starship - VT

starship VT

starship - VT

Although I have many and varied interests, travel is never far from my thoughts. I love reading and writing about travel. I never travel without a camera (or two) and a travel journal. While some view travel purely as a vacation and time for relaxation, I more often view it as an ongoing education -- a book with chapters I can't wait to read. At present, my wanderlust shows no signs of weakening. Every new passport stamp tells a story.

My very long time travel motto is taken from Michael Palin: "Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected for the rest of my life."

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca October 27th 2020

Saturday, October 19th Day 14 -- Our final day in sun-kissed Essaouira – the perfect weather here had been a wonderful gift which we had taken for granted. Regrettably, this day we will have little or no time to breathe in the fresh sea breezes or walk the charming, narrow lanes of its colorful medina. While I could easily have enjoyed more time in Essaouira, I also enjoy the anticipation that each day brings us more new discoveries and today to a much different city -- the city we'd only garnered a fleeting glimpse of before beginning our journey in Morocco 2 weeks earlier. We were truly coming full circle in the city of Casablanca. With our luggage packed and readied for pick up, we made our way down to the restaurant, The Fondouk, for our ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Essaouira September 13th 2020

On Thursday, October 17th, we arrived in the coastal city of Essaouira from the vibrant city of Marrakesh. As much as I enjoyed that great city, and even earlier visiting the red sand desert climes of the Sahara, I could't wait to be near the ocean again. Visiting Essaouira and reveling along her Atlantic shores is a panacea for anyone who, like me, cannot resist the siren call of the sea. Surprisingly, the strong draw I always feel for being near the ocean was nearly eclipsed by the charms of Essaouira’s terra firma. I knew then I would be forever under the spell of Essaouira. It combined all the features I find most interesting about any town – geographical beauty, history, architecture, culture, and most definitely a friendly disposition. Essaouira had all of these. Its medina, ... read more

Yesterday our excursion exploring some of the Ourika Valley had begun early and ended late. We welcomed a somewhat later wake up call on Day 12 (Thursday, October 17, 2019) -- the only problem was the wake up call never came, or did we sleep through it? We’ll never know but we were glad that we had set our own phone alarm just for situations like this. We had to scramble to do some last minute packing to make sure our luggage got placed outside of our hotel room for pickup before breakfast. Thankfully we had taken our showers the night before so we felt reasonably presentable for the day! We enjoyed our last breakfast at Hotel Opera Plaza’s La Rossini Restaurant where we managed to have time for omelets, fruit and coffee which was plenty ... read more

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - Day 11. We could have easily spent our second full day in Marrakesh discovering new sites in the “Red City” or spending more time at our favorite places seen the previous day. But the possibilities of going farther afield to see new sights and gather more experiences won out as usual when I have a choice. In this case a travel video I had seen enticed me to opt for a day excursion into the Ourika Valley. Beginning the day with an early wake up call and light breakfast, we were on the road by 8 am headed to our day’s destination. Traveling south and once more crossing the Plain of Haouz, our route backtracked some of the roads we had taken only days before when we were leaving the High ... read more

Good weather followed us every day so far, and Day 10 of our Moroccan adventure was no different although on this day the humidity could be keenly felt. An ambitious agenda was planned for our first full day in Marrakesh which is not surprising considering how much there is to see and do here. As mentioned in my preceding blog, the noise from the heavily congested roundabout traffic circle next to our hotel could have ruined a good night’s sleep, but didn’t thanks to the two pairs of heavy sliding doors leading to our balcony so our room was quiet. We were joined at breakfast in the Le Rossini International Restaurant by another member of our group. A buffet-style breakfast is served here each morning and included a variety of salads, cheeses, cold cuts, fruit and ... read more
Bahia Palace

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech April 29th 2020

Marrakesh --- just the name conjures up images of the exotic. A colorful tapestry weaving together not only the old and the new, but an intoxicating blend of cultural influences derived from the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa. Marrakesh has been called the “Jewel of Morocco” and it certainly seems to live up to its title. Marrakesh was one of the four ancient Imperial cities, once a celebrated capital that lies only 150 miles from the present-day capital of Rabat. Today this sprawling 4th largest city in Morocco seems to be growing in all directions. Founded around 1070 AD by Abu Bakr ibn Umar, a cousin to the then reigning Berber Almorovid king, Marrakesh was once a very important stop and trade center on caravan routes crisscrossing the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. It was at ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech April 18th 2020

We had arrived in the city of Ouarzazate, the name meaning "without noise,” in late afternoon the previous day. We spent our one and only night here at the lovely Ksar Ighnda which had been a memorable experience for me – the beautiful architecture of the ksar, the lush gardens surrounding the beautiful pool, the exceptionally good dinner, and the small though very comfortable room. It was yet another in the mix of interesting accommodation types chosen by our tour company and the Ksar Ighnda was one of my favorites. We’d had a relatively late wakeup call at 7:30 am on this sunny morning followed by breakfast in the larger dining room which was positioned to have a lovely view to the gardens and pool. After our meal we used the remaining free time to take ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Souss-Massa-Draâ » Ouarzazate March 25th 2020

It was going to be difficult to top the great experiences we had in the Erg Chebbi on the previous day and night -- our first camel ride, seeing the vivid sunset and moon rise from the crest of a red sand dune in the Sahara Desert, a night sky full of stars, glamping, and being well fed and entertained with music and dancing around the fire cauldron thanks to our hospitable Berber hosts. But before wandering off to our individual tents for that night, our guide, Larbi, had given us the exact time of sunrise the following morning. Since it would be the perfect ending to experience the desert light full circle from sunrise to moon rise, we didn’t want to miss it. Little by little, our fellow travelers emerged from their tents, obviously still ... read more
Sahara Sunrise

Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet » Rissani February 15th 2020

Nearly every day thus far in our journey around Morocco, like a good omen, good weather had followed us. Waking up on Day 7 in Erfoud, we found the weather was once again nearly perfect. The sun was shining, the skies were blue, and the air was warm and pleasant. In early morning, the Sahara has a subtle way of exerting its influence on its visitors -- an unhurried calmness which overtakes the senses while dreaming of what the day will bring. We always looked forward to the day's adventures, but it would be the evening that we most anticipated. Staying at the Kasbah Xaluca Maadid Hotel had been a delight as it was yet another example of the many types of accommodations we would experience while in Morocco. This hotel had a lot of positives ... read more
Ruins of Sijilmassa

Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet » Erfoud January 27th 2020

After a last early morning breakfast at the enchanting Riad Salam Fes, it was already time to take our leave of the Imperial City of Fes. The air was cool at this early hour as the sun was still low in the sky, but the pale pinkish light was slowly creeping into the shadow-filled corners of the medina as the residents of Fes were waking up and beginning their busy day. Yesterday’s tour of Fes, while enjoyable, had taken on a frenetic pace as there were so many important sites to see in just one day. The day ahead (Day 6) would mean a lot of time on the bus, but I was looking forward to having “down” time just watching the scenery go by, though I later regretted not taking this opportunity to jot down ... read more
Ifrane's Stone Lion

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