Rabat

The other city we hoped to visit while in Morocco was Rabat, the capital city which is about an hour from Casablanca. After our success getting to and navigating Casa, we decided to up the ante and try to take the train to Rabat. We were pleasantly surprised- the train was efficient, clean, comfortable, and so inexpensive. It seriously put public transportation in the US to shame.

Luckily the booklet with the Casa map the girl had given us the day before also had a map of Rabat. However, it was even smaller and less detailed. The train station wasn't on the map so when we got off the train we had no idea where in the city we were! We asked a few people and thought we got our bearings. However 10 minutes into our walk we realized we were going completely the wrong way. No problem! We just changed the order of our itinerary, changing our first destination to the Mohammed V Mausoleum. 





Like the mosque in Casa, the building and whole plaza were made of this pure white marble. The outside had all kinds of beautiful mosaic fountains and elaborate brass lanterns.




The inside was even more impressive- every single wall was covered in mosaic.





 The ceiling was a stained glass dome. 





Outside each door, and outside the whole plaza, were guards in traditional clothing. 




The Mausoleum is built up on a hill overlooking the river, the sea, and Rabat's sister city Sale.





Next to the Mausoleum is the site of Hassan tower, which was to be the biggest mosque in the world when it was started in 1195. 



the tower is being cleaned and restored



However it was left half finished when the Sultan died in 1199 and now the tower stands at half the intended height, surrounded by the ruins of the rest of the mosque.




We then headed down the hill and walked along the river. I loved seeing all the traditional, colorful fishing boats. There is something about the Mainer in me that loves a fishing boat! 


 I was glad not to be the fisherman trying to row the heavy wooden boats against the current. It was so nice down by the river that we decided to stop for lunch, where we decided to go nuts on our last day of vacation and have crepes with banana and nutella.

Refueled, we headed up a different hill to the Kasbah of the Udayas, which was built during the reign of the Almohads (AD 1121-1269). 




It was abandoned after the death of Yaqub al-Mansur in 1199 and over the years a section of the city has grown up within the Kasbah walls. It was one of my favorite places, with its blue and white color scheme. 


After meandering through the narrow blue and white streets, we ended up at a vista at the backside of the Kasbah. We enjoyed the view of the ocean, the river, and Sale. 


We climbed down along the backside of the Kasbah to the beach. We welcomed the sea breeze as we walked out along the jetty.


On our way back out out, we discovered a beautiful garden hidden deep inside the Kasbah.



The last item on our itinerary was the medina. It took awhile to find it, but we enjoyed the walk through the shaded, narrow streets, admiring the brightly covered buildings and elaborate doors.

 Eventually we found the medina and lost a couple hours in there. The Rabat medina had more traditional crafts and was slightly less frenetic than Casa. We tasted some almond cookies and some sesame candy, bought some spices, and bought way too many souvineers.  There were just so many beautiful and unique things! Cheri was admiring some handmade leather shoes and when they didn't quite fit, the shoemaker made them bigger for her right on the spot!

When we finally stumbled out of the medina, we emerged into a different type of chaos- the main boulevard of the city at rush hour. There were people and cars and trams and trucks- so much movement and noise. There was never a break in traffic to cross the street, so we just waited for other people to start going and then we would sprint across and hope for the best. It was pretty crazy. We did manage to make it back to the train station without getting run over, and then after a long day of walking, collapsed gratefully onto the train.

Comments

  1. I love seeing those buildings decorated with mosiacs! I just can't imagine all the time and planning and hard work that went in to that!

    It's interesting that you had such a hard time finding maps for these places! I've never experienced that when I traveled before. Did you check to see the maps worked on your phone (I was surprised mine did in Mexico, ha ha).

    That is really cool the craftsman changed the shoes right there - truly custom! I'd love to see what you brought back!

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