It couldn’t be done they said. It was too risky they said. What will happen if you get covid they said. What will happen if you can’t leave, they said? Against many odds and in spite all the negative advice and fear, I took a 12-day solo trip to Morocco in Oct 2020, during the middle of a global health pandemic.
Now planning travel is a bit more complicated than before. Firstly, I had to get a letter of invitation from my tour operator, a negative covid test, 48 hrs before I departed, covid travel medical insurance and a tour itinerary. But I knew it was all possible, as long as I followed the rules and regulations of the airlines and the country.
Gone are the days of airline service, hot meals and wine to drink. I flew Turkish airlines from Istanbul and on this 10-hr journey, all I got was a brown paper bag with a chewy cheese roll and a small bottle of water. I didn’t care. I was on a plane going somewhere. The flight surprisingly was full. Mainly of local Moroccans heading home.
On arrival at Casablanca airport, it was quick, no queues, no fuss. All I needed to show was my letter of invitation to Morocco. Welcome to Morocco my driver said, you are first tourist I’ve seen since 2019, thanks you for visiting. We sped off on an empty freeway, we pass a few police checkpoints, mostly for checking of masks. Now Im not saying I wasn’t worried, I was, but I weighed up all my risks and options before I left and now it was just a case of enjoying myself. The first day was spent wandering downtown Casablanca and I achieved my long-awaited dream of dining at Ricks Café ,the famous tavern in the movie Casablanca. Alone in the restaurant, I drank wine, gorged on goat’s cheese, fig salad and chicken tangine, all whilst black tie waiters fussed over me. Next day was a 5-hr 1st class train ride out west to the desert town of Marrakesh. Yes, finally Im doing what I love travelling on a train in a foreign land, listening to music and watching the world speed by. Again, my guide and driver greeted me with “madam you are our first customer since 2019, thank you for coming to Morocco.
I was escorted to a beautiful and fully empty Riad in the Medina. For 3 nights it was me, the Riad owner and the African lady cook /housekeeper. I slept like a princess.
Morocco is 97% Sunni Muslim, it’s very spiritual and the people have a different state of mind to most westerners. Everything is “Inshallah”, left to god to decide. Seems to work well for them. It’s a clean and well organised country. Though recent events have had a vast impact on its economy and people, but it will forever remain, one of the most popular destinations in the world. With their unique Berber and Arab style handicrafts and beautiful colourful ceramics, popular the world over.
I next took a driver down south to the coastal town of Essaouira situated on the Atlantic Ocean. This time I stayed with an Australian lady friend, in her Guest House called Desert Rose. I spent 4 glorious days with her exploring the incredible wide avenues of the medina, walking on the vast beach with roaming horses, camels and of course eating lots of local food and wine.
Now travelling in covid is weird, every now and then, my travel bubble would be burst, with thoughts and fear of covid. But the fear would pass, and I carried on with my masks that matched my outfits and my desire to make the most of everyday.
My journey ended well with another negative covid test and a glorious traffic free drive to the airport watching the sunrise over the desert dunes. I made it back home renewed and excited to share my covid travel tales and more importantly fine tune my Morocco tour itinerary for our Morrocco Wellbeing Tour planned for October 2022.