Date: 23-25th September 2019
Travelled: 145 kms from El Jadida to Mohammedia
Stayed: Ocean Camping Blue, Mohammedia €10, all the usual services N33.73679, W07.32369
Budget: xx days @ €xx per day
Another long drive this morning from Marrakesh to Safi on the coast.
We arrive in the coastal town of Safi and drive down to the beach for a leg stretch and a coffee before continuing north.
We arrive in El Jadida and find a spot in a campsite called International Camping N33.23998, W08.48723 (€9.50 all services) . The name does not seem to fairly describe the place, but it seems safe enough. We go for a walk up the beach in the early evening before dinner.
A couple of hours later Pam is not feeling well and things deteriorated rapidly from there. I had a terrible night’s sleep that can all be put down to Pam’s obsession for yogurt after dinner and her refusal to sleep outside on the very comfortable reclining chair I had set up for her. I even placed a can of mozzie spray next to the chair.
Our plan of travelling on the Casablanca the next day on the back burner, as we have an extra rare recovery day in El Jadida.
We didn’t do or achieve anything but Pam was feeling a lot better after a day in bed. Other than a few mozzie bites she’s back on the horse.
I did however meet Kieran who is cycling through Morocco and currently having a couple of relax days in El Jadida. Kieran was originally from Mildura in Western Victorian, close to the border with NSW. Despite the fact Kieran is a vegan we enjoyed a cleansing lager and talked about our travel experiences for a couple of hours.
Pam is feeling a little better, so we press on the Casablanca (about 90 kms) and find ourselves a parking spot near the mosque.
Map of Casablanca, the icon on our parking spot
The Casablanca of today is not that of the 1942 movie (a personal favourite) of the same name. Our guide book describes Casablanca as the modern face of Morocco and its financial capital. It also states Casablanca has the worst traffic in Morocco.
I have a cunning plan to enter the city via the coast road, which essentially avoids the city proper and takes us straight to the Hassan II Mosque and hopefully a parking spot.
I should explain. I turn into this wide street and I can see several vacant spots as I drive up at walking pace looking for something wide enough to manoeuvre into. A fellow is walking up the middle of this street toward us, I move a little further to the right as I approach him, he moves to his left. At the last moment he steps into the Hymer’s left hand mirror, I hear a bang and see he’s holding his arm, writhing in apparent agony. Obviously I immediately stop, he comes to the window calling in French for compensation. I respond with a sympathetic ‘Fxxk Off’, his face turns to a sneer. I start yelling ‘Police, Police’ as loud as I could. His recovery was nothing short of a miracle. This guy could could make the semis in the 200m at the Olympics.
That little drama behind us we make ourselves known to the parking warden, pay him up front and make our way to the mosque.
Our guide is a young woman, she is articulate, knowledgeable and has a good sense of humour. She gave an overview of how and why the current King’s father built this mosque, which was completed in 1993 after 6 years work. The minuet is 210m high the mosque 210m in length. It is the third largest mosque in the world and can accomodate 25,000 worshippers at one time. The detail and workmanship is only matched by its immense proportions. Anyway the following gallery captures some highlights.
The Hassan II Mosque’s beauty and craftsmanship is matched only by its spectacular setting. You cannot visit Morocco without this experience !
The Medina is only a couple of blocks away so we wander in to do some exploring. Our guide book states it’s a more local than tourist experience…
The Medina is an absolute maze, thirty minutes later we were happy to find our way out.
Obviously the place to lunch in Casablanca is Rick’s (according to our guide). So we find Rick’s easily enough on the edge of the Medina. We check out the menu, it’s expensive but Pam is in a generous mood. We take one step towards the door and the doorman says ‘no shorts’. Obviously I wasn’t walking back to the Hymer to step into a suit, so Casablanca was done.
We find our way back to the Hymer and make our way out of Casablanca (without hitting anyone else) to Mohammedia’s Ocean Blue Camping where shorts are acceptable.
Michael and Pam