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!

Morocco =WOW!

What can I say about Morocco? It was absolutely FANTASTIC! I ended up flying economy on Delta via a paid ticket because my dates were not flexible and I needed to arrive/depart from different cities.  ): 

But my son, who works overseas, met me and we spent the week together, and we hadn’t traveled together in a few years, so that made it extra special (and worth flying economy)!   

I researched tours via Trip Advisor and picked one I liked, which was Marvelous Morocco Tours, and they were MARVELOUS! It’s owned by a young Moroccan named Iddir, and has only been in business for a few years. I told him where I wanted to go (again some research) and he emailed back with a customized itinerary. Just the two of us had our own driver, with airport pickup/delivery and all hotels, meals, and tours included for $900 per person, not including lunch, which we thought was a great deal! I highly recommend them – http://www.marvelous-moroccotours.com/ OR email Iddir at marvelousmoroccotours@gmail.com.

We arrived in Casablanca and were met by Rachid in a new Toyota four wheel drive, our “home” for the next nine days. We saw Rick’s Café from the movie, Casablanca, and the mosque there, before arriving at our hotel that evening. Our hotel was right by the water and was sumptuous, as you can see!

The next day was a long travel day to Chefchaouen, located in northwest Morocco. We stopped in Rabat, the capital city, and visited Hassan Tower and the Mohammed V mausoleum. Hassan Tower is part of an incomplete mosque, built in 1195 AD.

Chefchaouen is a small village in the Rif Mountains, which is all painted in shades of BLUE! It’s not only the houses, but government buildings, lampposts and even trash cans! Why is it painted blue? The custom dates back to the 15th century, when Jewish refugees fleeing the Spanish Inquisition settled in large numbers in Chaouen, as the locals call it. They brought with them their tradition of painting things blue to mirror the sky and remind them of God. It was one of my very favorite places in Morocco and we wish we’d stayed longer. We were located at the top of the village, within walking distance of everything. Here are some pictures, including our blue guesthouse, where we had one of the BEST meals of the trip! I will let the pictures do the talking…

 Next up, Fes…

 PS I’ve noticed all these CAPS and exclamation marks! Morocco REALLY deserves it! 

Girls’ Beach Getaway via SW Companion Pass

One of the perks of the Southwest Companion Pass is that you can change companions three times a year. What better way to plan a long weekend at the beach with a girlfriend?

We flew to Harlingen, rented a car, and drove to South Padre Island, staying at the Holiday Inn a block from the beach using points+cash! The first order of business was some delicious fish tacos at Pier 19, which was the old bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

After driving to the end of the road on 100, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

The next day was shopping, the beach, and some sightseeing. We enjoyed the Sea Turtle Hospital and the Birding and Nature Center.

Overall, it was a great trip despite the wind! And next up, Spring Break in Morocco!

 

Frankfurt and home via Lufthansa!

(This is part of a trip report to the South Pacific, flying Singapore Airlines and Etihad first class and Lufthansa business class home! This summer trip had a value of $33,996 and we paid $3,996 for all these flights/hotels plus lots of miles and points!)

This is the last of my summer trip report. Thanks for coming along on the journey!

We took our fourth and last chauffeur ride in Frankfurt to our hotel, an IHG booked with points (with a value of $456)! We were glad to get a room that looked out on the Main River. We had been there before, so we just enjoyed walking around the city…

The next day we flew home on Lufthansa, using 52,000 miles and paying $323 for a business class ticket, with a value of $5,793! It was a great flight with the nicest flight attendants, one who alerted us we were flying over Greenland!

I love to travel, but there’s nothing quite like “home sweet home!” 

Next up, girlfriend getaway on the beach via SW Companion Pass!