First stop this morning, the railway station (Casa Port) where we bought train tickets for an early ride to the airport tomorrow.
Then walking, and looking up, to see what is and what was of Casablanca’s architecture.
The former Sacre Coeur Cathedral is an empty space surrounded by stained glass through shapes carved in its walls.
Street signs – reminders of French colonial history.
The amazing art deco style of the Cinema Rialto, currently screening Meryl Streep’s latest film, Rickie and the Flash.
More amazing art on walls.
A ride on the tram out to Technology Park and Hassan II University at Ain Chock.
And for good measure, a few shots that missed the cut from yesterday.
We arrived in Casablanca by bus from El Jadida yesterday afternoon. It’s a city of more than 3.5 million people with all of the edginess you might expect.
This morning’s focus was the Hussan II Mosque. See photos here. Afterwards, we took a taxi south to the Corniche, home to resort hotels and a shopping mall, then wandered a little along the beach. Here’s a taste of some of the captures thus far. We have reserved a table at Rick’s Cafe for dinner tonight.
Casablanca’s tram system is very new.
Last night it rained briefly. This cat took shelter under a motor bike cover.
There is large-scale construction going on along the port side of the city. A big marina is one of the projects underway.
There was a big swell off the coast today. The waves were rolling big and fast near El Hank Lighthouse.
Love me some street art.
Here’s looking at you, kid.
This mosque, built on the Atlantic coastline, is the third largest in the world. Its prayer hall has a capacity of 25,000 people. With the exception of the chandaliers (Venetian glass) and some of the plaster (also from Venice), the entire structure, built from 1987 to 1993, is made from Moroccan materials.
The old man who guides us through the 16th century Portugeuse Cistern finger-writes dates on the wall to assist our understanding of the construction of this vaulted water collection marvel.
We walk around the ramparts of the old Portugeuse city taking in the view from the bastions on the sea side of the walls.
At the wharves where the fishing trawlers dock and fishmongers ply their trade, the egrets compete with gulls for the spoils.
Along the beach, fathers and their children spend time together on this Saturday morning playing with soccer balls, taking horse rides, watching them build sand castles and walking along the shoreline as the tide comes in.
A travel day today and a place marker post only. A train from Marrakech to Casa l’Oasis near Casablanca then on to El Jadida. In what was left of the daylight hours we wandered around the old Portuguese city to get our bearings and find dinner.
The brother of Grand Visier Bou Ahmed built this home around the same time as the Bahia Palace was completed.
Sometime in the 1860s, the Grand Visier Si Moussa employed Moroccan artisans to begin building this beautiful (La Bahia) edifice.
Marrakech Railway Station around 7.30 at night.
Food stalls in full swing – Djamaa El-Fna
Traffic in the Medina
Cacti at Jardin Majorelle, the gardens Yves St Laurent gave to Marrakesh.
Our first port of call this morning was the Maison de la Photographie which holds an impressive collection of photographs of Berber culture from the 19th century onwards.
Also in the vicinity is the Ali ben Youssef Medersa. The link will take you to photographs.
Here’s a taste of the Medina walk in between those destinations and on the way back to our riad.
The incription on the door of this 14th century medersa reads “You who enter my door, may your highest hopes be exceeded”. This learning centre was once the largest Quranic school in Northern Africa. Its decorations are splendidly intricate. Medersas are distinguishable from mosques as they have bronze doors, not wooden ones.
Some scenes from a drive around Merzouga’s surrounds today.
Yes – dunes.
A boy with a captive desert fox.
The landscape on the edge of the desert varies considerably. The ranges in the background form a border to Algeria.
The remains of an old coal mining village. Quartz was also mined here and some people still live in the old houses.
Camels belonging to nomads graze on tree leaves.
We ate Berber pide for lunch.
The wind picked up during the afternoon and visibility dropped as sand and dust moved off dunes and rock masses.
There are fossil sites everywhere.
The sky turned a light mauve as the sand moved in across the quite desolate plains.
I am posting this as a huge gale is blowing outside. In the foyer of our hotel, it’s dark except for a few lamps. The doors are shut to keep out the sand.
An hour or so before sunset on Saturday, we set out on a ride into the dunes near Merzouga for an overnight camp in the desert with the assistance of Hussain, our all-in-one camel leader, chef and musician.
- We met a couple from Lithuania at our tent site and shared dinner of an olive salad, pasta, and chicken and potato tagine. In case anyone’s wondering, the alcohol free days here are going very well.