Morocco ~ Getting there

Thursday, April 29th ~ Rabat, Morocco

Beautiful gardens at Villa Mandarine

Beautiful gardens at Villa Mandarine

We took our time getting here which was nice. A long flight from LAX to London where we were surprised to have someone meet us as we exited the airplane and personally escort us through the fast track lane for in-transit and security checkpoint. It made the transfer so smooth. Still not sure how or why we were met, but it sure was fun feeling like a VIP. 

I’m guessing it had more to do with a short connection time than us being special, but loved the service none-the-less 🙂

The flight to Madrid was uneventful followed by a short taxi ride to our pre-booked hotel, Clement Barajas. I can recommend this reasonable hotel if you need something close to the airport. The staff was friendly and professional, room modest but clean, buffet breakfast good, no charge for mini-bar water and soda as well as free shuttle back to the airport.

The next day a short flight from Madrid brought us to Casablanca, we had intended on taking the train on to Rabat. After customs formalities and claiming our luggage we made our ATM withdrawal for some Moroccan Dirham. Tim then stopped at the Maroc Telecom kiosk to get a SIM card for his phone. Our T-Mobile phone will work for us in Portugal and Spain, but not here in Morocco. Turned out to be a bargain for $20 (200 Dirham) for one month, 10 Gig plan, so I also got one for my iPad.

While we were waiting for the chips to be installed and activated, a man walked up to me and asked if we were traveling with a Gate 1 tour. He turned out to be the local Gate 1 rep and was actually looking for another traveler. But, since he found us, he kindly helped arrange a private van to take us to our hotel.

Ahh, it is so nice when everything just effortlessly comes together…

The Villa Mandarine Hotel here in Rabat is lovely. Pattern tile floors covered periodically with hand-woven carpets lead us to our spacious and colorful room with private patio.

Villa Mandarine Hotel

Villa Mandarine Hotel

Bathroom at Villa Mandarine

Bathroom at Villa Mandarine

Moroccan linen are gloriously soft and inviting. Gorgeous garden setting with multi-colored flowers growing like weeds and even a resident peacock strutting about displaying his feathered finery.

Peacock showing off his spectacular feathers

Peacock showing off his spectacular feathers

Arriving a day ahead of our group allowed us the luxury of simply relaxing in this beautiful setting. Tim read on the patio and watched a plate sized tortoise dig a nest only a few feet from him while I read and napped on those amazing linens.

Patio setting

Patio setting



Tonight we finally met the 17 other members of our group and our new tour guide, Ham. After a warm welcome, a bit of a briefing and introductions, we proceeded to the dining room for our first traditional Moroccan dinner.

But tomorrow is where the actual touring begins.

Stay tuned to see what Morocco has in store for us…

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for safe and smooth traveling and the kindness of others. We are off to a very nice start.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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11 Responses to Morocco ~ Getting there

  1. Karen says:

    Beautiful place. Not the same as where our Gate 1 tour stayed, which was a big high rise. Yours seems more quaint and in a peaceful setting. Is there a lot to do around it? Enjoy your tour. You’ll have photo opportunities by the millions. Question — I think my photos on the blog are smaller than they were last year. I’m not doing anything different. Any thoughts as to why?

    Have fun and thanks for peeing for me today!! Love, Karen

    Sent from Karen’s iPad


    • Hi Karen,
      Our hotel is about a 10 minute drive from the old part of town, and no, there is not anything close by. There is shuttle service provided this evening for those who want to go back into town for dinner or shopping at the medina. Love the property itself as it was very conducive for relaxing and resting up yesterday but not centrally located in the historic district like we would normally chose. I’ll see if I can come up with some hints for you to change your photo size and send you a text message later or we can FaceTime. And there is just no way to properly respond to your “thanks” comment other than to say “your welcome”. Also no way to explain it either 🙂 Hope you are holding up well walking the Camino!!!


  2. Anne Jorgensen says:

    HI J and T, As usual, your writing is great, makes everything so alluring and so tempting. These photos are super, I am totally ready to sign us up… which specific Gate 1 Discovery trip (15 day morrocon allure?) is this and did you double it up ( back to back) with another? makes me ready to roll right out ( altho right now I can’t – I am in difficult times here,in the midst of recovering from fractured back Easter weekend, and back surgery last week… but I need/want to plan and get my mind moving forward !)

    we have had Morocco on our list and following you is good for my soul (imagining and wandering afar from my bedroom makes me smile) far it looks great. … I do know you might not have time to respond while traveling… but I will be eager to keep reading your posts. all our best for a safe and fabulous trip, hugs Anne ( and Craig)


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Anne, and wow, I am so shocked and sorry to hear about your fractured back. What a horrible thing to go through. I hope that Craig is taking excellent care of you and spoiling you rotten. Yes, it it the Discovery Moroccan Allure tour. So far very impressed with our guide, Ham, and the smaller size group. I know it is only our first true tour day, but we are off to a great start. Yes, we are taking a back to back again by adding the 10 day Portugal trip after we complete this leg. We will have four days in-between where we are renting an AirBnB in Porto. Sending hugs and best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery for you. Big hugs for you and Craig. ~ JJ


  3. janet oates says:

    What a osais you arrive to! Enjoy your day of leisure.


  4. larrymuffin says:

    A very pleasant journey to you both, Morocco is a very nice country to visit. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Merrill says:

    Wow! It looks very lovely! A nice retrreat and reception. The garden flower photos are gorgeous. Anxious to follow along with you.


  6. ardysez says:

    Love the looks of the Villa Mandarine Hotel–modern but full of character. So glad for your good travel experience, goodness knows there are some of the other kind along the way at times.


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