NYC for $200!

My girlfriend and I LOVE NYC, so this was a fun trip for both of us! My flight on American was booked with half price Amex points (you pay with points and get 50% back). But I had to make a change, so it cost me $200 for the fare difference. We stayed at the Intercontinental on Times Square, which cost $415 per night but we paid with IHG points. Going for four nights to NYC for about $200 sounds good to me!  (:

Here’s our hotel with a view of the Hudson!

I’d never been inside the iconic New York Library, which is the 2nd largest in the US, with 53 million items! The year before it was finished (1910) 75 miles of bookshelves were built and it took one year to move all the books!

Regardless of your politics, a visit to the Trump Tower is interesting…it reminded me of the Middle East, with glitz and gold.

We both have visited before, so we wanted to do some different things this time. I’ve always loved the structure of the Brooklyn Bridge, which is 134 years old, so we walked across it one day. Here are some fun facts about it: each tower weighs 90,000 tons, it rises three inches when it’s cold, and there are 14,000 miles of wire used in the bridge!

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side, and we did this one day. 

 Of course, when in NYC, you must go to a Broadway production, so we went to see “Beautiful,” the musical about Carole King’s life and it was excellent! And a visit to Times Square was easy because our hotel was right there. Did you know Times Square is not a square shape, but a bowtie with two triangles meeting?!

And the food in the city is extraordinary, so we ate and ate and ate! We also walked and walked and walked, so it all balanced out! Some places we ate: Juliana’s Pizza in Brooklyn, Sarabeth’s for brunch, and Eataly for fantastic Italian food!

Central Park is a must visit also…

 Next up, my summer trip…

Marrakech…the BEST!

(This is the last of my Morocco trip report).

We stopped at Todra gorge on the way to our hotel that night, before heading out to Marrakech the next day.

We enjoyed a drive through the high Atlas Mountains…

Our riad in Marrakech was wonderful and very centrally located, steps from the souk!

Marrakech was my favorite city in Morocco! Some of the places we visited were the Bahia Palace, Jardin Marjorelle, and Jemaa el Fnaa (the huge square on the edge of the medina). And, of course, lots of last minute shopping in the souk!

Our final dinner together was at La Mamounia, a “palace hotel.” It has been welcoming guests since 1923. We walked around the gardens, which were gifted to Prince Al Mamoun as a wedding present in the 18th century.

We were sad to leave Morocco, but hope to come back some day!

Next up, girls’ getaway in NYC! 

“Glamping” in the Sahara!

Our desert safari was absolutely amazing! On our drive there, we went through the “Switzerland of Morocco” in the Atlas Mountains.

When we arrived, Iddir met us with the camels for a trek during sunset to our camp. I will let the pictures do the talking…

Our tent was basic, but it had all we needed, hot water for a shower and electricity for charging devices! We had a delicious evening meal, Berber music around the campfire, and the BEST breakfast of the trip! The Berber people are pre-Arab and have a rich cultural heritage.

And a return the next morning by camel, of course!

We then visited an oasis in the small village – it was HUGE and they are all over Morocco. Families have a plot of land to grow produce and water comes from a well through a viaduct.

We bought Berber carpets, handmade by Berber women. 

Fes = Fantastic Shopping!

On our trip to Morocco, traveling from Chefchaouen (which I LOVED) to Fes made for a somewhat long day, but we had some interesting stops along the way. Our first stop was Volubilis, a Roman ruin dating to 225 BC. It was great to stretch our legs and just take in the views of the countryside!

Another stop was the city of Meknes, where we saw the Bab Mansour gate, the most famous of twenty gates leading into the walls. The Arabic inscription at the top reads in part, “I am the most beautiful gate in Morocco.”

The restaurant in Meknes where we ate lunch and the view out the window! 

In Fes, our riad (traditional Moroccan house) was at the edge of the medina (historic old town with high walls and the market or souk) and here are some photos…

The next day we explored Fes with a guide, which was included in our tour. Some of the places we went were a pottery cooperative shop, a tannery, and the Royal Palace Gate. The king of Morocco has many palaces (and gates) and is well respected because of his efforts to modernize the country, according to our driver.

One thing noticeable about Morocco was the very real presence of police…I never felt unsafe. And there are LOTS of tourists from all over Europe. And we loved shopping the specialty shops in Fes, ie, leather and pottery! 

Next up, our desert safari adventure, ie, glamping!