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Published: October 16th 2011
Mosque Hassan II
Outside Mosque Hassan II, Casablanca
Last night’s dinner at the Novotel Casa was an unusual experience. The food was delicious and the staff were attentive. However, the colour changing lights, which provided such a wonderful ambience in the bar area, made having a meal rather interesting. When they were on green the tomatoes were black and when red everything was rather dark and the lettuce was a funny brown colour. All this was accompanied by an ‘easy listening’ compilation of some of your favourite songs. Imagine Smoke on the Water, Wonderwall and Stairway to Heaven done in a soft-shuffle jazz... nice!
This morning we visited the Hassan II mosque. This is a fantastic place to visit and one of the very few mosques in Morocco that non Muslims can enter. It is built out over the Atlantic Ocean – a beautiful setting. A huge amount of money was ploughed into the building of the mosque and this is demonstrated by acres of marble, ornate fretwork, both wooden and stone, mosaics and gold leaf. The huge doors at one end, which are for the King only are made of titanium and cedar so they stand the salt air of the Atlantic. The doors weigh about 30
Inside Mosque Hassan II
In the prayer hall, facing the King's entrance
tonnes and so are electronically operated.
We then moved on to Rabat which is the capital. We had a guide this afternoon that took us round the royal compound, with its palace and government building;, the Necropole de Chellah with its Phoenician, Roman, and Moorish ruins, now uninhabited apart from the cats and storks; the mausoleum of Hassan II (the last king) and the Oudayas, a maze of gorgeous narrow streets, culminating in fantastic vista of the river mouth and Rabat’s sister town of Sala.
The Riad Kalaa where we are staying is fantastic. Situated in the medina and reached via narrow pedestrian only streets, it is decorated in traditional style with a great attention to detail. We took a swim in the rooftop pool just after it got dark this evening and listened to the call to prayer echoing around us. We followed this with a stroll through the city to a restaurant recommended by the staff. Rabat feels wonderfully safe after dark with the streets really busy with couples and families alike. Even on a Sunday evening, the markets were in full swing and very crowded.
We end the evening at our Riad where we
One of the cats took a particular liking to Meg!
are sitting in the courtyard under the stars.
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