I’m glad to report that I am writing this from my hotel room in Fes, Morocco. As detailed in my previous post, Walking the walk, I was to embark on a solo adventure on Monday 4th April. Which I guess I did… but it didn’t quite go to plan from the off!
Early start, taking the 05:25 coach from Cardiff to Heathrow for my flight to Casablanca via Lisbon. I checked in without problem, but the departure board was already showing a delay of 1 hour 10, and I knew I only had a 1 hour turnaround for my connection in Lisbon. I did a little speculating over what might happen, and also found out that all flights in and out of Lisbon were suffering due to a technical failure in the air traffic control tower. Maybe my connection would also be delayed…?
After much hanging around, departure was finally at 12:50 – an hour and a half late. Resigned to not being in control of the situation, I wasn’t panicking at this point. But as we landed and I switched my phone back on, it was to a message from the airline to say I’d been rebooked, and from my friend Heather to say she could see I’d missed my flight 😭
No more flights to Casablanca til the following day, so I was packed off to a hotel in Lisbon for the night, and I started liaising with Heather and Intrepid as to how I would catch the group up.
It was at breakfast on Tuesday morning that I realised that the PCR test I’d had for entry to Morocco would no longer be valid for that day as it was now over 48 hours old! Cue mad dash to locate an ‘express’ PCR clinic in Lisbon. Taxi, PCR, result, negative, metro, airport, check-in. Phew! Light lunch, then boarded a Royal Air Maroc propeller plane for Casablanca. Another late departure. Finally arrived at Casablanca at 4pm local time.
Eventually I located the taxi transfer that had been arranged to get me to the group in Moulay Idriss. I had no idea that this was going to involve another 3 hours of travel, nor that my life was going to flash before my eyes on several occasions as we navigated both towns and, worse, country lanes, to reach our destination. By the time we got there I was nothing short of shell-shocked!
Thankfully Youssef, the tour guide, met us with no problem and carried my bag all the way to the Chambre d’Hote hidden away in the bowels of this ancient hilltop holy city. After a glass of vanilla milk and some honey cake, I freshened up in my room before meeting the group over a delicious evening meal. I then veritably collapsed into my bed, looking forward to getting on with the tour for real the next day.
As I read through what I’ve written above, I can hardly believe the avalanche of misadventure kicked off by one delayed flight! There were definitely moments when I wondered whether to just turn tail and head home. But I’m glad I didn’t and I’m excited to share the coming days with you.