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Published: September 27th 2010
London to Casablanca
Es salaam alaykum
Royal Air Msaroc, safe but late!! 2 hours late to be exact the locals are miffed and once in the air walk up and down the plane whenever the seat belt sign was on to the point that the air steward had to yell at them to say "No you cannot get up". Off the plane and here we are Casablanca and we are not going to be taken for a ride by taxi drivers at 11pm when there's no other transport option, well almost not! Off to our Hotel which is on the water in Casablanca. Gorgeous tiling, little fountains inside the floor, a pool that we look longingly at tonight and the next day but next get the opportunity to swim, and big fluffy beds.
We get to bed about 12:30, after approximately 30 hours of travel - still fresh and happy I am, a model travelling companion. Unitll the next night when I'm aslepp on Saturday night by 8pm and Rochelle is left wiuth a book for company.
We decide that the best way to spend our morning is to visit the Hassan II Mosque -
3rd biggest in world tallest martinet and one of only 2 in Morocco that non-Muslims are allowed in. It is not an old Mosque but it has amazing tiling, carving and is huge. It is meant to be big enough to hold Notre Dame. We are given a tour around the prayer hall and the hall of ablution. ( Please note all factual information supplied by Rochelle, I just do the waffle bits. P.S. Apparently according to Ms Factoid Lonely Planet is not entirely correct).
We dash back to the hotel to get a 12:15 train, and after much negotiating with the taxi driver who would not put his meter on and then wanted a large amount, and then wanted Rochelle's phone number we literally got there in time to buy a ticket, and run onto the first train we saw. Thank god it was the right one cause we didn't really check! First off there are no seats…oh dear 3.5 hours and no seats. Lucky for us a man saves us a double seat and comes and tells us to come down and take it before others do. Phew.
We arrive at our cute little riad
with the room exactly as was seen on the internet. Little court yard in the middle and another little pool on the roof that we again only look longingly at.
Off we walk in search of the medina. Well let us tell you we could not find it to save ourselves, we gave the term spatially challenged new meaning. Turns out the medina was just past the very big arch -duh!!!Hindsight now tells us why we were definitely centre of attention as we walked down the street. And especially so when we got lost and walked down the same street multiple times. A man with a horse and cart who has been watching us and laughing as we walk again and again in the same circles clip clops after us in abid to save us from ourselves but we will not give in. We get fed up with walking around and give up (whilst horse man watches us) go to a roof top restaurant, pay more than we should have for our first tangine and mint tea.
Off to bed early as jet lag and 5 weeks of travelling for Rochelle catches up with us both. (This is
our excuse of why we could not find the medina and we are sticking to it!!!!!) We arrive back at our room to find once it has been locked up is is very damp and stinky. Thank goodness for the air conditioner!!
Meknes to Cheffy
The next day begins at 2am for me courtesy of Mr Jet Lag and I wait out the hours slepp sleep comes again and ris eto be greeted with a carb filled Moroccan breakfast (heavy Moroccan bread, a pancake that looked like a crumpet, and another doughy crepey thing)
Off we go to in search of our Medina. Who do we see our horse man who yet again follows us up the street. We go into the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail which had many tiled rooms so that we can at least say we saw something.
We go back to near the hotel and start again, horse man still watching. Then it dawns on us we are heading the complete wrong direction and we need to go on the other side of the wall near the hotel. Vola - one big, windy, souk filled medina. Finally. We did let lost
wandering these streets but hey your meant to aren’t you??
Slippers, tangines, Berber jewellery, traditional clothing all for sale. We resist the chance to shop until we are trying to find the "sortie" (exit) and a man wants to show us. We know that this will be via a shop but at least it will get us out of there. At a Berber jewellery maker shop we leave with 2 bangles and a necklace. Apparently only found in Meknes. Will let you know when we see these at every town we go to!!
Fresh olives from the food market and baguettes for lunch in square beofre we jump in our Mercedes to drive to Chefcheoun. Please note Mercedes very old with no handles to roll down the windows, no seat belts but a smooth ride on very bouncy seats.
We stop off at Mouley Idriss ( which has the 5th most important Mosque in the world.) If you visit this Mosque 5 times in your life it is equivalent to your visit to Mecca. The poor people's pilgrimage is what they call it. Non Muslims are not permitted to enter the town centre so we make do
with a trip to the look out over the town instead. The city looks like a lego block creation, all sqaure and boxy and stacked on top of each other.
Near by Volubilis has Roman ruins from the 1st Century. We wander through here (although after 5 weeks in Italy Rochelle had trouble focusing) and then drive 3.5 hours to what we fondly call Cheffy. Chefchaeouen is a town high in the Riff mountains where all the buildings are washed blue and white - truely enchanting! We are looking forward to a wonderful day tomorrow of wandering, being hennaed and then wandering again with a spot of shopping thrown in as well!
Internet access has been spotty to say the least, so I have not spoken to my boys in a couple of days so - gorgeous small people, Mum misses you all and hopes your having fun with Baba but missing me a little too!
As we are in Berber country now and
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