Blogs from Casablanca, Grand Casablanca, Morocco, Africa

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Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca June 29th 2019

Today was our final day in Morocco! We had to fly home from Casablanca (per our flight arrangements by Explorica), so we made the most of visiting this place, which at first glance was an ugly city with a traffic problem. However, it's famous for two things we were sure not to miss: the Hassan II mosque and Rick's Cafe. Hassan II was the former king (father of the current king, Mohammed V) and the mosque built in his honor in Casablanca has the tallest minaret in the world. It's also the only mosque open to non-Muslims. And what a stunning interior! Built in just 6 years, the intricate tiles, soaring pillars, and gaudy chandeliers commanded quiet and respect. We were told to remove our shoes for our tour, and I was surprised to discover a ... read more
Hassan II mosque
Inside
Fun with geometry

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca April 7th 2019

This is my second day in Morocco, arriving in Casablanca a few days before my tour commences to acclimatise and get over jet lag. Firstly, the food is delicious and I love sitting in street cafes sipping sweet mint tea, watching the world pass by. I secretly wish I remember more French but it is slowly coming back to me. I don’t have the heart to barter and haggle - these people are poor. Casablanca is rich with vibrancy and beauty and I’m so glad I could start my holiday in this place. ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca April 2nd 2019

The moon and the stars are not above us, the earth is on the other side of our feet… ~ Moroccan Proverb HE SAID... Today we were continuing to explore the white city of Casablanca. I woke early and used the quiet morning stillness to catch up on my travel writing. We headed down to breakfast at 8am and feasted on khobz (traditional round leavened bread) with cheese and harissa sauce; croissants, pastries and dates – which we enjoyed with numerous cups of tea and lime juice. We dropped our washing at a tiny hole-in-the-wall laundrette just along from our hotel, and with an air of naive optimism, we hoped we’d conveyed to the owner that we only wanted our clothes washed and not ironed. We didn’t share a language, and every time we simulated a ... read more
ren's breakfast
place mohammed v
place mohammed v

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca March 31st 2019

Believe what you see and lay aside what you hear… ~ Moroccan Proverb HE SAID... Today we were travelling from London to Casablanca. We left Romany’s house in West Harrow (London) around 2:30pm and caught an Uber to Heathrow Airport (Terminal 4). We settled at Caffe Nero and used our remaining currency to buy coffees, smoothies and a lemon sparkling tea. We sat and chatted with Romany, Kirsten and Jared until 4:45pm, then made our way through security. Ren got caught in a backlog of passengers who needed their bags checked, and while we waited at the security counter our gate lounge opened. It seemed an interminable wait before Ren’s bag was even opened, and the only mistake she had made was to leave her iPad in the bag (rather than take it out). When she ... read more
hassan ii mosque
hassan ii mosque
hassan ii mosque

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca December 17th 2018

Well hello to you Morocco! After over 24 hours in the airport en route, I finally arrived - but my luggage didn't. This is the first trip where I carried all of my medications with me (I usually only take 2-3 days worth) and my electronics as well, so besides being in stinky clothes for a day or two more, life wasn't that bad. I was incredibly fortunate and was met at the airport by the Moroccan family of a Magnolia friend. They were so generous as to pick me up, take me to lunch for a traditional dish of chicken cooked in a tagine (more on this later), and take me to my hotel - their kindness was so appreciated. Kim and I met up later that night at our hotel and had a celebratory ... read more
View from our hotel
DSC04525
DSC04527

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca September 25th 2018

Would you know we’re riding on the Marrakech Express, They’re taking me to Marrakech, All aboard the train, All aboard the train - Crosby, Stills & Nash Sorry I had to do it. That song is stuck in your head now right? We actually took the train in the opposite direction, from Marrakech to Casablanca, and here we are back at the Kenzi Basma for our last night in Morocco. We had a light breakfast at Riad Challa this morning, still both not feeling too great. Susan is much better than she was though, and I feel better than I did yesterday. We had some scrambled eggs, baguette and cheese, and yogurt. There was lots of fresh fruit but we thought it wise to skip it. There was a small buffet in the reception area, and ... read more
Riad Challa hallway
Riad breakfast
Marrakech street art

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca September 10th 2018

We did make it to Rick’s Cafe, but there was no gin to be had, so not much of a gin joint! More on that later. So, here we are finally in Casablanca! It was series of longish flights (Vancouver to Calgary, change plans in Calgary, short layover in Halifax, back on to the same plane, then on to Paris. We had to collect our bags and go through security again in Paris for our Royal Air Moroc flight to Casablanca. We arrived in Casablanca around 3:30 pm, got our Morocco SIM cards for our phones, exchanged some American into Moroccan Dirham, and found our driver who took us to our hotel, the Kenzi Basma. We weren’t that impressed with the hotel initially, our room is a bit tired and in need of a some maintenance. ... read more
Rick’s Cafe
Upstairs room
Upstairs - the Blue Room

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca June 8th 2018

“What city is your final destination?” asked the gate agent. “Casablanca,” I replied. Landing in Casablanca is pretty much a blur. This was the fourth airport I had been in within the previous twenty four hours. And except for my home airport, I only had enough time in those airports to run between gates. (As an aside, why is it I always land in the furthest away gate in the most remote concourse, and depart from the gate that is as far away as possible and still be in the same airport?) One of those flights took me from San Francisco to Montreal, where I would connect to the flight to Casablanca. Even though I wouldn’t be leaving the secured area of the airport, I still had to pass through Passport Control. No worries, I thought, ... read more
ticket
platform at Kenitra station
street to  Kasbah Rose, guest house

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca June 7th 2018

After an uneventful, rather boring train trip from Fes, I arrived in Casablanca. My train compartment was full this time around, but it’s still more comfortable than the average airline seat in economy class. Unlike in Tangier and Fes where I stayed in a dar, or guesthouse inside the medina, in Casablanca I stayed in a proper business hotel. There are advantages to both types of accommodations, but I was happy to have an elevator to get to my sixth floor room. Hassan II Mosque One of the reasons I chose this hotel was because of its proximity to the Corniche, a broad walking path along the Atlantic, as well as to the Hassan II Mosque. I could see the mosque from my hotel window, and even though I was on the sixth floor, the minaret ... read more
collonade around the plaza
mosque plaza
balcony for muezzin

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca February 17th 2018

I,m in Africa ! The journey was not difficult although I can,t say I slept to much . Suzanne met us for lunch in Montreal and we had a great visit . All is well with the Bourasa family . We arrived here at 6 am and had no trouble finding an ATM a and the train into town but the train was delayed nearly an hour for some reason . We didn't, get to the hotel until nearly 11am . It is a comfortable enough space within easy walking distance to the Medina and the Hussan II Mosque . We walked and wandered all day and found the people we encountered to be pleasant and helpful . .They seem relaxed .The sun was shining and our coats were too warm ...except when the wind was ... read more




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