Tag Archive: morocco


We’ve been to Africa twice before, visiting Egypt & South Africa. They were completely different experiences to say the least, and completely different worlds. I still rate Cape Town as one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful city I’ve ever visited. I’d be interested to know which cities in the world people think are more, but that’s always up for debate, and a matter of opinion. Since moving to the EU, I said I wanted to visit Morocco, but never pulled the trigger. Then after speaking with my cousin, and finding out she also wanted to see Morocco, I then had no excuse and had to do it. Some tickets came up, I booked them, and that was that. We decided on Marrakech simply because we wanted to fly direct, and have never heard much great about Casablanca. And we’re off…

Landing in Marrakech, connected with my cousin and her husband, and off to the hotel….sorry, the Riad. Unless staying outside the Medina, you are most likely to stay in a Riad, which is a private home that has been converted into a hotel, which can have anywhere from 4-20 rooms usually. Our choice mainly was done because a spa was connected to it, and we wanted to experience that before we left. The Riad was located in a maze of alleyways and streets that thankfully were made easier by a guide from the hotel who met us at the perimeter to grab our bags. So after following him, and checking in, we wanted to go for a stroll and get some dinner. The medina is not that large, but you can get lost quite easily. We found our way to the main market/square, where every night most locals get their dinner, and shop after shop is trying to convince you to eat at their place of business. We eventually sat down at one, just so we didn’t have to listen to them anymore. We tried all the local food, which was good, but in the end, WAY overpriced and quite honestly a rip off. They came up with prices out of thin air and then begged for tips afterward…not my type of scene. Was glad to get out of there.

Day 2 we wanted to see as much as we could, do some shopping, drink some beers, eat some local food, and relax. We did it all. I’m going to explain what we did in pictures instead of script since I don’t know the history behind most things in Morocco. One thing I can say is that we ended the night at dinner at a local restaurant that was on top of a roof, and it was fantastic. Once again, a local guide lead us back to our hotel since Marrakech is an eerie place at night, especially in the Medina.

Our flight was late home on Sunday, so we definitely wanted to have a hamman, a spa, before we left. The facilities next to the Riad were well-known in the area, so we figured it must be good. IT WAS. I had a scrub with local muds that pretty much ripped a whole layer of skin off, but pretty sure it was good for me and it felt fantastic. I also got a massage in a wet steam room, which was a bit strange to get used to, but by the end I was relaxed and felt extremely clean. I think relaxed for about 45 minutes in a cold, calm room with Annemarie while we sipped on local tea and ate cookies.

We then pushed off, but not after getting our customary magnet for the country visited, and picking up a Moroccan lamp for our future daughters room. Our house is going to look like a time warp once we settle somewhere for more than 5 years.

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Now bring on 2010! After looking at my travel this year, I traveled close to 75,000 miles this year. Not bad, and I don’t think I’ll travel that much in a year again for a long time, but then again, you never know. I still hope to keep up on my “countries visited” pace and still see 50 before our family starts to multiply. With 18 countries to go, I better get a move on.

2009 added Macau, Hong Kong, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Finland, Denmark and Sweden to the countries visited list. In 2010, I’d like to add Malta, Portugal, Morocco and South Africa. I think we’ll also finally get Iceland onto the list, and possibly a trip down to South America, possibly before relocating to Europe next fall. After going through a lot of books, research, and information provided by friends, I think Europe is the place for me. And now with the core of my business being over in the EU, it only makes sense that I’m over there…and hopefully located in Barcelona.

If that happens, I’ll pass my goal of 50 countries visited easy, and would push more for 75 with the easy accessibility of European countries. You can pretty much be anywhere in 2 hours 😉

Of course I also fly domestically, and I still have 8 states that I have not visited yet. In no particular order: North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Montana, Hawaii and Alaska. Now that AA has opened up some direct flights to South Dakota and Alaska, both of those could be on the docket pretty soon. I fully believe that the last two states I’ll ever be in will be Hawaii and Oklahoma, which I never really see a reason to visit. If there is an e-saver one weekend and the Bulls are playing the Thunder, I might make the trip for a night. I haven’t visited many “new” states over the last 5 years, with really only Wyoming and Idaho being checked off. I also checked off another Canadian Province this year when we visited Vancouver. I’m looking at quick trips to Montreal for the weekend to knock off Quebec, but the rest will be interesting.

I actually know someone in Saskatchewan and Manitoba now, so maybe I can knock them off as well. Seeing every part of North America I think would be a nice accomplishment (sans Central America). Plenty of travel to be had.

With that, our main concern for Cape Town was to secure a otel that we could walk to the stadium and not have to grab cabs to hit the nightlife. I think we accomplished that as you can see on the map where our hotel is versus the little black circle, which is where the stadium is. WOOT