Author: Elisabeth And Teije
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Early we set off for Schiphol, where we will take the airplane to Marrakech. We are in for a new experience. 13 years ago, Teije visited Morocco for the last time, for me it's the first time outside Europe. Two years ago I have seen Africa in the distance, looking from the rock of Gibraltar, but this will be the first time I will really visit the continent and hopefully not for the last time!
- 7 September 2003 - The journey to Marrakech
- 8 September - Walking through the Medina
- 9 September 2003 - The Kasbah, Saadian tombs, El Bahia palace
- 10 September 2003 - The Palmeraie and the Majorelle garden
- 11 September - A night at Jemaa el Fna square
- 12 September 2003 - Dar si Saïd museum, sandstorm
- 13 September 2003 - Menara, Mamounia hotel
- 14 September 2003 - To Asni in the High Atlas
- 15 September 2003 - Walking through the souks
- 16 September - The journey back home
7 September 2003 - The journey to Marrakech
We often park the car near a railway station in Almere, but today we try to find out if we can park the car nearer to Schiphol. The last bit we travel by train to avoid traffic jams near Amsterdam. This is much cheaper than going by train all the way from Groningen. After some searching we arrive at Weesp and it is only 25 minutes by train to Schiphol instead of 50 minutes from Almere.
We are much too early, but we can already check in. But then we have to wait for the airplane to arrive. No plane in sight when we are supposed to take off and no mention of a delay. So we sit and wait in a nearby restaurant.
After a delay of almost 2 hours we can finally leave. It is almost 5 o'clock and we left Groningen this morning at 9. I have a nice seat near a window, but the passenger before me has missed his vomit bag and the whole seat smells and makes me feel sick. I even have to clean the safety belt with water.
Another annoying things is the fact that we make a detour via Milano, Italy. We knew that beforehand, but with the delay we will arrive quite late in Morocco.
After an hour in Milano, where many people leave the plane and many new passengers arrive, we have a beautiful view of the sunset above the clouds.
Finally we land in Casablanca and immediately the world is different than our western culture: no signs telling where we have to go and nobody who seems to know. Finally we find our way and it turns out we have missed our connection flight to Marrakech. The next flight is delayed because of our delay. We ask what happens with our luggage but according to the woman we ask, it will be automatically send to Marrakech. We have our doubts.
A third time we have to take off and land again, I still don't like it. Flying itself doesn't scare me, but three times a day is a bit too much for me. I am really glad when we have arrived at Marrakech and can walk on the ground. It takes a very long time before we can pass the customs, but I get another stamp in my passport.
The luggage is already rolling for half an hour, but as Teije suspected, our luggage is not there; he has experience with transfer flights in Arabian countries. We are already very tired and than this happens; it doesn't feel good. After another half hour at the lost luggage office we can finally step outside. Yes, I am in Africa.
When we step out of the airport the heat is blowing into our faces. It is 11 at night, local time, 1 o'clock Dutch time. Our trip has taken us 16 hours, we are tired and without luggage. At least it is warm, 28 degrees. Teije immediately starts arguing with a cabdriver and we have to pay night fare for the transportation to our hotel (100 dirham, about € 10). I knew that traffic here would me more chaotic than in Europe but I am not prepared at all for the terrifying drive we make into the centre. Scooters, bicycles, donkey carts and cars seem to race next to each other, narrowly missing each other; keeping distance doesn't seem to be tolerated and pedestrians are clearly the weakest link here! I now totally feel exhausted when we arrive at our hotel.
We stay in hotel Le Grand Sud on the Boulevard El Mansour Eddabhi in the new centre (Gueliz). Since our trip was so cheap we had expected a small and unpretentious hotel, but we have quite a large place, with a separate sitting room, bedroom, bathrooms and a kitchen with a stove and a refrigerator. And a nice balcony. I feel quite happy with the place and fortunately I am too tired to worry about our luggage. That's something we will look into tomorrow.
We are also too tired to go to bed immediately, so we go out to a bar to have a drink. Wonderful, finally we can relax. Although we have been sitting and waiting most of the day, travelling can be quite exhausting. Amazed, we watch the traffic racing by, even at twelve the streets are full with all sorts of transportation. If they have traffic regulations at all here there can only be a few.
The time is two hours earlier than in Holland and at 1 local time we finally go off to bed.
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