Search Results for "riad"

Jun 14 2019

Porto, Portugal

Published by under Blog Article

Our host Fawzy drove us back to the airport yesterday morning.

Everything was going smoothly until we were right at the checkin desk and the conveyor belt stopped working.  We had to wait a full 30 minutes before we could check in our luggage, we had our boarding passes but had to wait for the belt to work again.  Good thing we checked in early.  That was going to be the phrase of the morning.  We counted seven different checks before we were clear to go to the gate or in our case to the lounge.  The first check was right at the entrance to the airport where everything was x-rayed.  We later had yet another hand check for just our hand luggage.  Colin was interrogated ( and that is the exact word ) as to what type of photographer he was.  It went on and on.  Finally we were both cleared to exit the country.  Seriously, seven checks 😯 I don’t understand why it was such an issue to be allowed to leave the country.  Another question was that they needed the name and address of where we were staying.  The address was not enough and they did not understand about Airbnb and asked what the hotel was at that address.  I explained that is was the Blue Lagoon Riad but they had never heard of it but finally they let us go.

We were down to our last few free passes to use at a special airport lounge. The Pearl lounge has to be one of the nicest we have seen anywhere in our travels.

It was a very relaxing area but we had very little time left to enjoy it. We filled our carry on bags with as many waters as we could which would get us through to Porto.

We had a decaf expresso and a bit of breakfast food which turned out to be a good idea as we could not eat what was served on the flight.

Leaving Marrakesh. So many people crowded in such a small area.

We traveled to Lisbon ( yet again ), we have a few passport stamps from here already this trip. Tap Air does a wonderful job in the cabin with a meal on such a short flight ( just over 60 minutes ) including free wine.

Once out of passport control it turned out that we had to go through yet another x-ray scan in order to get to the area of the airport we needed to be in for the flight to Porto. Because of that we lost all the water we had taken for free from the Marrakech lounge as you cannot bring that amount of liquid through.   What a waste.  Here we got hung up as they needed to search Colin’s bag.  Turns out it was the tuning fork for the guitar that was causing the problem.  Eventually we got through and instead of 2 hours and 40 minutes we had just under an hour to enjoy our last free business class lounge visit.  But we were able to get a few bottles of water to travel with, enjoy a snack and a glass of lovely Portugal wine.

Just as we  were about to board, it occurred to me that our flight was arriving an hour later than I had told our host in Porto. There had been a flight change that I was not informed about.  Texting would not work so I had to call him. Fortunately he answered but sadly he could not meet us as he was giving a presentation for his Masters degree.  So he arranged to have his neighbor let us in.  Phew, crisis averted.  But what if that light bulb had not gone off in my head 💡

Another hour and a quarter flight to Porto and this time Colin sat at the window and I in the aisle seat.  The person in the middle offered to move and we both said no.  Neither of us like the middle seat.  He got to take photos and edit others while I wrote the previous post.  Perfect.  We really are getting the hang of all this travel and technical stuff. I want to mention the the one way flight from Marrakech to Porto cost us 135.00CAD/100.00USD each.  I booked that flight last August and now it costs 288.00CAD/215.00USD.

The arrival in Porto was easy, we only had to pick up our luggage which came quickly.  We then had to find where to purchase an Andante public transport card and went with the Andante 3 Day Tour card for 15 Euro each.  It is good for 72 hours from whatever time it is validated and included the metro from the airport and all transport within the city. Once that was done we figured out how to get out of the airport and into the metro station.

Our Airbnb is in the perfect location.  It is located located directly across the street from the metro.  This station is the main connection to anywhere you would want to go to within Porto.   This is the link to our wonderful apartment, the very best we have ever been in.  We could easily live here. We got the key from the neighbor, unpacked and went to the grocery store about 1/2 block away to pick up wine, port and some food  for dinner. I still can’t believe how inexpensive wonderful tasting Portugal wine is.  We just did not want to go out and find a restaurant, mostly because it was cold and windy out.  Our host did come by after 10PM to give us the official tour of how everything works.  This place is very high end with electric shutters and top of the line everything. He mentioned that the best wine is from the Douro Valley and especially any Douro DOC wine.

Our host here is wonderful and has filled the fridge with cheese, ham, yogurt, milk, mango juice, Perrier, Portuguese beer, soft drinks, a lovely bottle of Aveleda Loureiro, Colheita Selecionada 2017 Portugal wine as well as a bottle of what he calls celebration wine, Raposeira Reserva Bruto, a sparking wine that we have yet to open. Simply amazing. We also had many things in our Marrakech Airbnb as I had mentioned as well as constant fresh fruit but there we were picked up and returned to the airport, a huge help to us.  You have to seriously do a good deal of research to find the right location of your Airbnb and the perks, if there are any.  In many cases there are none.

After a long travel day, it was lovely to relax here in our Porto apartment and enjoy this lovely sunset.

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Jun 11 2019

A very full & fun day in Marrakech

Published by under Blog Article

We eased into the day yesterday, our first full day in Marrakech and it was late morning before we got out.  Our accommodation is very neat and its enjoyable to just sit inside for a bit.  We could hear the call to prayer through our open windows. Our host had indicated that we could pay for things with Visa or Euros.  However we are finding that like Mexico cash is what is expected.  We changed some Euro into Moroccan Dirham, the rough rate of exchange is 100MAD per 1EUR. Some merchants will accept Euro but give you change back in MAD.  We have only found three restaurants that accept credit cards.  We spent a good part of the day walking the narrow streets and also walked about Djemaa el Fna and went back later in the evening for sunset and dinner.  Very generally I can say that the vendors are very polite and not pushy at all.  They try to engage you in a variety of different languages.  We are often asked if we are Australian. Everyone breaks out in a huge smile when they find out that we are from Canada. I keep complicating things by speaking Spanish instead of French.  My mind is thinking French but my mouth automatically expresses Spanish.  Even if I start a conversation in French, half of it comes out in Spanish. Does that mean I am losing my French?

It takes some skill to avoid the scooters and bikes.

A selfie in the reflecting window.

An even narrower side alley.

He purchased the shirt but not the hat.

The square early afternoon.

The monkeys are used to entice people to take photos and then they have to pay for the photo. Colin has a long telephoto lease.

The bikes even go through the throngs of people in the square.  We saw someone get hit last evening.

Taxi anyone?

We sat and had lunch at a cafe right on the edge of the square and just watched the action move around us.

So many of these booths making fresh juices from any type of fruit.

After a brief rest back at the Riad we went back out and found a two story restaurant overlooking Djemaa el Fna.  We ordered mint tea. What with all those mint leaves in the cup, it was strong.

The people were gathering with more booths being set up and some just on the ground.  As it gets darker the action will increase even more.  No visit to Marrakesh would be complete without a visit to the night market.

Photo taken by Gauthier. He and Julie live in Brussels and are only 1.5 hours away by air. Lucky them to be able to travel anywhere for a short period of time.

My sunset photo.

Merci Gauthier et Julie.

There are acrobats, the monkeys and snake charmers, ladies painting your hands with henna, musicians and dancers. We haven’t seen any belly dancers yet. This square has been described as the “greatest show on Earth”.

We soon walked down and joined the throngs of people milling about the chaos of this old city.

Tomorrow is another day with more sights to see.


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Jun 10 2019

Marrakech, Morocco

Published by under Blog Article

Sad as it was to leave Seville, we had a new adventure ahead. We flew to Lisbon where we had a three hour layover which we enjoyed in the business class lounge.  With the new credit cards we got last year, between us, we get 12 lounge visits worldwide, annually . So even if we aren’t traveling business class we can still enjoy our longer layovers. It was great as we never paid for food all day plus we were able to squirrel away enough water in our carry bags to get through our first night in Morocco. I booked the flight last August and we only paid $56.00USD/$76.00CAD each.  A great deal. The flights were one hour and one hour and twenty minutes respectively.  We were served cheese, cut up apple with nuts and raisins on the one and a chicken wrap sandwich with cheese and crackers on the other. Amazing that for that low airfare we were served a meal.  Our Canadian airlines have lost the art of customer service.

Small plane from Seville to Lisbon.

Seville to Lisbon. Colin had no place to put his new cork hat so I wore it. I am actually reading and relaxing here.

Lisbon business lounge. Working on the blog.

We had some great views flying into Lisbon but were aisle and middle seat flying into Marrakech so saw nothing. Colin liked the look of our lunch box, artsy guitar.

This was inside that box but it was a chicken & spinach wrap sandwich which we could not eat. The fellow next to us was from NYC and was happy to take our wraps.  They even served free wine to those who wanted it along with other choices of beverage.  TAP gives a great service.

My grin is about actually being in North Africa.  This is our third country this trip.

We were met at the airport by our Airbnb host who had kindly offered to pick us up.  Good thing as we would still be trying to find our way down the streets of the Medina to his Riad. Click here for the link and photos of this amazing place. Don’t just look at our photos below, there is so much to see in this special place. We still can’t believe that we are here, never mind staying in this extravagant apartment.  I love all the colors as well as the colored glass and the lighting in this unique home.  Colin is just itching to have his proper photography equipment with him.  This place should be documented in a b0ok or a museum.

On the drive from the airport.

Once we toured our place which is beyond incredible, we were invited to our host’s private half of the Riad where he treated us to fresh squeezed orange juice, figs with stems on them and the freshest walnuts we have ever tasted. We chatted for a long while. Eventually we headed back to our apartment and unpacked and got ourselves set up. Each apartment is different and this one more so. It has so much colour plus a very interesting layout. The air conditioning is only needed for a small part of the day because the design of the apartment allows good air circulation. There is only one sink for both the bathroom and kitchen and we are able to adjust to that. The main bed has a wall on three sides  but there are two other places to sleep so we are sleeping in two areas, easier for both of us. As well as the A/C,  we have a mini fridge, a stove top, a microwave and a TV complete with CNN should we choose to watch.

Waiting for our host in his garden while he was in the kitchen.

The entrance to our private apartment.

From the top of our stairs looking down. Love the tile.

Our foyer.  The kitchen is through the beaded curtain on the right.

Taken from our hosts Airbnb listing.  We didn’t take all the photos before we spread our things out.

Those stairs to the left lead up to a wonderful rooftop terrace with a panoramic view.  The bathroom with a great rain shower is behind the door under the stairs. You can see here how the bed is surrounded by three walls. By the way it is a very comfy bed. I see now that the carpets have been replaced with older and more valuable carpets.  Our host is always upgrading his Riad.

A very spacious area.

Already working on the blog.

As you all know I don’t do well with stairs but Colin went up. I was being extra cautious as I did not want to fall like I did last year in Rome and end up in the hospital.

This is the first level of the terrace.

The view.

Looking down into the inner courtyard.

Once unpacked we just headed out into the streets. The only thing to watch for are the scooters which appear to have the right of way and stop for no one. It is the only way to get through these narrrow labyrinth streets.  We had spotted a vegetarian restaurant nearby as our host drove here. By the way he parks his van in the last parking lot closest to the Medina.

Where we had out meal.  Yes I am as tired as I looked.

Can you see us in the mirror?  So many interesting choices for our meal.

The penne was to come with spinach, zucchini, olive oil, basil and other fresh herbs. However it came with many more veggies and even some crushed nuts.  Best penne ever.  The owner is Moroccan born in Australia and has had restaurants in NYC, LA and has three here as well.  Colin stuck with fresh orange juice and I with the water.

We sat and watched pedestrians dodge traffic that included all types of transport including horses and donkeys.  It was fascinating. Instead of a planned itinerary we are going to simply wing it. No set site seeing stops that are deemed necessary. We are simply going to walk and see what we see.  We have seen enough palaces, mosques, etc. The next three full days ( we had planned four nights here ) will bring what they bring.  Our host has offered to take us on a city tour or out of the city to a particularly beautiful area  but after sleeping on it we have decided to just feel the magic of this unique environment.

We have fallen in love with yet another distinct city.

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Apr 10 2013

Los Mochis to San Carlos

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Projected information ~ 6 hours and 300 miles.

Actual was 232 miles in a bit over six hours!

We had a fabulously quiet and relaxing sleep at the Los Mochis RV Park….well worth the 250 pesos.  We awoke to the sun coming in the bedroom window.

The girls were eager to get out and explore.

Surprisingly they did not chase the fowl, instead they were being checked out !!

We were on the road by 9:00AM.  The first stop today was a new check  by the PGR  ( Federales ) about 60 km’s before the Sonora border crossing. They were mostly interested in the buses and their passengers.  We were happy to have our own private bus.

Carmeh was so relaxed....she puts the true meaning into dash ~ hound!!!!!!!!

It was a quiet a day other than another fruit inspection.  This time the fella wanted to come in.  Just as he was coming in the girls started to bark….very very loudly!  Just as the inspector was coming into the RV, one of his comprades pulled his leg as if he was getting attacked by a dog.!!!!!!!!!!  He jumped and clutched his heart!  Needless to say the inspection was a farce just as the joke that had been played on him!!  He had a good laugh and I found out that avocados are okay but no fruits at all.

There is a brand new Walmart in C. Obregon just as you turn left onto the road to Guasave…..that is if you need another Walmart!  While dealing with a police detour ( no idea why ) we had some new perspectives of the city and an encounter.

An encounter with coffins......Colin was dying to catch up to the truck so I could take this photo

Obviously these had been manufactured further south and were being transported north. The workmanship was spectacular. Can you see the gold work in the top left? The rest was in silver and copper with much detail from angels on the corners to various types of handles. Sadly we passed the driver when he experienced an engine breakdown

Too bad we were heading in the wrong direction. I would have loved to get some of these plant pots.

It was a good driving day and once again the only RV we saw was the same couple from Campbell River !  They were also going to San Carlos but were going to boondock on the beach.  I was so very very tempted to join them but I did need my internet!

We made great time today….6 hours for 232 miles and the roads were not that great.

While I caught up on our emails and my blog Colin took the girls to the beach.

Apparently the girls were NOT impressed. A real beach does not have them standing ankle deep in stones and shells. It did not take long before they wanted to head back to the RV.

We caught up with Marcia and Ray within minutes of arriving here at Totonaka RV Park.  It was great to meet up with them but we are both busy with final preparations before crossing into the US tomorrow.  I know we will meet again.

One of the big pluses is that by arriving early, I was able to prepare a fabulous dinner.  Of course tomorrow with handing in various paper work and crossing into the US will bring a myriad of challenges….so adios until we are on the soil of the USA.


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