Each city in Morocco has its own personality; Something unique and new to give. Riveting Rabat, Chaotic Casablanca, Shining Chefchaouen, Melting Marrakech among a few of the adjectives I could use to describe each city I visited. Over the next few weeks, I will take you on a journey, my journey, through these cities in Morocco . So turn on some calming jazz music, grab a cuppa, relax and enjoy the read.
We had to rush from our Moustakbal to Casa Port to catch the 10:30am train to Rabat. When I say ‘we’, I mean my newfound Tunisian friend, Boutheyna and I. Boutheyna is a bubbly, talkative and friendly lass who is sure to let anyone know that she is ‘Tun-say-ya’ (Tunisian). Though some people thought she was Korean or Chinese. We bought our 37MAD (Ksh 370) ticket at the ticketing office and quickly shuffled into the train that was nearly empty. We took our seats and in normal Boutheyna fashion she had a conversation with one of the passengers, who turned out to be a famous singer and actor. Who knew?
In one hour, we were in Rabat. Like clock work. Excited to see what Rabat has in store for us, we quickly hurried out of the train station.
Rabat is the capital of Morocco where all the dignitaries, ambassadors, ministers and the monarchy is situated. So it is no surprise that it is actually a super clean and quiet city. A well deserved break from what I was currently experiencing in Chaotic Casablanca. In addition to the cleanliness of the city, Rabat had very few people walking on its streets. And if at all there were people, they were mostly dressed in suits heading to work or something.
THE STREETS IN RABAT.
We ended up walking in Rabat for nearly 2 hours with our main destination set as Hassan Tower and the Old Medina (Oudaya). We walked for such a long time due to the fact that we were very easily side tracked on the streets in Rabat. The streets in Rabat are well polished making almost every view picture worthy. Just outside the train station is a well-manicured plaza with a fountain, Moroccan flags and hundreds of pigeons.
Nearby was a mosque that refreshed the urban landscape of Rabat. Entry was strictly for Muslims only but we however had an amazing time around it.
To get to Hassan Tower, you require to constantly ask around especially if you get slightly confused by Google Maps like I do. Since Boutheyna knows French and Arabic, she was able to concoct a language and easily ask for directions to ‘Tur Hassan’.
On our way to Hassan Tower, we discovered a cathedral in the middle of the city, St Peters Cathedral to be precise. This Architectural wonder in Rabat takes the Art Deco aesthetic with its rectangular volumes and lines that are straight, simple, and precise with ornamentation around the facades. The inside also captured the true spirit of the cathedral.
HASSAN TOWER. صومعة حسان
We finally got to Hassan Tower, exhausted but excited. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a minaret of an incomplete Mosque that was built in 1195. Around the 44m Red Sandstone Tower, are several walls and 200 columns that were also left incomplete when the Sultan at the time passed away.
Opposite the Tower is the heavily guarded Mausoleum of Mohammed V and it houses the tombs of the late Moroccan king and his two sons, late King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah.
THE OLD MEDINA (OUDAYA)
We ended our Rabat day trip in the stunning Oudaya. This is the old city in Rabat built in the 12th Century. It is 30-40 minutes walk from Hassan Tower. By this time we were exhausted as we had been walking for nearly three hours and took a well deserved rest at Cafe Oudaya which has a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean. We took some well deserved mint tea and Moroccan desserts that were a bit overpriced. I mean 8MAD (Ksh 80) for one cookie? 5 weeks later, im still not over this.
It was soon time to go exploring what Oudaya had to offer. The thing I loved most about Morocco is the difference in Old Medinas. Oudaya had a distinct white and blue aesthetic with brown here and there. This aesthetic makes it unique and it seems as if you have traveled to another time and place. One has to climb up the city and not really veer too far off the main city so as to not get lost. We spent most of the time walking, eating and enjoying our time there.
Soon it was time to head back to Casablanca just as the sun began to set. We took their blue petit taxi back to the train station and took the train back home. Rabat was riveting!
Morocco is also cat heaven and I will dedicate the end of each post to the Maroccats . I am pretty sure they are good luck in a way 🙂
Have a lovely week!