After all, who walks to the airport with their bags? Especially when it's 9 kms (5.6 miles) away. Apparently we do.
From where we were staying, I figured it was a 9 km walk. And either downhill or level the entire way. And, it was a beautiful day and most of the walk was on a paved path that follows the beach in Nice, France.
And so we set off just after 11:00am. It wasn't long before we were on the busy seafront path that is used by walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, and cyclists.
Ruth, walking to the airport!
Lots of people enjoying the sunshine. Temperature was about 20C (68F).
Looking back at where we had come from.
Zoomed in on where we were heading!
You would never have guessed that an hour later the airport would be shrouded in heavy fog!
Our bags roll really easily, so it was no problem having them with us. And 9 kms for us is nothing. We made it to the airport in less than two hours, and we had taken a couple of breaks along the way. Sure enough, our GPS tracking showed a total distance of 8.81 kms (5.46 miles). No problem!
Our flight wasn't scheduled to leave until 3:40pm, so we had lots of time. Good thing, because we had some business to take care of.
When we had bought our new Samsung A3 phone in Seville, Spain in February, they had a tax free form that the store did up. The deal was that when you leave the European Union, you get the customs office to stamp your form, and then you mail the form back and they credit back the tax.
Well in this case, the tax refund would be €41 ($61 CAD, $46 USD), so it was worth the effort.
I found the refund office, and got the form stamped with no problem. Now, I just have to mail it back when we get to Canada, and wait (probably a month or two) to get the refund.
With that done, we took the shuttle bus to Terminal 2 for our EasyJet flight.
I checked the free airport wifi, and there was a message from EasyJet. Flight delay due to fog! We found out later that 25 jets had been delayed from takeoff, or rerouted to other airports because of heavy unexpected sea fog that moved in on Nice airport. Strange! Anyhow, one of the diverted jets was ours!
While we were waiting, we reorganized our bags. I screwed up, and hadn't realized that we are only allowed one carry on bag each. Weight doesn't matter, but in this case size does matter! Our bags normally fit the dimensions, but Ruth also uses a daypack. With the dayback and it's contents put into our other bags, we don't think the dimensions would have fit. Worse case scenario, we would simply toss the empty daypack. We've had it for a while, and wouldn't mind getting a new one anyhow.
Fortunately, none of that mattered. I think they were concentrating on getting the late plane off the ground and weren't worried about bags that might be a few inches oversized. We always board near the end, so ours got placed in the hold anyhow because the overhead bins were full.
Long story short, it was 5:30pm by the time we got off the ground. Almost two hours delayed.
Nice, France to Marrakesh, Morocco.
Uneventful flight...although it was good that we were at an exit row and so had lots of legroom!
Arrived at Marrakesh airport! Morocco is country #33 for us!
It was 7:00pm when we arrived...an hour and a half late.
I got on the free airport wifi and sent a note to our AirBnb host, Marco. He's been really good about communication (very important with AirBnb!) and he explained where he would meet us when we got off the bus near the main plaza downtown.
It then took us an hour to get through customs! There was a huge line as three or four planes had arrived around the same time, and we were plane number four. Finally made it through the formalities, and then needed to get some Moroccan money. By this time it was dark outside, and most of the airport was closing up. I don't like arriving in a new city after dark!
Fancy new modern airport in Marrakesh. Impressive. Finally found a bank machine, and withdrew 2,000 dirhams ($281 CAD, $205 USD).
I had read that the last airport bus to downtown was at 9:30pm. It was 8:20pm by the time we found the bus stop and the #19 bus to downtown was sitting there waiting for us. There was only one other person on the bus! The driver was outside having a smoke and talking on his cell phone. He saw us coming, and waved us on board.
And then we sat.
I thought I had read that the bus left every half hour, so I figured we would get underway at 8:30pm. Nope. Just sat there. One more guy ended up getting on board, so now there were four of us. Eventually, the driver got on, said "tickets" and I went up to pay. I had also read that the fee was either 20 dirhams or 30 dirhams each, but nobody seems to know why there's a difference.
In this situation, I handed him a 50 dirham note, and he gave me two tickets and a 10 coin back. So the bus cost was 20 dirhams ($2.81 CAD, $2.05 USD) each.
It's only about 6 kms (3.7 miles) from the airport to downtown, so we were there in 20 minutes. From the airport, Marrakesh (at night) seemed much more modern than I had imagined. Lots of people though....zipping about on motorcycles with no helmets. Lost of Muslim women wrapped up in colorful clothing. And it was hot...they had a high of 32C (90F) yesterday, and they're calling for the same today.
The central square in Marrakesh is a zoo. Almost literally. Between the hoards of people, and the animal shows (monkeys, snakes, etc...) it's a real experience. And it's easy for a newcomer to get lost or disoriented.
So we felt great relief when Marco popped out of the crowd as soon as we stepped off the bus!
He asked if we had eaten yet, and in fact we were starving. He said he knew of a favorite place nearby, and so we went for food!
Our first Moroccan dining experience.
Ruth and I shared a small plate of Tangia (beef) with some fries, and olives and a large bottle of water. Total cost for the two of us including tip was 90 dirhams ($12.70 CAD, $9.10 USD).
I can see us eating out a lot in Morocco!
The menu (click to enlarge) was in French, English, and Arabic.
Arabic is the dominant language here, but almost everybody speaks French as well. And in Marrakesh, a lot of people speak some English too.
Marco asked if we wanted to wander around, but we had had a long day and we still had our bags with us. So we walked to his riad (a traditional Moroccan home).
Very busy, well into the evening.
I asked if it was busy like this for a reason, but no, it's like this every single night. Both locals and tourists shop in the "the souk"...I'll explain more about that tomorrow.
Marco is originally from Italy, but he's been living here in Marrakesh for four years now. So he's very helpful, and also knows quite a few of the locals. We think it's going to be a good stay!
The kitchen and patio are shared with other guests, but right now there is just a young couple from Croatia in one of the other rooms.
For this (and Marco's helpful guidance), we are paying €20 ($29.75 CAD, $22 USD) per night, and we're booked in for four nights.
Slept well...off to do some exploring...should be an interesting day!
Great deal on a 2TB external hard drive...
And in Canada...finally some great deals for RV'ers. Camco RV gear (including the top quality Rhinoflex sewer hose) is on deal of the day! I just bought a new hose for ourselves!