A Travellerspoint blog

South to Casablanca, a mini tour

A sprawling mass of construction sites, cranes and rubbish.

We had not spent much time in Casablanca on previous visits so we drove down on Tuesday, overnighting at the Park Suites Hotel in the centre of the Casablanca's 'downtown'. We drove down along the coast, rather than on the freeway, and it was most interesting. For almost the entire distance there literally tens of thousands of new residential units being constructed. The market for these units would be the wealthier Moroccan residents, often as holiday or weekend retreats. The scale of development is staggering. Sadly as we drove down rubbish, litter and building waste constantly and graphically confronted us.

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There were quite a few pleasant beaches to see scattered inbetween the rugged coastline. Rock and beach fishing is a very popular pastime and there were many fishermen on the edge of steep and exposed rock ledges. Such good looking spots with so many anglers, success a certainty?

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In Casablanca we were quickly reminded of the French influence with the still graceful palm lined avenues and white washed art deco buildings, still in very good condition. Morocco became independent from France in 1956.

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One of our first 'sights' was Rick's Cafe, and like millions before us we went in for a drink and a nosey about. In fact, it is true that Rick 's Cafe in Casablanca was not feautured in the famous movie with Bogart and Bergman. The Cafe/bar is just a reconstruction of the film set! Anyway we enjoyed the drink and the atmosphere.

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Because it was Ramadan there were very limited of eating and coffee options during the day. So the story winds back to Maccas, again!
Then a short tour of Casablancas Mosque, Hassan II. What an impressve structure, massive size - so big that 25000 male and 12000 female worshippers can be catered for at any one time! One of the photos is of the ceiling, showing where it opens to let in natural light!

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A few more photos, of new developments, close to Casablanca and another beach we visited, albeit not for long. The Atlantic coastline in this region is very scenic and the strip between Rabat and Casablanca is developing extremely quickly. This area could become Morocco's Gold Coast, without the tall buildings!

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This is the last blog from Rabat. We travel to the UK on Tuesday. First a few days around Stratford upon Avon, where we will join in celarbrations of William Shakespeare's 600th birthday! Sorry, let's correct that, he's just 400 this year.

Posted by stavmagpie 01:35 Archived in Morocco Comments (0)

A day at the beach . . . 😎 ⛵️ 🏄🏻 🏖

Does this subject revive nightmare memories of essay writing in Primary School? 👀 😩

Remember the Primary School essay writing nightmare that was a "day at the beach?" Hard to forget for those who attended school in the 50's and 60's. A decade or so later school essay writing was camouflaged in a new modern education paradigm called creative writing. I knew at the time it was a con: a day at the beach was always difficult to 'dress up', unless of course you had actually been to the beach and had fun.

Early in the morning Dad packed the car and Mum made some chicken sandwiches . . car boot full of bright beach towels, the Willow esky . And when . . Dad had the washed the little black car we were off. Sorry. Memory lapse.

There are a few very nice beaches just south of Rabat. The one we went to on Saturday was at Bousnika, Eden Wed, it was called. Just 40 kms away.

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Anyway our day at the beach was lots of fun with a surprise or two! An Australian lifeguard, a camel and a loose noodle?

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Posted by stavmagpie 01:31 Archived in Morocco Comments (0)

A birthday party for someone who turned 6

Ramadan in Rabat

Our first day in Rabat was also Alicia's sixth birthday. The party was almost an all day event and the birthday cake was very popular and, as you can see, delicious!

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Some more birthday pics including trying the new roller blades!

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Where's Benjamin you ask? Here. Benjamin turned 4 a few days before we arrived, June 1st.

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Weather is pretty good here in Rabat, no jumpers etc needed and quite dry. Means outside it is very dusty. A bit similar to the Darwin dry season but with a few clouds, still with low humidity.

The whole place is unusually quiet because of Ramadan. During Ramadan Moslems don't eat or drink during the daylight hours. Not all shops are open although on Saturday afternoon when we went to the Medina it was exceptionally busy. No cafe's, resturants or coffee shops open during the day, unless you go to an International brand 5 star hotel. Exceptions? Well yes, Maccas, KFC and Burger King all operating at usual times. Yes we've been to Maccas, just for coffee of course? 😜 😆 🍔 Then after sunset, the streets are very quiet as everyone is at home catching up on their food etc.

The local Marjane, a big shopping centre and supermarket chain, is very popular now the school holidays have started!

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By the way the school holidays go for 12 weeks! When school's resume it is the start of a new school year and probably time for Mums and Dads to seek counselling etc.

Posted by stavmagpie 04:42 Archived in Morocco Comments (1)

A late arrival in Casablanca

Our flight from Paris to Casablanca was delayed by about 1 hour so we arrived after 9.30pm local time. We had pre-booked a rental car, a Renault Megane was indicated on the booking confirmation from Economy Car Rentals. Surprisingly (?) the Economy Car Rentals Office was closed when we arrived. Many around the empty office were keen to help, albeit empathetic and suggested our Agent would be back in his office in "one minute". We waited nearly one hour in hope that someone might show but eventually went to another rent a car firm. Savoy Car Rentals. Tres bon.

No, we had never heard of them either. They had a 'new' car for us, said the young man eager to do business Reality, an almost new Hyundai 'i25' because it wasn't an i30 and was a bit bigger than an i20. It wasn't quite new, 2000+kms, dirty and dusty, but with much of the pre delivery wrap still on the inside of the car, which was also filthy and, there was no fuel in the tank! Oh dear! Isn't travel fun and, how can we ever forget, full of surprises? Well as it was getting close to midnight, beggars can't be choosers.

We took what was on offer, and hired the dirty little black diesel Hyundai with no diesel, for just over $40AUD a day, shoved our bags aboard and headed off into the darkness and optimistically a service station before heading north to Rabat.

Fortunately we soon found a servo, filled up and drove off into the darkness again (what street lights?) sans GPS or map but with a good sense of which way was north. By the way, verbal communication with locals outside of the airport was difficult to say the least, because all French speakers were in bed and we didn'f know a single word of Moroccan! At first we 'accidentally' drove into the eastern suburbs/backblocks but then retracked and found the freeway north. Phew!!!

Only about 90kms to Rabat and as it turned out, an easy drive on a freeway. We arrived at Peter and Klara's around 2.00am. A long day's travel from Epernay to Paris via Reims, Paris to Casablanca and then Casablanc to Hay Riad in Rabat!

This is a photo of the liitle black beast a couple of days later, on tour and after a 'freshen up'.

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Posted by stavmagpie 05:44 Archived in Morocco Comments (0)

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