By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Longtime Palisadians Bob and Linda Schibel recently took their dream trip to explore Morocco when they found their plans quickly changing, leaving them unsure about when they might be able to return to their home 6,000 miles away.
The Marquez Knolls residents were supposed to be visiting from March 12 through 27, but realized mid-trip that their travel plans were being affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
As the Moroccan government announced plans to close its borders, the Schibels worked with their travel guide to find a flight out of the country.
“I can tell you that they gave us an email to contact the embassy,” Bob said to the Palisadian-Post. “We did what we were supposed to, they did nothing. We tried to contact our local U.S. representatives here, nothing. The U.S. government didn’t help us one bit.”
Bob explained they told their guide that maybe they should get to Marrakech to see if they could get a flight.
The group then traveled through the Atlas Mountains in the middle of a snow and rainstorm to Marrakech on the night of March 19.
“Our guide—God bless his soul—found us seats out of Marrakech … as it turned out, we got the last seats out of Morocco into the United Kingdom,” Bob said. “We were extremely lucky.”
From London, the couple’s travel agency was able to find a flight back to Los Angeles the following day.
From Marrakech to London to Los Angeles, the Schibels made it home safely on Friday, March 20.
It started as a long-planned trip with a group of friends, and Bob said they enjoyed the time they were there. But it wasn’t just a vacation, it was meaningful.
“Our son is connected with Travel with Meaning … where you travel with a certain purpose,” Bob shared. “Part of what we did, because we’re Jewish, we went to the synagogue in Fez … this was part of reconnecting.”
He added that driving to get to Marrakech, there was a Jewish cemetery that had been established in 1492—which gave meaning to the whole trip.
The Schibels’ son, Mike, is the founder of Travel with Meaning, a community of travelers who share their experiences.
On their trip, the couple was also able to visit Casablanca, the Sahara Desert, Chefchaouen—known as the Blue City in Morocco—explore Moroccan markets and quarters, visit museums, and ultimately make the most of their time in North Africa before heading back to the Palisades for a period of self-quarantining.
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