Local time: April 29, 2015
Finally, a rental car trip and meeting up with my wife.
I’m feeling better. I’m going to the airport again.
The fact that I repeatedly emptied my stomach after nearly ten rounds of vomiting did the trick, and by midnight my symptoms had settled down, my fever had dropped, and I was able to sleep well and deeply until morning. So, although I was weak and had some headaches due to the food poisoning the day before, I somehow recovered enough to be able to drive.
Breakfast is buffet at the hotel. My appetite came back a little. But I couldn’t eat much. After that, I checked out of the hotel, picked up a taxi, and went to Casa Voisierge station, which I also used on the way to the airport, and took a train from there to the airport. The departure time was about 10 minutes late, which is not so bad. By the way, it was very crowded in the train. Although my physical condition was recovered, I was not in perfect condition yet, so it was a little hard to stand on the train all the time.
Rent a car at the airport, the procedure is smooth
This time, too, I made arrangements through rentalcars.com, a company called AirCar. Of course, I’ve never heard of this company before. There were booths for several car rental companies right outside the airport station, but I couldn’t find the one I had arranged for this time…. So, I went into a booth and asked where this rental car company’s booth was, and without pausing, they said, “We can do it cheaper! And without a moment’s hesitation, they were on the attack.
As usual, though, “How can you cancel on the day? If you pay the cancellation fee, I’ll consider it! Even though I was refused, they told me the location of the AirCar office where I made the reservation. Apparently, once you enter the airport, it’s at the far end of the arrival hall.
Once we entered the airport, there seemed to be a security check for all the luggage, and there was a queue of many passengers who came to the airport by train, so we had to wait for about 15 minutes. However, the check itself was not so strict. I passed through the security check without any problem, and went to the end of the arrival lobby as I was told, to the left direction after leaving the station.
After handing over the rentalcars.com application form (printed out in advance), I had to verify my passport and driver’s license, pay the deposit by credit card, and of course this would be cancelled if I returned the car safely. Overall, the process was very smooth, and I was able to complete the entire procedure in less than 10 minutes. After that, the attendant took us to the parking lot and we got the car without any problems.
Well, the car which came out was Dacia Duster, as specified in rentalcars.com. Morocco is not so good road, and we will go to desert area in the latter half of our trip, so I arranged a car which seems to have power just in case. It is slightly more expensive than usual, but it seems to have power.
By the way, it seems that it is normal to return a vehicle with empty fuel. So, right after we rented the car, the fuel was almost empty. So, we went to a nearby gas station first. The car rental company gave us directions on where to go, so we were able to find it quickly. I think it was surprisingly cheap because of diesel and low oil prices. I’m sorry, I don’t remember the price.
The fuel supply is completed safely, and it joins the expressway. The road is firm because it is near the capital and near the airport, but the speed of the car is slow. The speed limit is slower than Europe.
It is likely to speed inadvertently, but it doesn’t go so. There were police here and there on the road. I had heard rumor, but I heard that Morocco has a lot of police and crackdown is strict. So I tried to drive at legal speed.
Departing from the airport, we headed north towards Casablanca and then west on the high speed road that runs east to west along the Moroccan coastline.
Highways in Morocco
The speed limit was 120km/h. It was a good road, so it could be a little faster. The speed limit is 120km/h. It is a good road, so I think it could be a little faster, but I heard that the police are very strict, so I had to obey the legal speed limit anyway.
However, although it was written in the guidebook, there was a person who crossed for sure, and the person who was maintaining the road was also working on the side of the road right away and was quite a near thing.
First stop: Al Jadida, a World Heritage Site
The highway took us to a small town called Al Jadida. It used to be a Portuguese colonial city, and this place is recognized as a World Heritage Site. It took about an hour and a half to get there from the airport.
It may not look like it from the pictures, but to be honest, it was not a very interesting city. It was rather disappointing. The only thing to see was the medina, but there was little to see except for a cistern from the Portuguese colonial period.
How street parking works in Morocco
By the way, the parking situation in Morocco seems to be basically street parking. However, there is always an attendant nearby who manages street parking. “I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not. At first glance, he looks suspicious and like a bored local, but he seems to be an officially authorized person and will show you his ID if you ask. The parking fee seems to be paid at the time of departure. This officer will charge you. The fee is about 5 to 10 dirhams, and there seems to be no set fee.
Go to the airport again, meet my wife and go to Marrakech.
I left Al Jadida after noon and went back to the airport to pick up my wife. This year, too, we went separately because of both of our jobs, but unlike last year, we left separately and went back together. Actually we were going to meet in Istanbul, not Morocco, on the previous day, but Turkish Airlines cancelled the flight on the previous day, so we had to delay one day and meet in Morocco.
We arrived at the airport just after 2:00 p.m., just in time for our arrival, and we were able to meet up safely. We left the parking lot of Terminal 2 where we had parked our car, and got on the highway again. This time, we headed south in the opposite direction from Casablanca to Marrakech, where we would stay tonight.
Park at the Central Station, arrange a car, and head to Riyadh: your AirBnB debut!
It took about three hours from the airport to Marrakech by highway. The drive was smooth and trouble-free. We arrived at Marrakech Central Station just before 6:00 p.m. As I checked Google Maps, there was a public parking lot right next to the station. We parked here for two days. I’m not sure how much it costs, but I’m sure I can manage.
It’s a very nice station.
2015年5月GW はモロッコ！ Airbnbも活用予定 ちょっとだけエルサレムにも | my lifelog yuu-koma.jp http://www.yuu-koma.jp/?p=9338
After I parked my car, I went to the station and contacted the host. He told me that he would arrange a car for me because the place was in the medina with complicated roads. The driver who was arranged by Riyadh came to pick me up.
Visit a riad in the medina of the old town
I was guided by the driver and arrived at the parking lot of the riad side in about 10 minutes while looking at the bustle of the big city Marrakech from inside the car. It seems to head on foot from here. However, it was a distance of less than one minute on foot. This is the riad.
I couldn’t get a good picture of the inside, so I took a picture from Airbnb website.
First of all, we were welcomed with mint tea, which is also a Moroccan specialty. There is a nice terrace on the roof, so we had it here.
Now, as I have already mentioned several times, “riads” are hotels that have been renovated from traditional Moroccan mansions, which are found in many Moroccan cities. Rumor has it that they became popular in 2000 or so. For a detailed explanation of riads, the following article is very detailed and conveys the atmosphere.
【世界の宿】モロッコの古い邸宅を改装したホテル「リヤド」が素敵すぎて夢のような空間だった！ | ロケットニュース24 http://rocketnews24.com/2013/05/15/328394/
We will stay two nights in this riad.
Dinner near Riyadh
After a quick rest in the riad, we went into town for dinner. However, I had just recovered from the previous day’s food poisoning and my appetite was finally returning, while my wife had just arrived. So, we had a light meal at a restaurant near the riad. As usual, I searched on TripAdvisor.
Marrakech is just a city and there seems to be various types of restaurants. This restaurant has Moroccan cuisine, but I think it was mainly a little French style arranged meal.
The terrace on the roof was nice, so we ate there.
We finished our meal, which was a bit more moderate than usual, and returned to the riad. I took a shower and went to bed. The long day was over. The next day was a full day of sightseeing in Marrakech. (To be continued)