Fez to Casablanca (Morocco) to Cairo, Egypt!

Trip Start Oct 21, 2009
Trip End Jan 12, 2010

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

11.6.09/11.7.09                 Fez to Casablanca to Cairo, Egypt

On Friday (11.6.09), after another wonderful riad breakfast, we packed up our room and took a crazy petit taxi ride to the train station (my suitcase precariously thrown into – but not secured to – the tiny luggage rack on top of the taxi!).  We were sad to say goodbye to Fez!  We had tried twice to sign up for a -day Moroccan cooking lesson – starting with a guided trip into the souqs to buy our ingredients, and ending with the lunch we had learned to make – but unfortunately, both places were already booked.

 At any rate, our first-class train cabin to provided us with a relaxing, four-hour ride back to Casablanca, and this time we were able to enjoy the ride in daylight and see some stunning Moroccan topography.  We also met some interesting people on the train, including a university professor of sociology and anthropology from Agadir, Morocco, and his one-year-old son, Soni.

When we arrived in Casablanca around 3pm, we thought we would stow bags in the station's "left luggage" facilities and head out to see a few hours of Casablanca (namely, the Hassan II Mosque) – but guess what?  It turns out that Casablanca’s train station is about the only station that doesn’t provide this service!  So… chained to our heavy suitcases, it turned out to be a bit of a wasted day.  We had some lunch, went back to the station and bought our train tickets to the airport!  We were at the airport by 5:30pm for our 11:40pm flight to Cairo, Egypt.  Ack!

I am really excited about heading to Egypt!  Out of our 11 weeks of world travel, our two weeks in Egypt and Jordan are the only weeks in which we are on an organized tour.  Also, my parents and several family friends are participating in this tour, making it even better!  It will be so nice to have everything (accommodations, itineraries, food, etc.) planned for us for a while – but I am more excited about the great time I will get to spend with my family and friends!

Our flight to Cairo (EgyptAir) went just fine (larger plane this flight!), and we arrived in Cairo today (11.7.09) around 7:00am.  We were met at the airport by a guide from the tour company.  He drove us into Cairo and got us checked in to our great new digs at the Safir Hotel Cairo, a five-star hotel (a big change from what we’ve been used to the last few weeks).  Murray and I slept most of the day, and finally met the rest of the group (arriving from Fargo, ND!) at our hotel around 6:15pm – a very fun reunion!  Around 7:30pm, our entire tired group (18 of us) had our first dinner out together at Fenfenal, a restaurant serving traditional Egyptian cuisine.  Aside from pita plus wonderful salads and dips, we enjoyed mixed kabob platters , eggplants with chilies, and awesome rice pudding for dessert (this is no Kozy Shack, folks).  We were back at the hotel, with lights off, by 10pm.  Tomorrow, our Egyptian adventure begins! 
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