Hello fellow A.netters. This is my first trip report and I have tried to be as extensive as possible. Hopefully it proves to be an interesting read.
This is a 4 day trip report departing from London.
London Gatwick north terminal and EasyJet airbus A320 - We had an early morning flight from London Gatwick north terminal, EasyJet flight EZY 8893, departing at 7:40.
The newly refurbished Gatwick north terminal looks good, but there is still some confusion in the way the sign posts have been marked at the airport. Check in was efficient and swiftly through security.
Made use of the newly refurbished Aspire lounge using my Airport Angel card. A very good lounge with decent amount of food items. Although the blinds were drawn so no view of the runway.
The aircraft was an airbus A320 and it looked immaculate and brand new. It was the first flight of the day for the aircraft that would’ve added to it being clean. Our seats were in the middle of the aircraft 17A and B.
Seat recommendation - being an EasyJet, they all have the same seat configurations. Since EasyJet have started pre-booking their seats, if needed the first row seats can be booked for an additional fee. We didn’t do it and was quite happy with the seats allocated to us.
The flight departed on time on this frosty London morning. The flight was uneventful in the most satisfying way. Cabin crew very enthusiastic and the pilot made regular announcements of route (informed us before passing the rock of Gibraltar, great views over sunny Spain)
Various items on the EasyJet Flight
Leg space on the flight
Landing at RAK
Our Flight on the tarmac at RAK
Sights and sounds of Marrakesh - Dejma Al Fnaa
Flight landed 30 minutes before schedule! Immigration was a bit slow but nothing to grumble about. Around 20 minutes. By that time our check in baggage was waiting for us in belt 6. All in all an excellent way to travel into Marrakesh from London – good timing, great service and great value for money price, would definitely recommend it and gladly use this service again.
Marrakesh airport looks very grand and fantastic architecture. Transportation from the airport is either bus number 19 into the heart of the city -dejmaa al fnaa, or else the petit cabs. We opted for the petit cabs for convenience and haggled for 80 dirham’s.
Marrakesh airport design
Great hotel and very good location if you need to catch a train from Marrakesh. It’s around 25 minute walk from dejmaa al fnaa. There is a massive supermarket 5 minutes away from the hotel. Very comfortable stay and uneventful in the nicest way. Friendly staff, complementary wi-fi and great for the price.
Few pics of sights and sounds of Marrakesh are uploaded along with this review. Was surprised to find the in-depth knowledge the locals had about Indian movies!
Marrakesh to Casablanca (train) and then drive to chefchouen -
Took the 7:00 am departure to Casablanca. Booked a first class ticket the previous day with no problems. But upon arrival at the station it was slightly more chaotic. Nobody spoke English so we just got into one of the two 1st class boogies and sat in any random seat. Although we had preassigned seats, no one really bothered to check the seats numbers. As long as you had a first class ticket the seat numbers on the ticket was inconsequential. It was later we discovered that we actually had our own cabin in the other bogie!
The seats were very comfortable. The train was supposed t arrive at 10 am but were delayed on route and reached the casa voyagers station only by 10:25.
Hired the most awesome (read dusty, Saharan desert dusty!) petit cab to take us to our hire car place - first car hire.
Upon arriving I was told I would need to pay an extra one way charge as I was returning the car in tangier airport. I didn’t mind it, but it was never told to me whilst booking or the amount that I would be charged. After some argument, I had to give in. The car we got was a (atleast) 10 year old Suzuki alto (or maruti Suzuki alto, as the car was an Indian made car). On the whole not a very good experience so would advice to stick to the big names - avis, hertz, for smoother transparent transactions and better choices of vehicles. Also the car had no fuel, so had to fill it up and they asked me to return it empty - first time I had encountered that.
Our dusty Petit Cab
Our Ride.. Suzuki Alto (Maruti Suzuki Alto)
Sights and sounds of Casablanca - Hassan 2 mosque (awesome...!) and lunch at the famous ricks cafe (Casablanca, 1942).
The drive from Casablanca to Chefchaouen is around 400 - 420 km. With the first 100 kms great motorways, the next 150 like UK A roads and the, last 100 odd km treacherous mountain roads and not advisable for night driving. Had to garner all my Indian driving skills to pass through high beam trucks and grand taxis!
The drive took around 6 hours with a couple of rest stops and a stop for dinner at Ouezzene.
Day 3 - Chefchaoun and tangier.
Our hotel was the superb dar echchaouen, situated half a km outside the main medina. The hotel had a lot of unique characteristics and even had a brass basin in the toilet! Great little hotel and highly recommend it. Staff very friendly and awesome morocco breakfast with eggs on demand.
Chefchaoune is indeed a little gem in the middle of the Rif Mountains. It’s a must see for any trio to morocco and was the highlight of the trip. He amazing cobbled streets in the medina and the blue walls make this city truly unique. A good 3 hour walk later you are in the middle of the medina, at the Kasbah. Great little cafes here to wind down. Can’t recommend Chefchaoun enough!
The drive to tangier was uneventful and it does make a big difference to drive in the morning, when you can enjoy the lovely surroundings and avoid the grand taxis driving on the wrong side of the road (the famous beige coloured Mercedes Benzes, E240 or E300 D from the 1980’s and 1990’s)
Spend the evening around Tangier city and stayed the night at the new but adequate Ibis Budget near the Airport.
Our beautiful hotel
Sights around Chefchaouen
Return flight from Tangier to London Heathrow, via Madrid. The first leg was on Iberia operated by Air Nostrum, Canadair CRJ-900.
Used the lounge service, or whatever they called a lounge, at Tangier airport. It was a small room with sofas with one, yes one plate of Turkish sweets. There was no other food available, although they did have a computer to work on. One of the most basic lounges I have seen. Please mind that in Tangier airport, once you cross the security, there is hardly anything to eat. And contrary to other reviews I have read, they do accept any currency in the duty free – a good way to get rid of all your Moroccan dirhams, if you have any.
A short little walk through the tarmac and right into the aircraft.Great little flight, on time and smooth take off and landing. There was no food served on this short one hour flight. Great view as the flight doesn’t fly very high. Into Madrid or a crystal maze as I see it, on time and into our waiting coach to the Lost island, I mean Madrid terminal 4.! The next part of our journey in the next report.
Tangier Airport (TNG
The lounge at TNG
Air Nostrum - Candair CRJ900 - TNG
En-route to Madrid
We landed on time (from our previous flight from Tangier) only to be whisked away in a waiting coach onto the Spanish version of Crystal maze, also known as Madrid Airport.! Took us over 40 minutes, after running almost all the way to reach to our final gate, Zone H, for our final flight to London, Heathrow.
One of the more unfriendly airports, Madrid Airport, is very unforgiving to new travelers. The sign post is confusing is an understatement, and found the staff quite rude (not the immigration staff, the staff at the security area). Found transiting at Paris Charles De Gaulle much easier than this.
We were one of the last to board the flight as we barely made it to the gate while they were about to close it.
Our final leg was The Iberia Flight at 15:55. It was an Airbus A321 and the flight was completely full. Must comment on the service by the staff. They were enthusiastic and eager to serve. Food (paid) was alright but adequate for the short 2 hour flight.
Iberia A321 - MAD
The flight was uneventful and the service crisp.
Due to the new arrangement with BA
, landing into Terminal 5 at Heathrow is a blessing. We were the only two non EU passport holders and we were out at the arrival section in less than 15 minutes after landing! Fantastic!
On the whole an exciting trip and Morocco is definite a must-visit in our opinion.[Edited 2012-12-25 09:27:41][Edited 2012-12-25 10:05:57]
[Edited 2012-12-25 10:07:34]