12:02 | May 12. 2020

How to visit the Tanneries of Morocco

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Chouara Tannery is one of the three tanneries in the city of Fez, Morocco. Built-in the 11th century, it is the largest tannery in the city. It is located in the Fes el Bali, the oldest medina quarter of the city, near the Saffarin Madrasa along the river. 

Process

Visiting the ancient Tannery of Fes in Morocco offers such a unique experience into the natural process of producing leather. The process has not changed since the medieval times and requires the hides (cow, camel, goat and sheepskin) to be soaked in quicklime, water, salt and cow's urine. This helps to soften the skin and get rid of any leftover hair and fat on the skins, before being transferred into the water.

The hides are cleaned with the help of 'smoothing' pigeon faeces. 

Workers stand barefoot in vats and knead the skins with their feet, to soften them up, which requires great strength and stamina.

Natural flowers and plants are added and then mixed with water to obtain the beautiful colours. Mint, for example, is used to achieve a green colour; cedarwood for brown; henna for orange; saffron for yellow; indigo for blue; and poppy flowers for red.

Pungent Smell

Due to the mix of animal faeces, there will be strong pungent smell upon your visit. Mint is provided by some of the viewing points but be sure to be clear and firm, if you do not want to purchase this.

Scams to Avoid

As there are many shop owners in competition with one another, there are many scams that make tourists very vulnerable during their visit.

Visiting the shops - The owners/workers will try usher you up winding staircases, to be shown thousands of bags and shoes to buy. Do not worry about saying no, or potentially hurting someone's feelings. Be firm and stand your ground and your message will be clearly understood.

If you hear any the following comments, ignore and politely decline. 

" Street is closed" 

"Shop is closed"

" Let me show you the way"

"I can provide you with the cheapest price"

" We have the best view of the tannery"

Remember! 

You have the freedom to visit any shop/tannery and there are no rules on how long you can/cannot stay. This is tactic is commonly used a lot, to move tourists in and out of the medina, so keep this in mind when visiting.

I hope you've been able to take away some tips from this post ready for your trip to Morocco. 

See you guys in the next post. 

K, xx

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18:00 | April 17. 2020

Chefchaouen | Moroccos Blue City

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As a lot of us are spending time more time at home, due to the recent pandemic. I thought I would take this opportunity to post some of my travel photography during my travels around Morocco.

At the beginning of our journey, our route led us to Chefchaouen, situated in the northwest of Morocco. The city is famously known for its blue-washed buildings, which stands out against the striking lush green backdrop, in the Rif mountains. The blue powdered paint was believed to be used as a form of repellent for mosquitoes, as well as a way of keeping their homes cool during the cooler months. Although, many locals culturally believe, it symbolizes the sky and heaven.

Amongst the cobbled lanes, you can find leather and weaving workshops, many markets, home furnishings and local patisserie shops. If you arrive on a Monday or Thursday, you can experience the real local markets and you can pick up many different types of fruits, vegetables, and personal goods all at very good prices.

When visiting the restaurants & cafés, make sure to try the traditional Moroccan mint tea and the many different varieties of tagine upon your visit here.

Love K, xx

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12:24 | March 6. 2019

Beach Days | Conil De La Frontera Spain

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Good Morning all, I thought I'd give you a quick update as its been a while since I've posted here.

These photos were taken at Conil de la Frontera in Spain, as Josh and I made our way along the coast towards the Ferry Port. We are slowly making our way to Morroco which is very very exciting. We needed some downtime on the beach as we had been busy preparing our route and all the sites we want to see along the way. Applying for tickets, new insurances and preparing our required documents for the van. Stocking up on supplies, planning extended visas for our 3month overstay and sending a box back to France, so we have a little more room play within the van. The list has been endless but we know this is going to be a trip of a lifetime in a country we've wanted to visit for so long.

Morocco is a country rich in history, tradition and culture, authentic food, Architecture and of course the welcoming hospitality of the locals.

Look forward to updating the blog with our new adventures.

Love, K xx

 

 

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15:00 | February 10. 2019

How to Visit the Benagil Caves | Portugal

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Good Morning Loves. How are you all on this Sunday afternoon? I got soo many messages and comments about my recent Instagram post of our visit to Bengali Caves. It was also reposted on some of the Portugal Tourism boards which promote areas of Portugal and particularly the Algarve area. I was pretty shocked to wake up to a combined total of over 6000 likes on the photo and stream of messages. I have had a lot of people asking me how we managed to visit the cave on our own and without lots of tourists. So, I thought it would only be fair to share some tips on how to get there, what you can do, and how to enjoy this beautiful Sea cave in its true beauty. Benagil is a small fishing village on the south coast of the Algarve. It is mainly famous for the Algar de Benagil Caves, the surrounding beaches and coastal walks along the Atlantic ocean. There is so much to explore by climbing the caves from up above or to simply relax at one of the stunning beaches during your visit. Benagil cave is located next to Praia de Benagil (Benagil Beach), between Portimao, Albufeira, and Lagoa. 

Options of getting to the Cave

Swimming to the Caves | Price – Free
The best time to swim in the caves is between 7am10am before the boat tours start arriving. ( You cannot swim to the caves after this time due to safety reasons). Please check with the locals before doing so and view the red & green traffic system on the beach for safety). I would only recommend this if you are a strong sea swimmer as the currents are extremely strong, although the swim is only 100 meters long.

Stand up Paddle Board (SUP)| Price – 30 Euro Per Person
We rented these from the main beach at Praia de Benagil. You can rent the boards and paddle for 30 Euros at a duration of 1 hour. Josh and I shared a double paddle board for half the price ( 30 Euros for 2 persons). We also took a dry bag to store our DSLR and to be able to get the photography shots

Boat Trips | Prices – Various Per Location
You can board boats directly from Praia de Benagil. The trips are very popular during the summer months and you may find yourself waiting for a very long time or at worst boats being sold out. ( Please arrive early or book online to avoid disappointment). As a second option, you are able to board boats using a variety of different boat companies from at the following locations. Armação de Pêra, Lago and Carvoeiro. This would make it easier and to avoid disappointment.

Viewing the cave from above | Price – Free

If you are someone who is tight on a budget and unable to swim directly to the cave, the next best option is to view the caves from up above. You can explore the area on foot by climbing the rocks above Bengali caves and view directly down into the hole. This gives you more of an advantage as you can explore the coastal paths and view other small caves on Route. As well as this you can discover hidden beaches and have views of the Atlantic ocean.

Tip – It’s also a great place to watch the sunset.

If any of you have any further question please don’t hesitate to write them in the comments below and I’ll try to help.

Speak Soon Love, K xxx

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19:00 | February 3. 2019

Porto Covo – Alentejo, Portugal

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Hey Loves. I've missed updating my blog and you guys of my travel journey. A lot has been happening and if I'm being honest, we have been planning our next travel destinations, focussing on fitness and health and worrying about the possible Brexit implications to our van life journey.

As you all know it can be difficult for me to update my blog daily as I am solely relying on the solar panels on our van for electricity. Which makes editing photography and updating posts much more difficult. Especially in the cooler months when there is less sun to top up the charge. So... I  just want to say big thanks to those of you who follow me and have messaged me to say they are patiently waiting for my next posts. Thank you for understanding 🙂

So...Here are some photos of our time in Porto Covo in Portugal. It's a small pretty village with a wide stretch of golden sand backed by high cliffs.
There are many beaches where you can explore in this area as well as surfing or simply relax with the views of the Atlantic coast. Josh and I explored the area by bike and witnessed the different rock formations and hidden beaches in this area. The weather was pretty cool but on the plus side, it meant we could explore the area by ourselves without a crowd of tourists. Such a great experience even if it was a bit chilly.

We need to appreciate these moments whilst we can take in all aspects of the beauty. I would suggest heading here either side of the holiday season, to truly enjoy this paradise

See you in the next post.

Love K xx

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13:10 | January 17. 2019

Vila Nova de Milfontes Beach | Portugal

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Good Afternoon Loves. I thought I would share some photos of our time in Vila Nova de Milfontes Beach. I drove the VW and found us a new spot with the perfect beach view ( Josh normally likes to take control the driving, but I decided to take rain of the controls today. ;-)) We pretty much relaxed here and enjoyed the views of the beach from the van. Later on, we took our bikes out for a spin around the village and around the other side of the beach. Hidden around the corner where some of our vanlifer friends from Germany. It was nice to catch up with them and we arrange to meet back up with them in the future. In the morning we made Smoothie bowls filled with Banana, papaya, porridge oats, goji berries, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and desiccated Smoothie.  We ate them right on the beach and after we got in some cardio exercise to.

The drone shot gives a better perspective of the beautiful beach we visited.

Speak Soon

Love K xxx

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7:30 | January 13. 2019

The end of the World | Sagres, Portugal

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Morning All. How have you all been? Joshua and I are currently in Lagos whilst I am writing this and we are currently planning our future travels for 2019. We are torn between two places but I won't give away to much just yet, as I want to take you along the journey through my photography.

After new years, we started our journey in the southwest corner of Portugal in Sagres. This is a wonderful place to visit with stunning views of the ocean and a chance to explore the area by the coastal walk. We rode our bicycles along and stopped at a lovely beach bar for lunch. This area isn't overly busy so if you like calm and peace this is the perfect place for you to unwind. This place was originally known as the end of the world because the Europeans thought it existed before the 15th Century. For thousands of years, it was believed that this was the end of the world and just beyond the horizon the earth dropped off into a black hole.

For our camp spot, Joshua and I found a place through the App park 4-night app however, this place was overly crowded and was full of campervans, RVs and trailers. This wasn't exactly how we imagined spending our time here, so we decided to do a bit more exploring to find the perfect spot. After cycling through the day we found a place just 5-minute drive from where we were parked. The views were incredible and we had this amazing view of the ocean. We got to watch a handful of fisherman hanging off the cliff face trying to catch some fish and in the ocean was some surfers trying to catch the next wave.

Joshua made a small fire and cooked sweet potatoes to go along with our mango and avocado salad. I made and a homemade vegan sauce using some cashews, oat milk and herbs to go alongside. We ended up staying here for x2 nights as it was just so magical.

We both feel so lucky to be able to experience these moments like this together

Location: - Sagres, The End of the world

Note: -I won't give the exact location to avoid ruining the beauty of this place and becoming overcrowded. If you really want to find this spot, you can do some research and you will find some clue through my photos.

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7:00 | January 12. 2019

Barão de São João | The best Hippie Market in the Algarve

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*** Update - This market is no longer running in  Portugal***

Barão de São João is a hippie market-based in the Algarve of Portugal and runs every last Sunday of every month. It is one of the most energetic, colourful, vibrant and loving markets I have ever been too and the memories of this place will stay with me forever.

The market is situated in the small village and unites groups of mainly vandwellers who escaped 'normal' society. They collectively meet here to share their handcrafted goods amongst the laughs, smiles and love. The market is international and we met people from all different walks of life from Israel, France, Germany, UK and Portugal to name a few. We even bumped into a lot of other vandwellers we met along our journey and it was as though the community had gathered here altogether, to enjoy this incredible event.

The market is run by vandwellers who can pitch and sell their items for free and is open to anyone who wants to have a go at selling their pieces or share their unique talent. Some people do this for a living either full time or part time, to provide an income whilst travelling on the road. One lady was selling her services as a hairdresser and she had a long queue outside her van which was lovely too see. Another gentlemen were selling on the spot poetry from his typewriter and would share individual poems to the receiver and read the heartwarming poems aloud in front of the crowds.

What can you find at the market?

- An array of Plant-based, vegetarian & Vegan Dishes
- Hand Crafted Jewellery made from Silver, Gold Oak and Wood Cork to name a few 
- Artists providing heartwarming performances and unique entertainment 
- Organic Fruit & Vegetables
- Lots of love and heart hugs from everyone 😀
- People playing instruments from the foot of their vans
- Unique and creative vans and vandwellers 
- Areas for children to get creative and bond 
- Paintings & Personalised handcrafts
- Services such as haircuts & Tattoos Poetry
- Alternative medicines such as Herbs & CBD oil
- Dancing around the Campfires and good singalong.

Location of the Market 

Date: Every 4th Sunday of every month.

Address: Sports area, Recinto do Polidesportivo, Barão de São João

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