Trip Planning: Barcelona and Morocco 2007

In March 2007 we spent two weeks in Barcelona and Morocco. We had a wonderful time on our trip.   I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Barcelona and would go back in a heartbeat.  I definitely want to explore more of Spain on another trip.  The food was fabulous and all the Gaudi architecture was fascinating to see.  A very easy city to get around in.  We had a great hotel in a fabulous location.

Morocco was INCREDIBLE!  Not just the sights, but the sounds and the smells. Zaid, our driver, was great – we really enjoyed him.  The camel ride and night in the Berber tent were fantastic.  You just sort of sit on the back of this camel thinking – Wow!  I am actually riding a camel in the Sahara desert right now.  Tons of great shopping in Marakkech and Fez – the medinas are like nothing you have ever seen

The most often asked question of us before we left was “why are you going to Morocco??”  It was a good question, as when we started thinking about where to go for spring break, it certainly wasn’t on my list of places to go.  However, our trip to London/Paris the previous March was quite cold and windy.  We were hoping for someplace a bit warmer – it didn’t have to be hot beach weather – just someplace where we didn’t need coat, hat, gloves and scarf every moment.  Stephen had a friend who was in Morocco at the same time we were in London/Paris and came home raving about it – Stephen’s ears particularly perked up at the above 70 degree weather every day.  My first thought was Morocco – are you crazy??  We had never been to a non-Western, Muslim country, nor anything quite that exotic.  But as I started to research it, I began to learn that while not many American tourists go, it is a major European holiday destination, and it is extremely safe.  I  decided that I wasn’t quite ready to spend our whole 2 weeks there (although I knew that we could) but decided to start in Barcelona for 5 nights, which for us, was an excellent idea.

I did most of my research on Fodors and Trip Advisor with a few guide books thrown in.  I planned Barcelona and Marakkech on our own, but used Blue Men of Morocco (http://www.bluemenofmorocco.com/pt/en/) for our private trip to the desert and Fez (great organization – more details to follow).  Thanks in particular to a friendly fodorite whose comments about the desert trip got me committed and to a fodorite friend, Andrea, whose excellent trip report got me counting down the days to our own trip.  I was excited and no longer worried, until the Monday before we were to leave on Friday, I read on Trip Advisor that there was a suicide bombing in Casablanca – YIKES!  Here is a link to a brief story about it:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6440661.stm.

I told my husband about it, and we just decided to continue monitoring it – we would be spending our first 5 nights in Barcelona and if things ratcheted up we could just stay in Spain.  Well, the next day they made a wave of arrests and after that there was apparently very little additional info. on the story.  Morocco does have a reputation for swiftly dealing with terrorists as they did after the 2003 Casablanca bombings.  We figured we could have been in London during the tube bombings or Madrid during the night club bombings…..so we decided to keep with our plans.  We were very glad we did.  We felt very safe and welcome the whole time we were there and I would not hesitate to return.

Read more about our adventures by clicking on the links below:

5 Nights in Barcelona
Marrakech, Morocco
Ouarzazate, Merzouga, Camel Trek in Sahara
Fez, Morocco

 

 

 

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