Eat out al-fresco last night. Had dinner and shared a bottle of white wine next to the pool of Radisson Blu’s Carre Eden hotel in Marrakesh’s French Quarter.
After what felt like months of non-stop rain back home, I could still just about remember what the sun looked like but was beginning to feel that there was nowhere on the planet it was actually shining.
The forecast looks really good for the week we’re here with temperatures peaking at just under 30 degrees Celsius. Hot during the day and, as we can testify, warm enough to sit outside on an evening. I’m looking forward to restoring my much-depleted Vitamin D levels and reacquainting myself with this amazing city.
Sunshine or not, it was just great to get here and relax after another frustrating day of short-haul travel that as I get older I’m finding so much more difficult to cope with. The flight from London Luton to Marrakesh takes just over three hours, yet the whole journey took almost of the all day.
After a morning of packing we set off to the airport at about 11.30am for our 3pm flight – you can never be sure what the traffic’s going to be like on the M1. We checked in our suitcase as soon as the Ryanair bag drop opened and then fought our way through the queues and searches of security.
There are few things I find more irritating than having to take off belts, watches, shoes and unpack laptops, tablets, kindles and phones under the watchful eye of grim-faced security staff while being hassled by other travellers who are as irritable as me no doubt.
Then – and breathe – there’s a bit of time to relax with some food, drink and shopping before you take the long walk to the gate where there’s more queuing, checks and hassle as your force your way into your seat on the plane. I used to hate flying, now it’s the only bit of the journey I enjoy because at least you feel like you’re on your way.
Then you arrive, more pushing and shoving getting off the plane, some coronavirus-related form filling before another queue getting through customs which, at Marrakesh, includes checks by three separate officials.
Then a wait to collect your bag, and another security scan leaving the airport and then the tense few minutes before you eventually notice your hotel transfer driver tentatively waving an illegible sign with your name on it.
It’s a 30 minute drive to the hotel, a few formalities and then, at last, a quick unpack before you can relax and enjoy that first sip of cool, white wine ten hours after your journey began.
I know what I’m describing here is just a normal trip, we had no serious delays, nothing went seriously wrong but there surely has to be a better way. Every time I do this it reminds me why my Dad just does cruises and why I much prefer our LoveBus campervan trips in the summer where you can enjoy both the journey and the arriving.
Albert Einstein was a clever man but I can no longer agree with his famous quote: “I love to travel but hate to arrive.”