Monday, November 12, 2012

A Morocco state of mind

Casablanca to Marrakesh, a trek complete with camels and camping in the desert and hikes in the Atlas Mountains.  The image is there in your mind as the plane lands.  The song keeps playing on my head:  “Da dai de dai de dai..”.  The reality of Casablanca as an urban industrialized city clears that mirage, but the romance of the place is still indelibly imprinted in my heart.  Not being fools, the Casablancans built the elaborate Hassan II Mosque to draw tourists.  It is the only reason (other than the romance of it) to start a trek there.  As one of the newest, most expensive mosques in the world, smaller only that the mosques in Mecca and Medina, it is worth a few pictures:

The finest materials were used, local stone, mosaics from Fes, and cedar wood from the Atlas.  It used the best concepts from older mosques throughout Morocco and craft techniques preserved through the centuries.  Built in 1992, it has succeeded in its mission to give tourist and Moroccans a reason to stop in Casablanca.  Enough said, let’s go look for the old, beautiful, romantic Morocco of my imagination.  On to Rabat.

Driving to Rabat gave us our first glimpse of the countryside.  We stopped just outside The medina (old walled city) for lunch overlooking the Atlantic, near where the Phoenicians and Carthaginians first settled in 300 BC.  Then we walked along the beach to the old fortress walls.  From the entrance we had a view of the city, including the Hassan II Tower, an incomplete mosque abandoned in 1199 when the sultan died.  Near it is the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, a modern king. Below are pictures of the walk to and through the medina finally arriving at our hotel for the night:

After a night in Rabat, we visited the unfinished Hassan II Tower and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, then headed out of town.

So far, Morocco has been a beautiful country with a long history and exotic sites, but it has not yet hit the mark of my expectations.  It is early in our trip, however, with much ahead.  We are heading out of town to our next destination, in sha'Allah (Arabic for God willing, and always said about plans for the future). 

For some reason, we keep seeing people, both here and in Casablanca, with live sheep.

[Note:  My blog is in the form of a travel log, taking you through my Morocco trek.  Bear with me as I discover my impressions of what was for me a journey of many dimensions.  In a later post, I will include a link to a web site with many pictures from this trip.}

Here is a shutterfly link to more Pictures from Casablanca:

And to pictures from Rabat:
If you want more pictures, click on the link

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