Travelogue: Morocco, Part 3

October 2023
Tour: Insight’s “Best of Morocco”
Tour Hotels:
Grand Mogador City Center (Casablanca)
Marriott Jnan Palace Fes (Fes)
Kasbah Hotel Xaluca Arfoud (Erfoud)
Le Berbère Palace (Ouarzazate)
Kennedy Hospitality Resort (Marrakech; we left the tour and went to the Four Seasons)
Atlas Essaouira & Spa (Essaouira; we left the tour early and did not experience Essaouira)

  • Day 6: Fes to Midelt to Erfoud/Sahara Desert
    • We had an early bus departure time – the struggle was real. Our guide stopped for a bathroom break in Ifran, which is billed as the “Switzerland of Morocco.” One of our fellow passengers piped up, “we’d rather be in real Switzerland.”
    • Lunch was a stop at the Hotel El Avachi in Midelt. It was nothing remarkable and I didn’t eat much, as I was trying to be so careful throughout the trip as to not get a GI bug.
    • Our bus ride was 8+ hours on this day, but we finally arrived in Erfoud (pronounced “air food”) shortly before dinner time. The hotel, the Kasbah Hotel Xaluca, was weird yet charming. It was my favorite hotel of the trip, but I know that others in our group absolutely hated it.
    • The drama of the day was that one of our fellow passengers forgot his passport at the hotel back in Fes — EIGHT HOURS AWAY. Good lord alive. Our tour guide moved mountains to get it back to him.
    • One of the optional excursions for this leg of the trip was a trip to the Sahara Desert. Jillian and I immediately said YES and spent the couple hundred dollars a piece for the experience.
    • The Sahara excursion was my favorite part of the entire trip. Phenomenal and inspiring. But getting out there was, of course, a little comical.
    • We rode with Lucie and Clive (who we adored) out to the desert in 4-wheel drive Jeeps. The Jeeps were driven by men who had not one single care in this world – frankly, it’s a miracle that none of us got car sick or injured.
    • Upon arriving at the foot of the desert, we were given the option of walking out on the dunes or riding a camel. No thanks to the camel (once a microbiologist always a microbiologist…), so we chose to walk.
    • It was truly gorgeous. Golden light at the end of the day making the sand look like it was glowing. The shadows of the camels. The setting sun. It was a magical experience and I kept reminding myself how lucky I was to be there… to be experiencing the world like this. Even when the going is difficult or uncomfortable or outside of my comfort bubble, I am endlessly grateful for everything I’ve been able to see in my 39 years of life. It also made me really miss my Dad… and I definitely shed a tear out on the dunes.
    • Once the sun set, we hustled back to the Jeeps and make the 45 min drive back to our hotel for another buffet dinner.
    • Erfoud, I loved you and thank you for the visual experience of a lifetime.

Gearing up for 8 hours on the bus.
One more selfie; cause I didn’t take many on this trip!
Men trying to sell you shit are everywhere… they are relentless.
Similar but different.
The little hotel where we had lunch.
Again with the green; I love the green.
Our hotel near the desert.
The men of our group supervising the luggage transfer.
My hotel room. I loved how weirdly cozy it was.
Ridin’ out to the desert.
Lucie. We loved her.
The next morning… cozy vibes.
Actual keys! No swipe cards!
Bye, Erfoud! I loved you.