The Occasional Tales of Ailsa B du Bois

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On the road from Casablanca to Fez, Maroc.

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 26, 2009

We’ve just arrived in Fez, following a fascinating 2.5 days travelling through Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes and Volubilis.  We’re having a really amazing time; and have seen so many things already and we still have 7 more days here!  Having spent a month in Egypt many moons ago, it’s not entiurely exotic for me, but still it is a distinctly different time and place.

Casablanca is a white walled, blocky type of city beside the ocean, adorned with endless palm trees, but unfortunately it is merely an entry point for the nation’s commerce.  It is filthy, with few redeeming features to speak of other than the incredibly enormous and gracious Mosque of Hassan II.  This religious site is something to behold, and up to 25,000 worshippers can pray there at one time.  The architecture and the grandeur of it is stunning.  Following our breath-taking surveyance of this fine Mosque, we drove to Rabat, further North along the coast.  Rabat was a joy, and we saw an impressive Mausoleum, the original settlement of Rabat, and some fragrant gardens, and a walk through the Kasbah by the sea.  This was surprisingly like picture postcards of Santorini or Mykonos in Greece, I thought, with all the blue and white stucco painted walls, and we emerged to a sunny, elevated vista, overlooking the ocean and thousands of young people enjoying the fine weather.   In the late afternoon we wandered through the Rabat Souk, and bought a few sparkling trinkets for our daughter.  In the evening we went to another traditional Maroccan restaurant, and enjoyed tajine with some fellow travellers.

This morning we left Rabat, and drove for 2 hours to Meknes, where we toured an ancient underground prison, and lerant a lot about how lucky we are not to have lived in Morocco at that time.  After seeing various interesting sites, and also having a fabulous roof-top luncheon, of exquisite warm salads, we then drove on for an hour or so up into the mountains.

Volubilis was once a provincial Roman capital, a distant outpost of the empire, prominently sited along the edge of a high plateau in a gorgeous olive rich valley. Is was an impressive Roman site and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We explored the many public buildings and at the House of Orpheus we saw fine mosaic floors intact.  It was really extraordinary, actually. We have been on the go non-stop all of yesterday and today, doing a great deal of walking.

So much more to report about everything, but Laurie and I are keen for an apricot, fig and lamb tajine now; so must dash!  It has been a very active day.

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