Hello there! I stumbled upon this site while researching Morocco, and have already found it to be full of useful information. I was hoping you could offer some advice for my upcoming trip.
First, some background information... about 15 years ago I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. I lived in a very small Berber village called Tit n'Ali, north of Gourrama in the province of Errachidia. In the 2.5 years that I lived there, I had the privilege of travelling throughout much of the country, making many friends, and getting to see intimate details of the culture and daily family life. I eventually became fairly adept at speaking Tamazight, although my Arabic was never more than rudimentary. I loved my time in Morocco, and cherish the memories of my time there.
When I left, it was with a heavy heart. Of course, I always intended to return. But life seemed to have other plans for me, and somehow the years passed. Now, a decade and a half later, I finally have the opportunity to visit once more. There is a Peace Corps reunion in Rabat scheduled for the very end of May, and as I've recently moved to the Netherlands, it is within easy traveling distance... hurray!
Unfortunately, I do have some challenges. First off, I will be vacationing with my husband who is an inexperienced traveler and quite nervous about going "off the beaten path" (my assurances that Morocco has been a popular destination for decades haven't calmed his worries). Also, we will have our nearly two year old daughter with us. She's a fairly adaptable and adventurous sort, but frankly 2 is not the loveliest age. She's a squirmy, impatient kid who doesn't like to sit still for long, so extended car trips with her are rather miserable. Of course I love my family dearly, but they aren't the easiest of travel companions!
Also, my memory isn't what it once was. As I've begun planning this trip, I'm realizing that many useful details have become quite fuzzy. I haven't spoken a word of Tamazight in over a decade, and I'm not sure how I'll be able to get on with communicating. I'm completely ignorant of the roadways because, as a Peace Corps volunteer on a tight budget, I typically traveled by souk bus or the like. My husband, the nervous nellie, is relying on me to be a tour guide extraordinaire but honestly I'm not sure I'm up to the task!
I haven't made any firm plans yet, but here are some relevant tidbits:
1) We are somewhat flexible in our travel dates. I do need to be in Rabat for the reunion the weekend of May 25th, but we can position the reunion for the start, finish, or middle of our trip.
2) We have 3 weeks of vacation, but we may spend up to a week of that time in southern Spain. This is still up in the air... hubby would like to see some of Spain while we're in the area, but I can probably convince him to focus entirely on Morocco if I have a compelling itinerary!
3) Travel times MUST be kept to short bursts in order to prevent a toddler melt-down. No more than 3-4 hours at a go. Means of transport that allow getting up and walking around are ideal (trains are wonderful for a curious toddler, but of course the trains don't go everywhere)
4) Finicky husband requires "comfortable" lodgings. This doesn't necessarily mean fancy, but perhaps a cut or two above the youth hostels and dives that I used to frequent
5) I don't think it will be feasible to visit my village this time (sigh). Some of the destinations I have been considering include: Chefchaouen, Asilah, Rabat (for the reunion), Fez, Meknes/Volubulis, Azrou/Ifrane, Marrakech (a must!), Essaouira, Ouarzazate/Skoura. I realize that there is no way that we will comfortably fit all of this into our trip, just haven't narrowed it down yet.
Well, now that I've practically written a novel... I do hope you'll drop a few pearls of wisdom my way! I so want this trip to be enjoyable for my entire family. Perhaps if everyone leaves happy, I can inspire them to return again soon! Any suggestions or advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.