Rick's Cafe, Casablanca, Mausoleum of Mohammad V

Trip Start Sep 20, 2012
Trip End Nov 13, 2012

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Where I stayed
Golden Tulip Farah, Rabat

Flag of Morocco  ,
Sunday, October 14, 2012

As we left Marrakech, it was noticeable how dry and arid the land was,and looked like a desert landscape. It's amazing what they've been able to do with irrigation.
We arrived in Casablanca at lunchtime. This is a huge modern city of 5 million people and lacks anything distinctly Moroccan. There's no medina or old part. Casablanca has no history and has been built in the last 100 years. We did a city tour seeing all the development and construction going on, past palatial homes, down to the beach area where beautiful eateries lined the esplanade behind private beach areas. It is so different to Fes and Marrakech.
We stopped to take photos of Hassan Tower which is a massive mosque built by the last King. The tower is over 250 metres high and the small entrance doors are supposed to be 3 storeys high. It certainly looked massive and sits right on the beachfront. Such opulence and expense and just opposite was a vacant block with rubbish and an old woman doing her washing in the middle of it - such a contrast.
Our highlight was having lunch at Rick's Cafe. An American woman has set up her restaurant to resemble the cafe from the film 'Casablanca'. It was enchanting with lots of 'Casablanca' type furniture, piano, bar and film memorabilia. And the food was great too!
Arrived in Rabat (named after a 12thC monastery or rabat) which is now the capital of Morocco with a population of only 650,000. It too, is a modern city but has a history that goes back to 11thC. Passed the Royal Palace and then drove into the casbah to see an old fortress which is now an open air theatre and then went into the Mausoleum of Mohammad V (grandfather of the current king). It was pretty impressive and had uniformed guards on duty and on horseback.
We leave Morocco tomorrow. It has been such a fascinating country, a blend of the exotic, the primitive, the opulence, the squalor and poverty. So many images I will never forget. It has been amazing.
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