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November 20th 2014
Published: November 20th 2014
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Casablanca/ Rabat. 18,19,20 November, 2014.

Now in Rabat, arriving by train from Casablanca yesterday at midday. Blue sky and 25C the past few days. Delightful weather.

Our last day in Casablanca we spent on the Corniche ( love this word), walked the wide beachfront esplanade about 6 kms opposite direction to previous day. The North Atlantic was flat with some good surfing and rolling waves. A few board riders were seen, along with surfboard training schools.

At the end of of walk we came upon the biggest shopping mall in Africa, which looked like the SPACE STATION orbiting the earth. The mall was operated by Galleries Lafayette the large french retailer. Every imaginable shop. There must be a wealthy sector in the Moroccan populace, the retail prices were about 20% greater than European prices. In the afternoon we enjoyed the sun and sea views. We are tiring of Souks and Medinas.

Left early by train on Wednesday for the capital Rabat. Both concierge and taxi driver were adamant that we could catch our train north from a closer station from where we had purchased tickets and from where we were to depart. After much debate we insisted on being taken to our planned departure station. Just as well as the train didn't go through the station the 'experts' insisted we go to. There is a lot of misinformation here in Morocco, and many little acts of deceit.

The taxi ride was through a wealthy area, where the homes wouldn't have been out of place at Sovereign Islands! large walls draped in lush vines of bougainvillea, jasmine and other colourful vines with interesting Moorish access gates.

The train trip was about an hour, then we were released into the thieving arms of taxi drivers and their touts. One of the difficulties of staying in the Medina is the labyrinth of unsigned streets, so to find your own way with no language skill is nigh on impossible. We got in a taxi and were told the driver would walk us to the door from drop off. Arrived at drop off, got out, no driver no direction!! Finally found the hidden Riad. Unfortunately hotels seem to be on the outskirts of the interesting zones, whilst they maybe comfortable ??, to get anywhere you are in the clutches of thieves ( ie taxi drivers).

In the afternoon we walked to the KASBAH, another exotic word. It was another crowded building zone, relatively clean, overlooking the river mouth and Atlantic. Very peaceful. Painted in blue and white, supposedly blue upsets mosquitoes! There was an old fort with cannon.

Wandered onto the Souk, a sprawling flea market and largely unappealing. The quality of products of interest to us has been very little and disappointing.

A new day dawned and today we wandered outside the Medina. The walls from outside look appealing and the gates are quite ornate. Found the King's Palace and parliament. Impressive structures. Also located the Gallery of modern Moroccan Art. Again an impressive building, housing rather dour and sad,depressing artwork. Wandered back through the Medina. Surprising how much simpler it is when you have an understanding of the layout.

We depart Morocco tomorrow for Portugal, so today sought out and located the best restaurant recommendation on Trip Advisor. Hopefully we will enjoy a good meal. We have had a few delicious Tagines- lamb and fruits( apricots, dates, figs and prunes; chicken with olives and potatoes, Couscous with grilled vegetables of peppers, zucchini, pumpkin and nuts. Whilst they were delicious with a reasonable Moroccan red wine or Casablanca beer, other meals have been unappealing. Other than for all the hard bread eaten here, it would be difficult to get fat.

We are equivocal on our impressions of Morocco. I feel that I had greater expectations. With all my recent explorations, i feel it is a poor second to what else i have seen.

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