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 – OR email Iddir at

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! 

Abu Dhabi, St. Regis + Etihad!

(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 has a value of $33,996 and we paid $3,996 for all these flights/hotels plus lots of miles and points!)

When we arrived in Abu Dhabi, our chauffeur took us to the St. Regis. We could have used points to stay at this Starwood hotel, but prices are so inexpensive there in the summer, we paid for our two nights. It was great to get early check-in and here are some pictures of this amazing property!

 I had read about the grand mosque and really wanted to visit, so I took a cab there. The design, architecture, and opulence of this $545 million building are unreal! It covers 30 acres and was finished in 2007, built by the late president of the UAE. More than 40,000 people can be accommodated inside and it has the world’s largest carpet, which weighs 35 tons! The chandeliers have millions of Swarovski crystals and the marble walls and floors are inlaid with floral designs made from mother of pearl. Take a look…

One day we went to the Emirates Palace for tea. It’s a luxury hotel which describes itself as, “Beyond five stars.”

 Another day we went to the Hyatt Capital Gate, which leans eighteen degrees, AKA, the “Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi.” We went to 18 Degrees, the Hyatt restaurant on the 18th floor. Later, we got a tour of the Hyatt hotel, which occupies floors 18-33. (That’s a lot of 18’s)!

Our third chauffeur ride was to the airport to experience the brand new Etihad First Class lounge before our last flight to Frankfurt! We had a complementary spa treatment and breakfast.