At the end of February, I attended ASTA’s Expo in Marrakech, Morocco. The 3 day expo was very informative and I was able to meet several Moroccan tour suppliers. First, a little information about Morocco. It is a very diverse country; from the rugged Altas Mountains and large areas of desert to over 1500 miles of coastline. It is one of three countries that has a coastline with the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Marrakech is a very modern city with interesting contrasts; from BMW’s to donkey carts as transportation and souk’s(old market) to modern malls.
Essaouira was my first stop out of Marrakech. Located on the Altantic Ocean, it is known as one of the best kite-surfing sites in the world.
From the ocean, I headed inland going over the majestic High Atlas Mountains toward Ouarzazate.
We made a stop at the ancient Kasbah complex of Ait Ben Haddou, an 11th century structure.
Ouarzazate is the home of Atlas Studios, Morocco’s most important and well known movie studio.
To get a real taste of the Berber life I was off to the desert to spend a night in a Berber tent and to do a sunrise camel ride in the desert.
Then we were off to the cities of Fes, Rabat, and Casablanca. Fes was founded in the 9th century and had the world’s largest university in the 13th century.
We visited a large tannery in the city.
Rabat, the capitol of Morocco, is home to the Mohamed V Mausoleum which is the burial place of the present king’s grandfather.
In Casablanca, we visited the impressive Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco and Africa and the 7th largest in the world.
Morocco was a great experience and was very easy to get around. The people were very friendly and would let you know that Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States as a independent country. I would definitely put it on your bucket list.
In March, 2014, I traveled to Israel for the first time. The main reason for my trip was to visit my brother. Since I was going that far I thought it would be a shame not to experience the country. So I signed up for a 9 day tour of Israel and Petra, Jordan. After overnighting in Tel Aviv, my tour was off to Massada and the Dead Sea. The mountain was the last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots in their war against the Romans. It was very interesting to hear the history of the fortress and to view the ruins from the top.
From there it was off to the Dead Sea. Fortunately, I did not have anyone taking pictures of me floating around. That evening we arrive in Jerusalem for a 3 day stay.
Jerusalem has too many sites to mention, but I can say you do need 3 days to see most of them. From Bethlehem to the Western (Wailing) Wall you can easily be overwhelmed by all the sites.
From Jerusalem, we are off to the Golan Heights. We had a surprise stop near Jericho at the Jordon River where Jesus was baptized. We headed to the northern part of the Golan Heights with several stops along the way. That night we stayed at a Kibbutz near the Lebanon border.
The next day we were off the sites around the Sea of Galilee.
The next day we were off to Akko and Haifa. The Baha’i Garden in Haifa is the most beautiful places in Israel.
After a stop at Caesarea, I was off to Tel Aviv to catch a flight to Eilat on the Red Sea. The next day I enter Jordon for a visit to Petra.
It was a very interesting trip with lots of history.
I just returned from a fun trip to the Riviera Maya. Members of the Class of 66 were along on the trip. These are members of my high school class, plus spouses. I can’t think of a better time than reminiscing and enjoying my time with the old classmates. I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a reunion with old classmates.
We stayed at the Ocean Maya Royale which was a prefect size for our group.
It is a smaller resort that had great service and excellent food. If you need help putting your group together, just let us know.
5 just returned from an interesting trip to UAE. It was one of the things that was on my bucket list. I visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The first thing that impresses you is the amount of construction that is going on. Dubai has gone from one high rise building in the 1970s to what seems like hundreds of high rises, plus the Burj Khalifa, the current tallest building in the world at 2716 feet. If you are a shopper you will go crazy with some of the largest malls in the world.
The country is trying to develope itself as a tourist destination. They do have several beach resorts with beautiful sand on the Arabian Gulf. UAE has become a destination for many Europeans and Asians, but has struggled in drawing Americans. That is probably because of the approximately 14 hour flight from the east coast.
The storm along the east coast has caused thousands of cancellations. If you are caught in this situation, hopefully you booked your travel with a travel agency. This is the time when you find out the valve of a travel agent. We are able to get you protected right away and home or on your way sooner than waiting for the airline to protect you. Here is one response from one of our travelers:
“I wanted to write to say that I was able to get out of Newark last night. I cannot thank you enough for all of your effort in finding me numerous flights on this trip. It is much appreciated as I know that others who did not have travel agents are still waiting out the storm in NY. Again, thank you so much for all that you do.”