Edit Blog Post
Published: March 5th 2008
Thank god for Imodium. Today we decided to "do" Rabat so that tomorrow we can move on. We got up pretty early due in part to the day spent in bed and in part to the massive hole in the roof which lets in a lot of light.
Our first port of call was to walk to the Kasbah of which I had good expectations but was actually pretty disappointed. It was pretty grotty in comparison to most others and pretty insignificant. On the other side of the Kasbah there was a view point where you could look across at either the city or the harbor and bay. The beach below us was intermingled with a building site, but this hadn't stopped locals using it as a football pitch.
We walked towards Le Tour Hassan and found a busy road to walk down which turned out to be a souq. It was extremely lively and colourful but there was an overwhelming smell of fish. As we were about to turn away from the souq we saw a lady selling cookies, so we stopped and bought two. A bite into them and we decided to nip back and buy two
more. They were lovely, chewy, coconut biscuits.
We saw a nice park with plenty of people sitting in the shade eating picnics etc. There was a tower inside and yet it took us a while to cotton onto the fact that this was the tower and mausoleum. We walked up to the tower and into the grounds surrounding it. Pillars are all that's left of the mosque that was destroyed by an earthquake but they all lead up to Le Tour Hassan which was intended to be the largest and highest in the Muslim world. It stands at a pretty average 44m high and was never completed. We went inside the mausoleum which has four entrances all of which have a guard in ceremonial dress standing outside.
We consulted our map and found that the Chellah was reasonably nearby. The road leading up to it had all the foreign embassies on it which were all pretty different in size and design. The American embassy was guarded and had a whole road blocked off and high walls with speakers etc. The view of the chellah was pretty good from the road above it and we stopped for a while
to watch the comings and goings. At the time we were slightly confused as to what it actually was but now I have consulted the guidebook. It is the "Roman city of Sala Colonia and the Merenid necropolis of Chellah" (Lonely planet). You have to pay 10dh to get in, and inside you quickly realise that it’s just a beautiful green area that is away from the bustle of the city. We walked around to the sound of storks mating calls as they were everywhere and nests were perched on top of every high vantage point. There is a little pool where women feed boiled eggs to eels for good luck and pain free child birth. Sitting just next to the pool were two women who were surrounded by cats.
Our walk back to the hotel took us in the direction of the Royal Palace. As we entered the complex a guard stopped us and asked a few questions and asked to see our passports. I think we were only asked because of the colour of our skin and his boredom because nobody else got stopped. The Complex area was pleasant with a pretty mosque in the centre. There
was lush green grass and beautiful flowers lining the main road which looked out of place in a country with a national water shortage. As we left the complex we were surprised to see a group of uniformed men guarding the gate we just passed through. Further up the road there were groups of army and other uniformed officials, including some in riot gear. We hung back so as not to get involved but there was actually nothing to get involved in. Rob reckons it must have been an exercise because we didn't see any citizens involved but either way, plenty of people stopped to look.
After nipping into the train station to figure out our route tomorrow, we went over the road to an Italian pizzeria. We both had pizzas and then shared some pretty amazing ice cream. It was so nice to avoid Moroccan food entirely, even if it was just pizza.
We weren't ready to return to the hotel, so we decided to have a wander around the souqs. The streets were packed and every stall had plenty of people around it. Walking was difficult because people were just pushing their way past and there
On a rock in the sea?!
was no order or even manners. I spotted a few things for Rach which Rob let me buy but insisted that I had to carry them till we get back to England. (We will see about that.)
Once we had finished looking around for the day, we found ourselves with little to do and no desire to eat or drink anything. We opted to spend the evening in the internet café where we watched a few episodes of extras. We stayed quite a while but it only cost us around 35p an hour and Rob's computer cravings have to be satisfied somehow.
Tot: 2.436s; Tpl: 0.066s; cc: 25; qc: 138; dbt: 0.0845s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.7mb