A Winters Express opinion column
By Charley Wallace
After a long break from traveling, my permanent tenant and I finally got to leave the continent. As you know, I like to travel but all of our trips have either been cancelled or postponed because of COVID. This is a trip that I planned a couple of years ago and now seemed like a safe time to fly to Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
We use Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) for a lot of our trips. I like someone meeting me at the airport, having my lodging all lined up and a local tour guide. Sometimes I book the flights but this time I let OAT take care of everything. Live and learn. The flights are long and after landing in Frankfurt, Germany and catching another plane to Bilbao, Spain — I was thinking that I’m too old for this stuff.
Turns out the flights over the Atlantic were a piece of cake compared to the flights home. We left our hotel in Casablanca, Morocco at 5:30 a.m. on Friday to catch a flight to Montreal, Canada. We had a five hour layover and then the flight to Chicago was late taking off by over an hour, which made us miss our connection to Sacramento. A long day turned into two.
I will admit that when we got to Chicago that evening, there were people waiting to let us know that we now had flights book for the next morning. They handed us $40 in food credit and gave us a phone number to check on hotels, along with a web site to apply for a refund for our hotel. We made it to Sacramento around 1:40 p.m. the next day, Saturday. Add the eight hour time change and it was a long two days.
Was the trip worth it? Ask me in a week or so. I enjoyed Northern Spain and Portugal, but it isn’t really traveling until you can’t drink the water. That was Marrakech, Morocco. We stayed in the old part of town with 8-foot streets lined with multi story homes, some turned into hotels. You never knew what was behind the door. Some doors opened into cramped spaces while others opened into great gardens, tiled floors and fountains.
The restaurants didn’t open up until after 8 in the evening and people didn’t start showing up until 9. I’m not used to eating that late, but the food was incredible and the people friendly. One giant plaza must have had 5,000 people in it. There were hundreds of food vendors, a few snake charmers and monkeys on leashes. Whatever you wanted, or needed, was on sale. It was interesting to see that many people and not a hint of alcohol to be found in public. Did I mention that Morocco is a Muslim country?
Flying all day and night is for the young. I’m not sure how to solve the flight problems, but before our next trip, I’ll think of something.
I’ll write more after I get caught up on my sleep.