The Mystical and Magical Morocco - United Hub

The mystical and magical Morocco

By The Hub team

Each week we will profile one of our employee's adventures across the globe, featuring a new location for every employee's story. Follow along every week to learn more about their travel experiences.

By SFO Customer Service Representative Madhura Chitale

I've always wanted to see the Sahara Desert, explore old medinas and eat the delicious food of Morocco, a place I imagined to be very exotic and full of colorful palaces. Recently, I finally got to experience all that when I decided to take a trip there with some co-workers and friends.

Madhura Chitale and friends in Morocco

We decided to go to Marrakech first. Once we arrived we headed straight to our bed and breakfast we had booked in the historic district. After having mint tea and a good lunch, we visited the medina and explored some beautiful architecture. A medina quarter is a distinct city section found in many North African cities that is typically walled, with many narrow and maze-like streets.

After exploring the medina, we went to the famous Jemaa-el-Fnaa Square, where you can find hundreds of people at night eating and shopping. Later that night we decided to go to a travel agency to find transportation for our trip to the Sahara Desert. We decided on a tour guide who took us to the desert in a Land Cruiser the next morning and brought us back the following day. It was a very long trip, but worth the once-in-a-lifetime experience. Early the next morning, our travel began with a drive across the high Atlas Mountains. We passed many beautiful villages and made a stop in Ait Benhaddou -- a walled city along the former caravan route between the Sahara Desert and Marrakech, as well as the famous Kasbah, which has been used in various films as a backdrop.

We stopped in Ouarzazate to have lunch and then crossed a more than 120 mile long Draa Valley to arrive in Merzouga, the gateway to the dunes of the Moroccan Sahara Desert. We arrived at night and rode camels to our Berber camp. It was so dark that we could see the Milky Way very clearly. Once at the campsite, we had a wonderful homemade dinner, while watching Berber people playing music. As all the lights went off, we could fully appreciate the starry sky. There is nothing around you, and all you can hear are footsteps of camels on soft sand -- it was a dramatic experience.

camels in Morocco

The next morning we were ready to climb the dunes and take lovely pictures of the sunrise. Our bodies were a little sore from trekking for an hour the previous night, so we decided to take road transportation to the starting point of our camel safari. We have very fond memories of the entire journey, during which we experienced the most beautiful, spectacular and dramatic scenery in the world.

The next day we took a train to Fez, famous for its walled medina. We wandered through a maze-like city of minarets with Arabic and French influence. The medina of Fez was founded in the 9th century at around the same time that Islam arrived in Morocco and the imperial rule of the country began. Fez was the capital of Morocco until 1912. We also visited the Jewish quarter, The Mellah, where few Jewish people still live.

Exploring archaeological sites in Morocco

After leaving Fez, we explored the archaeological site of Volubilis. This was a Roman city dating back to the 3rd century BC and was a central administrative city of this part of Roman Africa. People lived there for more than 1,000 years until it was abandoned in 18th century and was demolished in order to build the palace of the Sultan in Meknes. We visited Bab el-Mansour, which is the main gate between the Meknes medina and Imperial City districts. The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is the tomb of Morocco's greatest ruler, who made Meknes his capital city in the 17th century.

After exploring imperial cities of Morocco, our last stop was Tangier. We took a four-hour drive by private van from Fez to Tangier, which is a Moroccan port on the Strait of Gibraltar. We took a ferry across to Tarifa, Spain, ending our fabulous trip to mystical and magical Morocco.

United Makes it Easier for Customers to Find and Use Travel Credits

The airline offers customers the most transparent and user-friendly options in the industry to encourage and simplify using travel credits
By United Newsroom, September 23, 2021

CHICAGO, Sept. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United today announced it is giving customers even more flexibility when they need to rebook their travel by helping them to find and use their travel credits. United is the only airline to make it easy for customers to use their credits by automatically displaying them as a payment option during the checkout process. This functionality will be available for MileagePlus® members first and the airline is working to roll it out to all customers in the near future. Also, beginning next week, United will be the first to let customers use their travel credits for extra legroom seats and to pre-pay for checked baggage.

United Airlines Plans to Begin Flights Between Washington, D.C. and Lagos, Nigeria in November

United to operate the first ever nonstop flight between Washington, D.C. and Lagos and offer more flights between D.C. and Africa than any other carrier
By United Newsroom, September 17, 2021

CHICAGO, Sept. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines announced today that new service between Washington, D.C. and Lagos, Nigeria will begin November 29 (subject to government approval). The airline will operate three weekly flights connecting the U.S. capital to Nigeria's largest city, which is also the top Western African destination for U.S-based travelers. Tickets will be available for sale on united.com and the United app this weekend.

United, Honeywell Invest in New Clean Tech Venture from Alder Fuels, Powering Biggest Sustainable Fuel Agreement in Aviation History

United agrees to purchase 1.5 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) over 20 years - which is one and a half times the size of the rest of the world's airlines' publicly announced SAF commitments combined
By United Newsroom, September 09, 2021

CHICAGO and DES PLAINES, Ill., Sept. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United and Honeywell today announced a joint multimillion-dollar investment in Alder Fuels – a cleantech company that is pioneering first-of-its-kind technologies for producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at scale by converting abundant biomass, such as forest and crop waste, into sustainable low-carbon, drop-in replacement crude oil that can be used to produce aviation fuel. When used together across the fuel lifecycle, the Alder technologies, coupled with Honeywell's Ecofining™ process, could have the ability to produce a carbon-negative fuel at spec with today's jet fuel. The goal of the technologies is to produce fuel that is a 100% drop-in replacement for petroleum jet fuel.

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