Marrakesh to Casablanca: I had arranged a car through G Adventures to take me from Marrakech to Casablanca for my flight to Rome. My driver, Mohammad, who surprisingly spoke mainly Spanish, arrived at 7:45 a.m on Tuesday morning. My friend Susan left at the same time to go to the Marrakech airport, where she would fly to Madrid, JFK and then Dulles in Washington. My drive was expected to take three hours.
Mohammad stopped at a gas station to put air in the tires. There seemed to be a problem with one of them. I was worried we’d have a flat along the way. At 8:25, we were outside of the city at Afriquia gas station, surrounded by signs for Petromin Oils, Petrom, and Green Oil. A Shell station was nearby, as was a garden center and a pottery vendor. Small green mountains hunched to the east.
We went through endless roundabouts and alongside flowers brightening the medians. The driver drove slowly through the rural countryside of green rolling hills and some small pointed mountains. Less than an hour after leaving my hotel, the landscape had changed to flat green and rocky plains in every direction.
At 9:05, Mohammad stopped for me to use the bathroom. I had to walk across a pedestrian bridge to get to the rest area on the other side of the highway. A boy at the bottom of the pedestrian bridge wanted some money but I didn’t know what for, so I kept walking. If I gave money to every poor person in Morocco, I’d be bankrupt.
Then we were driving over red earth hills into a valley. Close to 10:00, the driver stopped to put more air in the tires, and I figured he must have a slow leak. It was another hour to Casablanca, so I hoped we’d make it. After that, the earth was red all around us.
Mohammad dropped me at the Casablanca airport at 10:45 a.m., but I couldn’t check my suitcases for the Alitalia flight until 1:20 when they opened the check-in. I sat and read my Rick Steves Rome book and enjoyed a coffee and a chocolate croissant. It was a long 2 1/2 hours.
At 1:20, I got in the line for Alitalia. It took forever for them to open, and then forever for them to check our luggage (although luckily they took my 2nd bag for free), and then forever to get through security and an even longer time to get through immigration.
Finally, I was released and enjoyed some warm shrimp sushi rolls and arrived at A8 Gate by 3:14. Check-in was supposed to be at 3:40, but at 3:47, there were no signs of life.
Casablanca to Rome: Alitalia was due to leave Casablanca at 4:25 and board at 3:40. They didn’t start boarding until nearly 4:00, but by 4:20, the passengers were in their seats and the stewardesses were demonstrating how to buckle seat belts, pull down oxygen masks, and inflate life vests, as the plane taxied for take-off. We took off nearly on time, the wheels squealing and groaning as they folded into the airplane.
A large group of people from Israel were having a grand time all around me, whopping it up, laughing and eating boxed kosher meals, and walking around in the aisles. The people sitting beside me, an Israeli couple, didn’t say a word to me, nor I to them.
Atitalia seemed like a happy-go-lucky fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of airline. They threw it all together at the last possible minute and then hurled themselves into the sky. Seat and leg room were tight but the staff and pilots were laid back and no one seemed to expect much of them.
The meal included three small sandwiches, a yogurt drink, a pudding, and some weird rice. I had an apricot juice. I skipped my regular glass of wine because I didn’t want to be out of it when I made my way to my Rome B&B at a late hour.
We made it to Rome a half hour earlier than planned, around 8:00, and I took the Rome Capitale taxi for a set price of 48€ to Atos Bed and Breakfast. The taxi driver was bald with a goatee and spoke a bit of English. He pointed out some old famous buildings in downtown Rome and said he loved to drive at night in the city because there was no traffic.
He asked if I liked Trump and I said no, I hated him. He said he didn’t mind him because he was comic. Especially that hair – fake or not? and that orange color, which we both agreed was frightful. He said he liked Melania but I said I thought she was miserable with Trump; I thought he had convinced her to stay with him until his presidency ended. Our communication seemed to break down here because I couldn’t understand him, nor me him.
When the driver pulled up to Via Milazzo, 23, it was just a door in a wall and luckily he wasn’t in a hurry to abandon me because no one answered the buzzer or his phone call. A tenant was going into the building, so he let me enter with him. The door said the B&B was on floor 5, but the elevator went only to floors 1-4. Luckily I heard Gabriella yell from the top, “Floor 4!” I had to haul my two heavy bags up two flights of stairs to get on the elevator and to get off and up to the fifth floor.
Gabriella had bright red dyed hair and didn’t speak much English, so she checked me in and showed me the multitudes of keys and the lights and how the room and breakfast worked (I was to walk across the street to a restaurant for breakfast). She told me she’d walk me to The Beehive Hostel in the morning, only a three minute walk (I was unable to book The Beehive on my first night because they didn’t accept late arrivals). I paid her 70€ in cash and showed her my passport.
I stayed up late trying to sync the time on my FitBit and it finally worked (after endless unsuccessful attempts in Morocco). I also chatted by text with Mike and went to sleep very late!
I was so happy to have a room to myself after sharing accommodations with Susan over the last 2 1/2 weeks. 🙂
*7,030 steps, or 2.98 miles*
*Tuesday, April 23, 2019*
“ON JOURNEY” INVITATION: I invite you to write a post on your own blog about the journey itself for a recently visited specific destination. You could write about the journey you hope to take in the year ahead. If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to write in the comments.
Include the link in the comments below by Tuesday, January 14 at 1:00 p.m. EST. When I write my post in response to this challenge on Wednesday, January 15, I’ll include your links in that post.
This will be an ongoing invitation, once on the third Wednesday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂
I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!
the ~ wander.essence ~ community
I invite you all to settle in and read a few posts from our wandering community. I promise, you’ll be inspired. 🙂
- Jude, of Travel Words, takes us along on her challenging overland journey through Asia.
Many thanks to all of you who wrote posts about the journey. I’m inspired by all of you!
My eyes alighted on Rome and I couldn’t resist clicking open the post . I suppose I’m still suffering from the Roman Fever- it was an unforgettable experience. Reading about your experience checking into the city and the B&B reminded me of my own- the cab ride with a smiling driver who remained silent all the way, the narrowest elevator ever seen anywhere at our B&B, a bunch of jangling keys for the front door, the room , the toilet and finally the very expressive owner whose hands and volley of words felt like you were caught in an emotionally charged drama. Happy memories indeed!
Thank you, Sheetal. Rome can certainly be an assault on the senses. I’ll be writing more about Rome, and other parts of Italy, in the coming weeks and months. I thought Rome was over-touristed, so I wasn’t all that thrilled with it. I’m glad it brought back happy memories for you!
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Traveling can be extremely tedious, though I’m usually very excited to be on the move. 🙂 🙂
Yes, it can be tedious for sure! But this trip wasn’t so bad, except that it was nearly 12 hours long! 🙂
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This appears to be one of your least problematic journeys! Arriving late in an unknown city is always a worry though. Love the photos, they are so sharp. I hope we get to see more of Rome. I have only ever had a fleeting visit, a few hours whilst waiting for a connecting train south to Sicily many moons ago.
You’re right, Jude, it wasn’t that bad all around, mainly just long. I did worry about arriving late in the city, and was worried the taxi driver would drop me in the middle of the city next to a wall in the door! I wouldn’t have liked that at all, especially as the woman wasn’t answering. I wasn’t all that thrilled with Rome because of the crowds, but you’ll see more as I write about it. I don’t think I’d ever go back. Maybe your fleeting visit was plenty. 🙂
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Your take on Alitalia was funny, and interesting. We’re traveling to Vietnam in March and arriving late at night in Hanoi – just hoping things will go smoothly after all those hours in the air. 🙂
Alitalia really made me laugh with their happy-go-lucky attitude! I think when I went to Vietnam, I also arrived very late in Hanoi. You will love Vietnam, but be prepared for a lot of debris everywhere. Will you go on a junk to Halong Bay? Do you have Instagram? One of my friends is there now and he’s a fabulous photographer. He’s under @culturaltourist. I hope you have a fabulous trip. How will you fly?
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