Darn that. Had this post-half-written and BANG - it was gone. Don't you hate that!?? Hopefully, the writing is better for having to start from scratch.
Ok, to start again. Most of our trips have originated when I find a great airfare that I can't turn down, and we build an adventure from there. And so it was for our trip to Morocco - first a reasonable flight price from Vancouver to Amsterdam, and then we went from Paris to Morocco - from Morocco to Spain then to Brussels and back to Amsterdam. When you make that many stops, mainly to get to your goal place, I'm not so sure that an "awesome airfare" ends up that awesome! But it sure makes for some fabulous memories.
A co-worker had gone to Morocco and had a fabulous trip, so that got the interest rolling. Once I booked our flight to Amsterdam, I contacted the company that she had used for Morocco and started negotiating until we were satisfied with the plan - places and price. But more about that later. First, we had to get there. See Morocco.
This was the first European trip, outside the UK, for hubby. We landed in Amsterdam. I thought it would be romantic to stay on a houseboat - read barge. So I booked one through Airbnb. It was charming and in a great location, but the headroom was low. Hubby bumped his head many times. (not an entirely unusual experience!)
Unfortunately, if you follow my blog, you will learn that we have unexpected issues in terms of weather. We blame Martina, a friend, for putting a curse on us. It rains almost everywhere we go.
This was September, and we weren't expecting rain. It did rain in Amsterdam. Why did we care? Well, the houseboat leaked, and hubby woke to a soaking wet pillow. NOT the most pleasant experience.
We only had a couple of days to explore Amsterdam before moving on, but we loved the coffee, and the bike riders. Beware though, they will run you down. A great way to see the city is on canal cruises. The other "have to see" for most visitors is the red light district, so of course we wandered through it.
(If you are wonder where all my fabulous pictures are read Barcelona - how I want to love you, and you will understand.)
Then it was on to Paris via train. We got there and guess what..... it was raining!
We asked for directions to our hotel from the train station and headed the right way, we thought. Have you ever been to Paris? The street patterns leave something to be desired when you are trying to find your way - especially in the rain. A kind local gave us directions, but they were the wrong. Soaking wet and tired, we gave up and hailed a cab. As it turned out, we were 1 block from our destination! We realized later that the street was only a block long, which made it particularly challenging to find.
It's funny the things you remember about a place, isn't it? What I remember about the hotel is that there were motion sensors on each floor, so when you got off the elevator on your floor, it was dark until you moved along the hall. It was a little disconcerting at first. The hotel was the Hotel Cervantes. We only got to spend a couple of days in Paris. We saw some of the local highlights, of course - the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre - but it's not enough. It never is. We need to go back and see more.
Have you flown Ryanair?
I understand that they have changed the luggage rules since then, but we were only allowed one bag each, no hand luggage, and it had to be less than 10 kilos. Hubby had studied the rules, and we were prepared, but many people weren't. I am sure this is how Ryanair actually makes their money on overage costs for luggage. Ryanair is an inexpensive, fascinating way to fly.
We finally arrived in Marrakech. Read about that in Morocco the land of the Rising Sun.