My last post talked of my excitement arriving at the cruise ship. However after four tempestuous days at sea, ricocheting through the ship as we sail through the Bay of Biscay we arrive in Casablanca Morocco. I wouldn’t be being honest if I said I’d loved every minute so far, in fact I couldn’t wait to get off the bucking bronco otherwise known as Boudicca. What people fail to tell you is when you are safely on land you look like Father Jack after a few too many whiskeys trying to walk through the port onto your tour bus.
Once I’d made myself comfortable and accepted I am less stable on my feet than the many octogenarians on the bus I started to take in the sights. My first stop was the Old Medina of Casablanca, i’ll be truthful I didn’t spend much time listening to the tour guide, there were too many sights and smells to take in. Within the old walled part of Casablanca the alleyways wind in all directions, slightly run down but charming nevertheless. With an array of stalls selling anything from souvenirs to food and clothes, we weren’t hassled or touted, leaving us comfortable to enjoy the feeling of stepping back in time.
Royal Palace of Casablanca and Mohammed V Square
I then moved on to the Royal Palace of Casablanca, this is located in the new Medina and is the King’s main residence. However they don’t let any old riff raff in such as myself, but I craned my head desperately trying to sneak a peek through the gates and enjoyed the beautiful well kept garden surrounding the palace walls.
Staying within the New Medina I went to Mohammed V Square, surrounded by public buildings, the fountains and pigeons are definitely worth the stop, traditional water carriers are also wandering around in their customary dress, feel free to take a picture with them but ensure you tip them at the end.
Hassan II Mosque
My last stop was the most impressive, rising above the Atlantic Ocean is the Hassan II Mosque, opened in 1993 and as one of the largest Mosques in the world, it is able to hold 25,000 worshippers and a further 80,000 in the surrounding courtyards.
In order to see inside if you are a non-muslim you must take a guided tour and of course adhere to the dress code.
Inside it is just as breathtaking, with heated marble floors, a retractable roof, the ornate carvings and Moorish influences leave you captivated. I wish I could say the same for our tour guide, he droned on in the same hall for over an hour, the group was frequently overtaken by other tour groups and often left to talk amongst ourselves as we could hardly hear him. He did however take us downstairs to view the Turkish style baths and fountains which were stunning.
Overall it was an insightful day and I feel I had the opportunity to have a small taste of what Casablanca has to offer.