We had just been from Zurich, through Germany, Belgium, Amsterdam and Paris and now for something different.  We have experienced different lifestyles before having been to parts of Malaysia and Vietnam. 

Nothing however compares to Marrakech and outback morocco.  What an amazing exotic and enchanting place!  Our 5 senses were hit big time from the various diverse sights to the smells of tagine, mint tea and other Moroccan cultural dishes, to the haunting sounds of evening prayer, to the fantastic local music that our guide played on our desert trip (more about that later).  And then there were the souks with busy bartering, hawkers, snake charmers and evening street food mingled with misty rising smoke.  That is just a taste of our amazing adventure here in morocco.

So please grab a snack and a drink or 3 and follow along whilst I relive our Moroccan  adventure. Oh and please, don't forget to leave a little comment to let me know that you have visited. That would be appreciated.


We arrived on Air Maroc from Orly Airport Paris. Wow! So different!! 

It was hot and dusty.   A vast change from where we had just come from.  We were met by a driver that we booked from the accommodation.

I found accommodation right in the heart of the Medina in Marrakech.  We were met from our car by Fouad from the Riad who kindly took 

our travel bags and led us through the maze of streets to our new home for the next few days.

It's amazing that right near the hustle and bustle of the souks and market square, there are quiet back streets like this.

It was equally amazing how the noise of the busy souks just melted into the cool ambience of the surrounding architecture.




Riad Dollar Des Sables was a great choice.  The staff that we met were all very friendly and welcoming.  I could not have picked a better place to stay.

This cute little Riad had an outdoor area upstairs overlooking the medina. The decorations in the main area downstairs were colourful and pleasant to look at whilst eating breakfast.

Having said that, the decor in our room including gold plated taps and accessories in our bathroom was pretty cool too.

We had our first tagine experience here - a Moroccan dish slow cooked in clay with a lid.  We also had the local mint tea, poured by hubby.



This was expensive!  Even by Australian standards.  But I would not hesitate to do it again!

Check that out!!

There is no better way to dine on your first night in Africa, overlooking the Medina Market Square - Djamaa El Fna.

Fouad from our Riad suggested that we dine here.  Obviously he received a cut from the Restaurant for taking us.  We had a fabulous time!!!  We also enjoyed our first Moroccan beer - Casablanca.

Alcohol is not readily available here so the only places you can have a drink are in International Hotels, expensive Restaurants like this one or in obscure places in back alley ways behind the Medina.

The sounds of evening prayer followed by night fall and a full moon rising behind the Medina are all memories I will never forget!



Hubby is a Horticulturist and as such loves gardens.  During our trip we saw a number of different gardens.  

Jardin Marjorelle was unique for its combination of rich colours surrounding in an amongst native desert plants.

I just loved it!

We arrived here by horse and carriage, another first for us.  If you have been following our trip you would know that we had already experienced great chiming clocks, cute cobbled stone streets, beautiful canals, staying on a houseboat, windmills, many castles and a grand palace!

So here we are in exotic morocco and of course you need to take a horse and carriage trip.


It was interesting to learn the various words that we have not come across before. 

So I will take a minute to describe what they are.


Old historic part of town typically walled with narrow maze-like streets.


A traditional house built around a central courtyard.


Market place or bazaar.

So that is why I picked our Riad in the Medina and amongst the maze of narrow back streets behind the Souk.


Djamma El Fna, the Central Square of Marrakech Medina was interesting to see at various times of the day.  As you saw above, at night it comes alive with activity, venders, cafes and street food.

However, early morning it is quiet and deserted.

Slowly shop venders were preparing for another busy day in the souk.

The hawkers start early.  Btw they are very persistent.  Sometimes even our tactic of a firm NO, look straight ahead and keep walking did not work.

Howard got caught by the snake charmers who after showing us the snake show and a snakey kiss.....  Asked for money.  😔

Speaking of hawkers, we found the best thing to do in the souk was to get the gift and jewelry shopping done quickly as this was the first place that we have ever experienced persistent and harassing hawkers.

Brush up on the exchange rate beforehand so that you do not get ripped off.   Be prepared to barter hard starting at below half of the original price offered. 



I enjoy street scenes and people watching wherever we travel. 

A great way to experience this is to do the hop on hop off bus.


Sadly our time came to an end.

We had to say goodbye to Fouad who had looked after us and made our time in Riad Dollar De Sables comfortable and very special.


Today we were heading out to the Sahara Desert for an adventure of a life time!

The trip entailed visiting amazing Kasbahs, vast changing scenery, sleeping under the stars and riding out of the desert on camels!
Not to mention having lunch with our guide's family in their home, off road 4x4 driving, sand dune bashing, and having mint tea with genuine nomads in their cave in the middle of nowhere.

I look forward to sharing our amazing adventure with you in my next blog.


5 Day Sahara Desert Trip Morocco

Meet Habib Naamani, our tour guide and owner of Sahara Dreams Maroc.

Habib is a born and bred Berber nomad who grew up in M'Hamid on the edge of the Sahara Desert.

He makes his living by driving tourists like us through his country.  Habib also employs other drivers.  We met one at the desert camp that was driving some people from France.

It was an honour and privilege to have Habib show us around.

This trip was an adventure of a life time.  We enjoyed it so much that we would love to do it all again.

Below is the start of our amazing adventure that would take us from Marrakech, through the mountains, into lush valleys, traversing tight windy roads through gorges, cross country in the 4x4, meeting Berber nomads in their cave, sleeping out under the stars in the desert, riding camels out of the desert, having lunch with Habib's relatives in their home, gunning the 4x4 through desert sand to the camp site and much, much more!

So grab some snacks, a drink or 3 and follow along whilst I relive our adventures here on my new home Travellerspoint.




One of the most enjoyable parts of this trip was the changing scenery.  Heading out of town and towards the atlas mountains it was flat and sparse.

Once we arrived at the foot of the mountains the road narrowed and was very windy as we drove up and around to this fantastic lookout.



Here we encountered hawkers selling an array of tourist gifts. I bought a rock that opens up to reveal the most gorgeous rose crystal.

The Atlas Mountains seem to go on forever.  No wonder! They are over 2,500km and span 3 countries - Morocco, Alegria and Tunisia!



This was our first nomad sighting.  They were herding their sheep and goats across the road and up the steep hillside.

We stopped to let them by and opened the windows to take some pictures. 

Habib explained that sometimes the nomads do not like to be photographed by tourists.

And sure enough, there were a few heated words spoken.

Ooops.  😏

So we quickly wound the windows up and 
continued on.



Our first Kasbah.  A Kasbah is a type of fortress where the leader lived.  It was a defense safe place for when a city was under attack.

We entered a long cool hallway which led into this room of extravagance.  Here we were taken back through time.  The whole room was surrounded by intricate ceramic tiles to which the Moroccans are so good at.

One could imagine being wined and tined here.
And that is exactly what the original owners did to their advantage.

The story of this Kasbah goes like this - the original owners of this amazing fortress were

cunning and cleaver. They duped everyone that challenged them with their amazing hospitality.
So much so that they were bypassed when a potential conflict arose and Kasbah De Telouet survived whereas other Kasbah's fell to the enemy.


Time for a pit stop, refreshments and a nice view over the valley.



Wherever I travel, not only am I interested in the landscape scenery, but I also enjoy viewing the various living conditions of the locals.

This part of Morocco was as equally interesting if not better than I have come across before in our travels.

So below are my first impressions of local living scenes in outback Morocco.  No particular order.  Like most places in the world, they have their rich, middle-class and poor.

However, it was no surprise to me to see that no matter how rich or poor, every house that we saw had a satellite dish!



We were nearing the end of our first day. Heading towards our destination for the night Ouarzazate, we had one last amazing thing to see - Ait Ben Haddou.

Ait Ben Haddou is a huge fortified city or Ksar.  It is a world heritage site that is well known for hosting a number of great movies like Star Wars, Jesus of Nazareth, Gladiator and the Jewel of the Nile.

This was an amazing place!!  We walked right up to the top for a view over the valley. Apparently there are still 10 families that reside here.


Hubby bought a couple of paintings from this guy. Well not really paintings as such. He was using clay and coloured stones and then firing them onto the paper with a blow torch.  It was quite interesting to see.



We stopped briefly at Habib's home base where we met Haiat, administrator and tour planner. When I arranged and booked our tour, Haiat was our point of contact.  It was a pleasure to deal with Haiat.  She answered our queries promptly and dealt with everything efficiently and smoothly.  We felt privileged to meet her.



Riad Dar Chamaa - a cool oasis in the desert.

We enjoyed a swim in the pool and dinner on the verandah outside overlooking the pool.  It was a pleasant place to stay for our first night.

If you have enjoyed following along as I relive our Moroccan adventure.   Please check out the following.   

Day 2 includes some off road 4x4 driving, sharing mint tea with Berber Nomads in their cave in the middle of nowhere, zig zagging down steep windy roads, Habib driving like Brocky and an interesting carpet story. 





Yesterday we left Marrakech and headed over the high atlas mountains, discovered an amazing historical Kasbah and a well known heritage site that has housed a number of

famous movies including Star Wars.

Today we were going to experience something equally amazing and diverse.

Just out of Ouarzazate was this huge lake.

We felt that this could be our last sighting for a while of lush tropical scenery.

Whereas just up the road we stopped briefly to view vast untouched countryside.



We turned off towards Skoura and Habib stopped to show us this grand Kasbah that hosted the movie Lawrence of Arabia.

This Kasbah was built in the 17th century by the Nassiri.

It is interesting to learn that the Nassiri family still lives  here. They have created a museum with tools that were used centuries ago.

They still carry out daily life here with the old olive oil press, bread ovens and happy goats meandering around in the courtyard.



It was not long after this that we ventured off road.
Habib turned up the air-con, put some local music on, and we hit the rocky dirt track towards Boutaghrar.




This was one of the highlights of our desert trip.  Meeting real Berber nomads.

It was a real humbling experience and a privilege.  This is how they live, in hollowed out caves as well as a tent.

This was a total surprise.  Habib pulled up in the middle of nowhere and asked us if we wanted to meet some nomads.

What?  Meet real nomads? Wow!!  Well you didn't have to ask me twice!!

After some pleasantries, Habib obviously knew the family.  We were asked to join them for some tea.  It was a truly awesome experience!

The family were grandpa, mum, 2 boys, 1 girl and a baby.  Dad was out herding the animals.
We sat down on rugs inside the cave and shared mint tea, smiles and goos and gaas over the baby.  I tell you, this was a once in a life time experience!!!  😍

I gave two of the bead bracelets that Gillian from Virtual Tourist gave me in Paris to the little girl who was really excited and happy with her new present.

We really wished that we had have thought about having some colouring pencils and colouring books with us.  So that is a tip for you if you plan to do the same trip.



Coming into Boutaghrar, Valley of the Roses, was a pleasant surprise. It was like an oases compared to where we had just been.

We stopped at some small gift shops where they were selling Moroccan rose oil.

Hubby and I were more interested in taking some photos across the road of the locals enjoying the river and going about their daily activities.



Lunch at Hotel la Kasbah de Dades ex Chems was nice and relaxed.  The verandah overlooked the valley below. Habib, ever the attentative host left us to enjoy our surroundings.

Across the road was a big notice board with an awesome painting.  From the verandah, we could look out at the valley below surrounded with magnificent mountains.

On the road again we stopped briefly to admire the scenery. Some local children came up the hill from nowhere and presented us with their home made gift of a camel made out of straw. Of course we paid them handsomely for our new present.

On the way to the stunning Dades Gorges, we stopped briefly to admire the mountain landscape.
Habib explained that the mountains where we saw writing meant God, King, Nation.



What a view!!

Habib knew just the place to stop before we traversed the steep windy road down towards  Tinghir, our reststop for the night.

We stopped at Cafe Timzzillite for a cool drink and a view to die for!





Habib could not have picked a better place for us to stay than Riad Dar Ayour in Tinghir.

But.   First of all, here is a carpet story.

After we had settled in, we had a bit of time to kill before dinner. 

Habib introduced us to a local who offered to take us for a walk around.  Sure, why not.

It was nice walking along the river bank and then up the hill for a lovely view over town.

There was a wedding happening and the music was loud.  A lone donkey was having his late afternoon snack.

Razouk took us through the small alleyways of Tinghir and to his humble home.


We felt really privileged to sit with Razouk and his sister and enjoy some mint tea. But there was a catch.

It was not until Razouk bought out some carpets that we realised what was going on. His sister showed us how she makes the carpets, spinning the wool and camel hair etc.

I had avoided buying a carpet before now.   After all, how was I going to ship a carpet from Morocco all the way to Australia?

But, we could not refuse. How could one refuse such amazing hospitality?


So we bought this little carpet which holds prime place on our lounge wall we had it shipped from Marakech home and the shipping price alone cost more than the carpet!!

So tip.  Yes, it is well worth it to buy an authentic carpet from a small village in morocco, but expect to pay a small fortune for it, and another small fortune to get it home.



I loved it here! The staff were so nice. They made us feel extremely welcome.

We had a magnificent view from our little verandah.  Dinner was fun.  I even had a dance with the staff.  😁

I would recommend this place totally if you plan to stay in Tinghir.



Sleeping out under the stars in the Sahara Desert.

And much, much more - Day 3.



We finished yesterday with a fun night in our Riad in Tinghir.  It was sad to leave this little place surrounded by the great Dades Mountains and Todra Gorges.  I could easily have

enjoyed another day here. 

It's funny.  That even though I felt at the time that we got ripped off by a local carpet seller, now I feel like it would have been nice to have this local show us around a bit more.

Razouk, you really were a cool guy.

Today, we were about to venture into some rough territory, taking us through changing countryside and to this small village right on the edge of the Sahara where Habib our guide grew up. 



We had quite a bit of mileage to cover today so we started out early.  Quick pit stop at the huge Todra Gorges.  I mean HUGE!!  I imagine the hotel here would cost a fortune.



Time to take a short cut and hit the dusty track towards Tazzarine and on to the Sahara Desert.

This part of the journey may be boring for some.  I found it interesting.  I could certainly see that we were on the way to the desert.  Long flat roads to nowhere, followed by traversing around mountainous terrain devoid of the usual greenery that mountains usually attract.

All this kept me interested.   Along with the great local music that Habib was playing whilst we sat in the 4 wheel drive in comfort with the air-con  full ball.

We stopped for a leg streach.

Hubby found a wee tree.




The short cut dirt track ended at N'Kob and back onto the bitumen leading through Tazzarine, Tamegroute and to M'Hamid on the edge of the Sahara.

I saw this house heading into N'Kob that looked like it was still under construction.
I was left scratching my head a bit?  Wouldn't it have been better to work on the access

first?  Seems like a bit of a rough driveway to me?

After driving up and through the village, we stopped briefly for a view over the valley.
Some children came down to say Hi and Habib gave them a bit of change.

Not too far now. 


We drove through Tazzarine without stopping.  Not too much to see here.



There were however a couple of things of interest in Tamegroute.

Tamegroute is the home of lovely pottery.  We stopped at a little shop and Habib took us around the back and showed us how they make it sitting in dug out holes to keep cool and ensure they don't bend too much.   And with kiln holes out back to fire the pottery.

Tamegroute also has something else that is special.  Habib took us through a labyrinth of small streets to an amazing Koranic library where thousands of original manuscripts are kept.

Now that is something you don't see every day in

 your travels. Very interesting.



As we drove closer to the desert, Habib explained that we were now in the Draa Valley where the palms meet the desert and true enough we watched as the palms got less and less and the desert loomed ahead.

We saw our first desert camel.

And a dust storm that we had to strategically avoid.



Main street of M'Hamid.   

Habib is a Berber nomad born and bred in this little town. As we drove down the main and only street, it was touching to see how many locals raced over to say hello and do the Moroccan male greeting.

We felt privileged to be with such a celeb.
But things were about to get a whole lot better!

Not only did we have the privilege of smiling at the locals that greeted our guide, but Habib drove around a back street and invited us to come in and have a feed with his family!  Wow! What a grand privilege!!!

A huge tagine feast was presented in the middle of the family room and we sat down on nice pillows on the floor and all tucked in eating with our hands and dipping the home made bread into the juices.  I tell you,  It was absolutely fantastic!!!
Hubby and I felt humbled and privileged, and the family warmth was so evident.

Sorry.   No pictures.  We didn't think that would be appropriate.



Our first night sleeping under the stars in the Sahara.

This camp site wasn't far from M'Hamid.  A misty sunset greeted us.

We were asked if we wanted to sleep in a little hut or if we wanted our bed outside. 
 That's a no brainer.
Even after a big day, I managed to wake a few times and just look up at the stars and listen to the various desert sounds of insects and distant camels.  An experience I will never forget.



Next morning our camels arrived.  Yes, we were about to ride the camels out of the desert.

The original plan was for us to ride into the desert.  But the sandstorm the previous day meant that plan B was in place.

Plan B was good.

My camel is cuter I reckon 😉

We saw a Nomad Camp and these 2 young ones.

And when we arrived at M'Hamid our butts were a bit sore.   But the camel ride out of the Sahara desert was a memory that we will never forget! 

Next up - Another night sleeping under the stars in a bigger desert camp with bigger dunes!! 

And better photos!!!!



The previous day saw us sleeping under the stars in the Sahara Desert not far out from M'Hamid, a small town on the edge of the desert and where our guide Habib was brought up.

This morning, we rode out of the desert on camels.  A wonderful experience!

Doesn't get any better right?


Actually it does!!  
More about that later.

Habib greeted us back in M'Hamid and gave us a couple of small gifts including a Berber scarf each.  He also gave me a lovely little silver neckless of a hand with a blue eye in the middle.
Habib showed hubby how to put on his scarf.

 Blue is the colour of Berber nomads.  
Other nomads have different colours that signify their tribe.

Habib had a bit of business to do in town so we had a wander around and found a nice little café for a snack and coffee and a bit of people and donkey watching. 


Now for the best bit.

We were headed across miles of desert sand as far as you could see towards the huge dunes of Chegaga and our desert camp for tonight.
You wouldn't think that you could see another vehicle out here in this remote destination. 
But we did.

Not only that, but we saw a few other 4x4s headed in the same direct. No roads out here though.   So Habib put peddle to metal and overtook the lot haha.

Sahara desert peak traffic hour.

We saw camels and donkeys along the way.






Arriving at Habib's camp site at Chegaga Dunes was amazing!

We walked up the huge dunes.  Hubby made it to the top.  I just sat and enjoyed watching the sun set over the Sahara.  Stunning! 😂

By this time one of Habib's staff had arrived with some French tourists.
We had dinner by gas lantern and then they brought out the drums and we had a party  in the Sahara. 

And another night just us sleeping under the stars.   
The others opted to stay in the cabins.   
Silly them.  😏  How awesome is that!



Next morning we had to say goodbye to the desert and head back the quick no road way to Marrakech.


We stopped quickly and Habib had a chat.   Minutes later he bought a rock.  
Back in the car Habib explained that meteorite can fetch very good money.

Another interesting sight.   An empty petrol station in the middle of nowhere that is used in movies.

There were a couple of locals sitting under the tree who wanted money to show you around. 

We just stopped, wound down the windows, took a few quick photos and moved on.  
Before the locals realised it. 
Habib knew all the tricks.

Back to the Tizi n'tichka pass over the Atlas Mountains.

Our holiday in morocco was coming to an end.
But not before we saw the great North Atlantic Ocean.
Stay tuned for my next blog.



Our trip to the Sahara Desert with Habib, born and bred Berber Nomad was phenomenal!   I'd like to take a minute to share my appreciation for all that he did for us.

Habib grew up in M'Hamid on the edge of the Sahara Desert.   He uses his knowledge of this
part of Morocco to share with tourists like us.

Our trip was like a gift from a local and not just paying to be shown around.   It was special.

If you have been following my story you will already know that Habib was the most amazing host.  Not only did he know all the short routes, but he also made our trip extra special - like Meeting a Berber Nomad family and sharing mint tea in their cave. Like sharing a Moroccan feast on the floor of his family's living room in M'Hamid.  Like taking us to his camps in the Sahara and making a bed so that we could sleep under the stars.  And much more.

If you are thinking of doing something similar.  Then please check out Sahara Dreams Maroc and specifically ask for Habib to show you around not one of his staff.

So Habib, if you read this, I would like to say a big thank you to you, Haite your administrator, your extended family and your dear wife who was a pleasure to meet.  😄


Today, we were headed out to our first view of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Our destination Essaouira is a charming fishing village right on the coast.

Habib, ever surprising was dressed today in western jeans and top.  I suppose that here he doesn't have to advertise that he is a Berber Nomad.

We headed out of Marrakech through busy suburbs, and new suburbs.

On the way we stopped momentarily to take a few photos of goats in trees.

Yes the locals have many ingenious ideas on how to scrounge our tourist dollars.

I had actually seen this before in my research so I knew it was a tourist scam.  The locals place their goats strategically in trees and then charge tourists like us that stop for a unique picture.

Habib, ever the smart....
 'I'm on to you ..... Scammer.'
Pulled up, wound down the windows, we shot off a few quick photos, and we were on our way.

I guess you have to be selective in to whom you give your tourist dollars to. 

Here, overlooking Essaouira, we stopped briefly to have our photo taken with a camel.

Not that we hadn't before, but this looked like a good chance to have a nice photo.

We were happy with the result.


Thanks to Angela (angiebabe on Virtual Tourist) for the tip.  We really enjoyed our day out to Essaouira.

This quaint little fishing village is well known for the fish markets in the harbour, a well preserved fortress on the rocks, nice village markets and plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy a long all afternoon lunch.


Self explanatory.  We enjoyed a slow stroll around the buzz of activity here.  Big trawlers were coming and going like us Aussies call 
Pitt Street Sydney.

Fresh fish being prepared for sale and plenty of bartering happening.  Plus sounds which reminded me of a house auction. All happening at the harbour markets in Essaouira.


I enjoyed a wander through the markets here.  There were no harassing hagglers like in Marrakech.  We were able to browse without anyone hassling us.

I bought quite a few garments.  A couple of batik all in one jump suits which I still wear when I want to be comfortable also a couple of what we call 'poo catcher pants' lol. You know, the ones where the crutch is way down low. Hey, stop laughing. I love them.  

Oh and I saw a couple of CD's that I recognised.


I bought a couple of CD's and hubby and I enjoy listening to them on our road trips because they hold special memories of speeding through the Sahara Desert to amazing local music.

Imagine, fanging through the desert, Habib had the music turned up and was tapping the tune on his steering wheel. I was in the back seat, tapping the music on my knee lol.

All whilst speeding towards the great dunes of Chegaga!  This music adds to the vivid memories of our wonderful trip to the Sahara.

Time for lunch.


Being in a fishing village, we were itching for some fresh seafood.  
Ahhhh, Restaurant Ramsess.

Food was good and tasty, however I am afraid that Australian fresh prawns are far better. 😉

We really are spoilt in Australia for our fresh seafood.


Built in 1765 by a French architect as protection from the sea.  The fortress walls have canons which are a mixture of Portugese, Spanish and Dutch.

I thought that this Kasbah was very well preserved.  I particularly liked the stone work.  It made for some nice photos.

We watched some teenage boys fishing off the rocks for a while.  I think the conditions were a bit too windy to catch anything.  Even the seagulls looked a bit put out by all that wind.

Hubby spent a bit of time trying to get that great ocean wave action.

And looking back and up I spotted what looked like a great place to stay. Imagine the view they would have!!!


We had a bit of time before Habib picked us up.  We ventured across the road to a café with beach views and had a couple of beers whilst watching the locals play footy on the beach, and some boating.

On the way back to Marrakech we stopped briefly to take some pictures of an amazing sunset!!   Before reaching Marrakech after dark.

We had booked the Ibis Hotel which is right next door to the train station as we were planning to head by train to our last destination in Morocco.

Habib offered instead to take us. Wow! Cool!  Except on the way back a last minute family situation came up and Habib could not take us.  So he arranged to hand over to one of his staff to drive us.

So we unfortunately had to say our goodbyes.  But I say it is never goodbye. There is always next time.

The Ibis was clean and comfortable.  If you plan a train trip here and want to be near the train station, then I would recommend the Ibis.  If you are a train buff, then all the better.  We could see the trains coming and going from our little verandah.






Last day in morocco.  We chose Casablanca as it was the easiest place to fly from to Spain.

We had enjoyed the exotic sights, smells, sounds and tastes of Marrakech.

We had a thoroughly amazing adventure to the Sahara desert where we slept out under the stars and rode camels out of the desert.

We had a fun day trip to a quaint fishing village on the Atlantic Coast.

And now to chill for a day before travelling on to Spain.

No sightseeing for us today. We were going to enjoy the luxury of our hotel, dip our toes in the Atlantic and go for a short stroll along the coastal promenade and find a place for a nice lunch.


I wouldn’t look any further. Hotel Club Val D'Anfa had everything we were looking for. Comfortable bed, good breakfast, friendly staff, nice pool and a view over the ocean from our little room Verandah.

PS - The bed was very comfortable!! 

No rushing today.  Just a stroll along the beachside promenade and enjoying a bit of people watching.

We had a bit of a chuckle at the locals parking ability.  😁

Food at a quaint side street restaurant was nice.
Hubby really felt like some Asian food.  😕

And a dip of the feet in the ocean. Which was quite muddy haha.

View looking back to our hotel from the beach.
And an interesting looking little beach hut of 

some sort.

Lastly, a shot of my VT thongs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Goodbye morocco!

And on to our next destination in Spain where we had another first.

This big trip was full of first experiences for us.

Stay tuned for another Aussirose adventure in Spain.  Including driving through the Spanish hills in a convertible!!!  




Spain was hubby's choice.

This was our last country in an amazing 6 week adventure through Europe starting in Zurich and driving through Germany and Belgium to Amsterdam.

Then fast train to Paris where we had an amazing time including a big Virtual Tourist meet.

Then to Morocco where we experienced a taste of the exotic.  Including a 5 day Sahara desert trip to die for!

If you are thinking of visiting any of the above places then please check out my blogs. Maybe I can be of assistance in helping you plan your trip.

We flew from Casablanca to Malaga and picked up our hire car to drive to Torremolinos.



Our view from hotel Apartamentos Bajondillo.  Suggested by VT veterans Hansi and Lori who stay here regularly each February to get away from the cold in Canada.

Torremolinos was a great place to base ourselves.
The 2 things that we chose to do were la Alhambra Palace and gardens and Ronda in the Andalucia Mountains.



I had heard that the parking here was difficult, so I booked our day trip through Viator including pickup from a hotel in Granada.

We drove to the hotel in Granada and parked outside.  We were picked up from there. This worked well.

Hubby studied the gardens of La Ahambra as part of his landscape design course in horticulture.  Howie was looking forward to this day.  I just love gardens and flowers anyway.

I must admit, the beautiful gardens, water ponds and features were a delight to see.  There's something special about gardens and the sight and sounds of running water.

We were dazzled by the intricate tile work inside.  There was obviously a distinct Moroccan influence.  We had seen similar tiles in Kasbahs in Morocco.

And the scenery through a window arch.

We experienced another first here in southern Spain.  
There were many firsts on this big holiday like huge chiming clocks, quaint cobblestone streets, cruising canals, many castles, a grand palace, riding horse and carriage, old historical Kasbahs, sleeping under the stars in the Sahara.

Today we were about to ride a convertible car through the Andalusian mountains.  

Yes, our hire car was a black convertible.  




Mijas and its glorious whitewashed houses was lovely.  Unfortunately, as we drove slowly through town, we could not find a parking spot, so we kept heading towards Ronda.





We arrived in Ronda and the place was flooded with likeminded tourists. Where to park?

As there were no parking spots in town, we drove out a bit and finally found one.  We stepped out, locked up and hollered for a taxi.
Well all went well. A taxi turned up in about 10 seconds.   Great!

We jumped in and a bit of sign language later, finally got the taxi driver to take us into the town centre.

But then.   Omg!!   We didn't have a clue where we had left our car!   And no way of finding it!!  What to do?!!

Well thankfully with the help of the taxi driver's phone and google, we were able to translate

to the lovely driver to meet us again at 3.30pm to take us back to our car. 

Catastrophe averted.  Phew!!! 



Why Ronda?   We had never heard of this place before reading all about it on loripori's page on VT.

This is what Ronda is famous for?

Stunning hey!!

Puente Nuevo (translated new bridge), spanning over a 120m chasm that separates 2 parts of the town, took 34 years to build.

It is not the original bridge. That one was not built solidly  enough and collapsed killing 50 people.



Our first look at a bull fighting ring.

I am not impressed with what I have learnt about this sport.  It's absolutely horrible what they do to the poor bulls.

I am glad that is has been ruled out now in most places in Spain.

The centre of town near the bridge was a hive of activity.  We took a short stroll across the bridge and did a bit of gift shopping including a nice leather belt for hubby. 

 Then found a quaint café just on the other side of the  bridge and sat outside under the shade sale and had a nice light lunch washed downs with a couple of San Miguels.

Lucky for us, our friendly taxi driver arrived on time at 3.30.



The beach here reminded us of our gold coast beach in Australia.

Spain is renowned for fresh seafood so of course we had to give it a try.  We chose a restaurant right on the beach - Pescaitos.  

Unfortunately, the seafood was a bit tasteless.

We are too spoilt for fresh seafood in Australia.

But where the food lacked, the staff and service certainly made up for that. The owner was happy for a photo.

A lovely flowering boab tree. I recognised this because we have them in Australia.

I enjoyed our tappas dinner here at El Dorado.

And of course everywhere we go, hubby and I enjoy tasting the local beer.

Next stop - Valencia. By far my favourite place in Spain.




Valencia was my favourite city in Spain.  
We stayed on the Corso at the beach at 
Hotel Apartamentos  Banjondillo.  
It was an easy bus ride into the city.

It was the architecture in Valencia that blew me away.  There were some unique buildings here with gorgeous ornate designs.

A good way to see all of this is to take the hop on, hop off bus.



This was a real highlight.  There are plenty of unique buildings here in the city of arts and sciences.

And at night, it becomes a photographer's dream.



If you get a chance to go to Lake Albufera, then I would strongly suggest that you do.

We were lucky enough to meet up with 
Virtual Tourist friend Mahesh who kindly offered to drive us there.

There was a wedding happening at the time.  What a lovely backdrop for wedding photos.

Mahesh took us to his local tapas restaurant for dinner.  Best meal we had in Spain!!

And the Spanish red wine that Mahesh chose was very good too.

We were even treated like celebs, having our pic taken with the staff.

Valencia had a warm homely atmosphere.  The people were very friendly and greeted or smiled at you in the street.   Something most cities sadly lack these days.
It even felt safe wandering around at night.



I'm not a real animal person.  I prefer plants and flowers.  We saw another unusual building and wandered over for a look.

Well it was an underwater world.  Hubby couldn't resist.  So I tagged along.

We had a lovely afternoon wandering around in here and the dolphin show was pretty good too.





We tried out a couple of restaurants along the beach Corso.

El Coso was fine dining and attached to our hotel. 

The food here was tastefully plated and tasted real good.

Sal Marina had an open air atmosphere and looked out onto the Corso and beach.  We again tried the seafood.  My seafood chowder was tasty.




Barcelona, our last city of an amazing 6 week trip. Our first big overseas trip. 10 years in the making, saving, planning, lots of googling, mapping, more googling for off the beaten path places. Everything worked out well.

I hope you have been following along because I wanted to share with you some awesome adventures, funny stories, tons of firsts for us, different landscape, mountains, canals, architecture, culture, food, beers haha.

And great memories of meet ups arranged through virtualtourist.com which is sadly no longer here.



If it wasn't such a big city with its crowds, scammers, pickpockets etc, I would have really enjoyed this place.  Unfortunately, ever being vigilant and guarded took some of the fun out of it for me.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't dislike Barcelona at all.  On the contrary,  just loved the Gaudi architecture everywhere and other intricate designed buildings.  Barcelona is a top destination if you love architecture.

The hop on hop off bus routes were well thought out. You simply cannot visit Barcelona
for the first time and not do the tourist bus.  It's a great way to get you to the various major sights.  Hey Barcelona is a big city!  Just make sure you get there early to avoid the long lines.

Ok, so we came from Valencia on the train to Barcelona.  That trip in itself is well worth it! The train travelled for a lot of the way very close to the shore line so we got to see some lovely beaches along the way.

Arriving in Barca, the first thing we noticed was the black and yellow taxi cabs.   We joined the line and there was an old London style one coming up.  I counted the people in front of us, hoping to get that cab!!  And yes!! Awesome!! We did!! Lol.

Like Paris, Barcelona has expensive accommodation.  I chose a quaint hotel right in the centre of town, a minute walk from the centre square - Placa de Catalunya. That was where we also booked our hop on hop off bus.



I would most certainly stay here again. It was very good for the price and very clean. Friendly staff too. I couldn't have asked for more.



Being close to Placa de Catalunya, the centre square of Barcelona and where the famous Las Ramblas starts,worked out great. We could explore before the crowds invaded.

I have never seen so many pigeons!!  I suppose that is what Trafalgar square looks like lol.

We had fun laughing at people laying down and being swarmed by pigeons!   Gee! Luckily the only dangerous thing about pigeons is sloppy bird poop!  Haha just keep your eyes and mouth shut lol.



Famous tourist street full of quaint gift shops, tappas bars and buskers.  Unfortunately it also has pickpockets.  We didn't stay around too long.



Architecture designed by Gaudi is what Barcelona is famous for.

When Gaudi graduated in 1878 from Barcelona's school of architecture, the director announced: "gentlemen, we are here today in the presence of either a genius or a madman."

Gaudi is most certainly a genius! His architecture is simply stunning!! He was a nature lover and a lot of his designs have obviously been constructed with that in mind.

When looking at his buildings they reminded me of lava caves.  It is not a surprise to learn that other artists like Picasso and Orwell thought that Gaudi's designs were cr@p. 

I think they were just jealous of his amazing talent.  😀

Gaudi never designed on paper but constructed 3d models to build by. So it is no surprise that the council did not approve of most of his works as he was known for flouting the building regulations with his evolving additions he just ignored that and continued. I like the man's style.



Often called the house of bones, Casa Batllo was designed by Gaudi for the middle class Batllo family.

The design is equated to a giant dragon with the base gridded by huge abstract bones crossed by what looks like patterns that look like blood vessels and muscle. The roof looks like the scaly cover of a back of a giant dragon.  Ingenious nonetheless!!  Casa Batllo was my favourite.



A rich businessman liked the Casa Batllo so much that he hired Gaudi to construct a building on the vacant block across the street. This building turned out to be less conventional than the Casa Batllo.

  Every room is irregular.  The walls and ceilings differ from one another.  In fact the whole building in constructed on pillars and arches together with the use of steel.



I loved our visit here. This is undoubtedly an amazing work of art from the buildings, to the intricate tile work, so the aesthetically pleasing gardens - all with the special Gaudi
designer touch.

Gaudi was employed by Guell, a wealthy businessman to design this park as part of a new garden suburb on the hill described as 'the treeless mountain'.

And what a stunning creation the park has unusual houses, one in which Gaudi lived, tastefully designed pillars that blend into the natural surroundings, lovely mosaic tile work
and an amazing dragon made entirely out of tiles.



As said previously, there's no better way to get around Barcelona but on the hop on hop off tourist bus. We arrived at the Placa de Catalunya early when the line was not too long.

Tip, try to get a good spot on the top deck. Once you have achieved that.  Stay there. You can plan where to get off the next time around.

We spent a lot of time looking up! Haha. There are so many lovely buildings in Barca besides the Gaudi ones.







I am not a real churchy person but I must say this Roman Catholic Church designed by Gaudi was quite impressive.

Looking down at the bus shelter it seems that this is the place where a lot of people dispose of their head phones.  Dirty litter bugs!



This is worth getting off the hop on hop off bus here.  The view over Barcelona is awesome!
There is a huge castle here and a cable car that takes you all the way down to the port.

Back in the city centre, we had a chuckle at the taxis trying to compete with the tourist bus.

BEER O'CLOCK.  🍺 😋  



My favourite. Nice and quiet, clean surroundings, attentive staff.   But not in your face.

 Sadly our big 6 week Europe and morocco holiday was at an end.  😔

We flew home via Milan and Singapore.
Milan, lakes of north Italy, and Venice.
Now there's a place to come back to next time.


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