Friday, April 23, 2010

Still more prep..

We've started to settle in a bit more for itinerary. Now we have bought our air tickets and have revised the plan and route somewhat. Alaska Air to Seattle, KLM to Amsterdam, Royal Air Maroc to Casablanca. With several hours in Amsterdam we might take a quick jaunt into the city, but will eventually get to Casa about 4pm.

From there we have reversed the original direction so will head to Meknes and Fes spending about 5-6 days in that area. A side trip to an ancient Roman city called Volubulis will be likely, just to say we checked out the ancient Romans.

With our rental car from Fes we will take 2 days to get to the KhamliaHouse near the Algerian border just south of Merzouga where we expect to spend 3 nights, at least one after camelling into the desert.

After that it will be on to Ouarzazate, about one day's drive and then to Marrakesh.

Average temperature data for this area for the time we will be there, by the way is about 98 degrees F, 36.7 C...but at least it's not July!

Ouarzazate is kind of the Lone Pine of Morocco. Lone Pone California is a place I have also been through, though long after its heyday of being the site of many, many Hollywood Westerns and other movies. Ouarzazate may be a relative newcomer, but it's hard to argue with an impressive resume of films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Star Wars (1977), The Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000) and Martin Scorsese's Kundun (1997) all shot in the Ouarzazate area.

The rental car will get abandoned in Marrakesh, and we will spend several days in the area and day trip at least but more likely overnight out to Esarouira on the coast.

The Morocco side of things will wrap up with an EasyJet flight from what might be one of our least liked towns, Agadir, to Paris. Unfair, when we have not been there yet? Maybe, but Agadir sounds a bit like a package tour hellhole. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1960, so the city was rebuilt in a modern grid style and is a great pace for beaches and surfing (read bums, both well-off and ...well, bums!), neither of which really intrigue us. From what we know so far it sounds a bit like Waikiki or Cancun. Harsh maybe, but for us it might just be a place to get out of.

Of course that makes me sound a bit cranky and might be perceived as some one who just thinks that we should expect to find the Arabian Nights or some mystical, mythical, noble, nomadic culture. Yeah, so...that would be long as we can still access the Internet, preferably with free Wifi.

So my preconceptions of Morocco are probably way off, but I can still dream a bit can't I?

Anyway we decided to nix the boat and train to Paris and fly partly due to price but also time. EasyJet to Paris takes about 3 hours or so, and cost us about $60 each. The ferry would have been closer to $200 each and added a day for the boat alone, to the south of France, then another day or more to Paris. This way we get to spend more time at the (already paid for anyway) apartment we have waiting for us and will spend more time exploring locally and relaxing and much less time from point to point.

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