Honey-Moon that is.
Both Neil and I are getting itchy feet again, and the uncertainty around my work situation has meant that we’ve had to keep our travel planning fairly limited in terms of destination and duration.
So what does one do when they can’t plan for a vacation in the immediate future? Plan for one in the not-so-immediate future instead. We booked the major airfare and a custom, private tour for the first part of our honeymoon over the weekend!
The plan is to fly out of Tofino either Sunday evening (March 30) or Monday Morning (March 31) back to Vancouver. The evening of the 31st, we hop on another plane to Morocco! We’ve got a 12-day itinerary with a private guide and A/C Land Rover at our disposal for the duration (I’ll post details after the jump). After that, we’ll make our way across the water to Spain, and hopefully spend the next 6 days recuperating while lounging in a villa near the Costa del Sol before flying from Malaga back to Vancouver on April 18th.
So, of course I have questions for the intrepid globetrotters out there:
Killing Time: Have any of you been in the British Airways executive lounge at Heathrow? Is it worth the price of admission? Both arrival and departure flights have 3 hour layovers there, and the Heathrow cattle-pen isn’t really all that awesome for just hanging out in.
Also under the killing time umbrella, we’ve arranged for extended leisure time in Fes and Marrakech – any suggestions for must-see and don’t-bother sites? Same question for Southern Spain – though nothing too taxing of course.
Planes, Trains, Automobiles: If you’ve travelled between Africa and Spain, how did you get from point A to point B? Our options seem to be Plane or Train/Ferry. Plane is slightly more expensive (by $75 each or so). Ferry ride is 6 to 9 hours.
Home, Sweet Home: Any advice for places to stay in southern Spain? Must be self-catering, so we can privately gorge on Serrano ham and Sangria. Neil definitely wants something beachy, but we both agree that we’d prefer to be a little off the beaten path so we’re hopefully not lumped in with the droves of packaged-tour pink Brits who flock to the area to soak up the sun.
Wardrobe Crisis: Again, in an effort to be as inoffensive as possible, I’m looking for suggestions on what to wear in Morocco. The country is primarily Muslim (with a few Berbers and even fewer Christians thrown in for good measure) so I must be mostly covered. Other than stocking up on long linen pants and skirts and a large hat for the sun, what would y’all suggest? Bonus query: recommendations for comfortable, non-sneaker footwear?
Watch your Language: Between us we probably have enough French (which is similar enough to Spanish) to get by in that department. However, we’d love to get some Arabic under our belt before we go. Is there anywhere in Vancouver we can take some conversational Arabic classes – or a good “book on tape” program anyone can recommend?
Shutterbugs: We’ll need a new digital camera before we go. Something with enough power and options to take effective night pictures (remote control, long shutter speed settings), but not fancy enough to be inconvenient to carry or attract unwanted attention from those who’d prefer to relieve us of it.
Thanks in advance for answers to those, or any questions I’ve not thought of yet! And of course, after the jump, our Moroccan itinerary:
Day 1 – Marrakech
-Transfers to airport, free time to explore the Jemaa el Fna
Day 2 – Marrakech
-Moroccan Cooking Lesson
-Horse-drawn carriage Garden Tour
-Lecture on Moroccan History, religion or architecture (we haven’t chosen which yet)
Day 3 – Casablanca
-Travel to and City tour of Casablanca
-Transfer to Rabat
Day 4 – Rabat, Meknes, Volubilis, Fes
-Visit the sites of Meknes (creation of Moulay Ismail), Roman ruins of Volubilis, and on to Fes (this day honestly sounds kind of lame, but these things are on the way to Fes, so why not see them while we’re there)
Day 5, 6 – Fes
-Full day tour of Fes and its famous mosques, medersas and souks (Day 5)
-Day to continue to explore Fes on our own (Day 6) – an activity highly recommended by the folks on the Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor forums
Day 7 – Fes, Erfoud, Megzouga
-Leave Fes and drive through the Middle Atlas Mountains, stopping at the Midelt Nature Reserve for lunch, and heading into the High Atlas, then to the Ziz valley, arriving at Erfoud.
-4×4 drive to the sand-dunes, then trade the Land Rovers for Camels and head into the desert for a sunset ride.
-Spend the night in a Berber camp, sleeping under the stars (this is why we want the ability to take low-light pictures)
Day 8 – Merzouga, Erfoud, Ouarzazate
-Back the way we came via camel/4×4 and onward through the High Atlas and Anti Atlas landscape – alternating desolation and oasis.
Day 9 – Ouarzazate, Marrakech
-Visit Kasbahs and Ait Benhaddou (filming location for Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, etc.)
-Back to Marrakech where we’re left to our own devices for the rest of the day
Day 10 – Marrakech
-Medina and Mosque tours in the morning
-Souk tours in the afternoon
Day 11 – Marrakech
-More horse-drawn carriage tours to the olive groves and subtropical botanical gardens, afternoon at leisure
Day 12 – Marrakech, departure
-Check out, find our way to Spain.