Thursday, April 29th ~ Rabat, Morocco
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.
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.
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.
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.