11 cities, three countries, two continents―Go Ahead Traveler Achala experienced a variety of cultures on our Portugal, Spain & Morocco tour. The itinerary is filled to the brim with rich cultural moments, ensuring travelers get the most out of each and every place. Achala shares the best parts of traveling on an action-packed, multi-country tour.
Visiting three different countries in one trip was the highlight for my group and what they were most excited about coming into the trip. We were able to see the best of each country since we were in each location for a short period of time. Some of the most memorable stops were the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, the Chapel of Bones in Évora, the Alhambra in Granada, and the many pottery stores throughout Morocco. The itinerary provided a solid understanding of each country that really broadened my world perspective.
Since we were moving so fast and seeing so much we were able to compare and contrast each country side-by-side. Certain themes like the architecture and art were similar in each country. We could see how European influences had traveled into Morocco and how the cultures have crisscrossed. A perfect example? The intricate tilework that was present throughout all three countries.
My group was able to try traditional foods in the areas where the dishes originated. Spain and Portugal were really focused on seafood since we visited cities along the coast. Morocco had more meat-based meals that were cooked in a tajine, their version of a slow cooker, and paired with vegetables and couscous. There was a breadth of flavor in Morocco and it was a new experience to see the dishes I’d heard about at-home be brought to life abroad. Also, every time we were at a rest stop my group members would try the local beer and that was a great way to make the most of a pit stop on the trip.
The bus journeys were an unexpected highlight of the trip. Everyone thought Morocco would be desert, but we were surrounded by lush green fields that looked like patchwork. We wouldn’t have gotten that if we had flown. My group also spent time on the bus talking about what’s next and sharing travel stories. The Tour Director’s passions came through on those bus rides, plus he used the time to share tips for Morocco including the best places to stop for a picture and where we should go to eat.
My fellow travelers knew one another coming into the trip as the tour was organized through our Group Travel Program. Since we were so busy, we got to spend a lot of time together and everyones passion for exploring the world really came to life. Since travel is unpredictable, my Group Coordinator would approach any inopportune situation with this attitude of “we’re in a new country, seeing new things, let’s bounce back and be positive.” I think that it’s important to laugh through everything, and know that the trip is a bonding experience. Travel itself is a privilege, so don’t bring any preconceived notions into it, because everything can amaze.