  While we may not have anything planned for next year (yet) these are some of my favourite travel memories from 2015, and some of these places have very quickly worked their way to the top of my favourite ever destinations.

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Drinks around the world

Drinking Our Way Around The World

It’s no secret that I love a fruity cocktail. In fact most of my family and friends will forever relate the Piña Colada song to me because every time a cocktail, pineapple, or just a drink in general is mentioned, I start singing the tune – with Hawaiian style dance moves included of course. Yes, I like Piña Colada.

As it’s almost Christmas and I’m sure the celebrations are already in full swing, I thought I would add to the festivities by sharing some of the best and most popular drinks from around the world that we’ve come across on our travels. They’re not all cocktails – I promise – and they’re not all alcoholic. Unfortunately, Piña Colada isn’t on this list (sigh) because I’ve not yet been to Puerto Rico, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying what the rest of the world has to offer.

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Mythical Marrakech

During our first visit to Morocco we spent five days exploring Marrakech, a place that I had heard so much about and had dreamed of visiting for years.  Me being me, I obviously planned plenty in advance and gathered as much information and recommendations as I could before our trip.

I love getting advice from other people whether it’s through reading other blogs (you bloggers are the best!), browsing destination guides or asking people I know who have already been.  Everyone has their own style of travelling but when it came to getting tips for visiting Marrakech, my expectations differed quite a lot to the reality.

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Where to eat in Marrakech

Romantic Fine Dining at Gastro MK, Marrakech

Morocco isn’t the sort of place you immediately think of for fine dining and I’d imagined that our few days exploring Marrakech would be spent sampling lots of cheap Moroccan delights in the street markets and in small restaurants.  But then I stumbled across Gastro MK, a beautiful restaurant set in the riad at Maison MK, that serves up a scrumptious sounding five course tasting menu.  I’d never had a tasting menu before (they’re so ridiculously expensive in London) but I loved the sound of their European cuisine with a Moroccan twist.  Although I don’t listen exclusively to TripAdvisor for my travel recommendations, the fact that the restaurant has been number 1 for four years running had to mean something, so we decided to book a table and make a special night of it.

We donned our best outfits (I had been waiting ages for the chance to wear this dress!) and arrived early for drinks before dinner.  After a fruity non-alcoholic shot we were shown up to the roof terrace where we had a view of the Marrakech skyline all lit up at night and the orange glow of Maison MK matched my dress perfectly.

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Where to stay in Marrakech

Riad Assakina: A Luxurious Haven in Marrakech

We’ve stayed in a huge variety of accommodation during our travels around the world, from budget backpacker dorms in Australia to villas with our own private pool in Kerala, glamping while on safari in Zambia to cabins in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, but there are only a select few places that I have found truly stunning and that I would go back to again and again.

Our stay at Riad Assakina in Marrakech definitely comes under this category and I’m already longing to go back even though we’ve only been home a few days.

The riad is in the perfect location in the Medina, just around the corner from the Bahia Palace and only a short walk to the souks and most of the city’s other sights. No matter how noisy and chaotic I had been told Marrakech’s Medina was, this is where we wanted to stay. It’s the heart and soul of the city and we always prefer to experience something traditional and atmospheric over something standard and modern.

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Be More Adventurous

Last month I wrote about Things I’d Never Do Again When Travelling and I was genuinely surprised by a lot of the responses I got. Comments like “I would never do that” and “you’re much braver than me” had me thinking…me? Brave? Really?!

Apart from the time I was almost mugged in Namibia, I have never thought of myself as a brave person. I’m just a reserved little lady who likes experiencing new things! Whether it’s visiting somewhere I’ve never been before or an adrenaline-pumping activity, I always jump at the chance to do something I’ve never done before. The name of the blog is, after all, Mrs Ayla’s Adventures, so it’s only right that Mr Ayla and I give you lots of adventures to read about!

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Skydiving in Namibia

Things I’d Never Do Again When Travelling

Free from the responsibilities of home life and wanting to experience as much as we can, we all lose our inhibitions a bit when we travel. We become more confident, more adventurous and a lot more courageous, doing things we would never usually do at home. I always try to avoid saying no to something new which makes the possibilities endless when travelling.  But it also means that in amongst all the fantastic experiences, there are bound to be a few not so fantastic experiences too.

Aside from the time we were almost mugged in Namibia , I have never really written about anything negative on the blog.  I’m generally a very positive and easily pleased girl and, to be honest, we’ve been amazingly lucky and haven’t really had many bad experiences on our travels.  But there are a few things that I can say I would never ever do again.

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