That’s our ‘can’t do enough for you’ tour company. Just fabulous to deal with, and our gentlemanly driver/guide Brahim is a champion!
After joining friends T&L in Casablanca and hearing the tales of their Spanish and Portugese adventures during our drive past the 6 million people going about their business in Casablanca we drove to Rabat, and enjoyed the wide streets and contemporary business expansion. Then we turned in to the walled Old City and the Zyo Riad which was to be our sanctuary for the first 2 nights of our MMT tour.
The unpretentious door opened to a definitely magic sight. The blue of the pool, the wall paintings, the open sky above the pleasant courtyard all contributed to a wonderful first impression. This was cemented with the friendly mint tea ceremony and the lads were happy to rate the selection of savoury biscuit treats.
Such a lovely start to our holiday here. Today we visited the Casbah of Oudaya and soaked up the panorama of the beach, the distinctive cemeteries, the lighthouse and the unexpected library/bookshop in the narrow blue alleyways. Then it was on to the Mausoleum of King Mohammed V with its amazing ceiling where the body of the previous king has lain at rest since 1999; close by Hassan Tower with its unfinished colonnades of 1349, and the stationary horses guarding the entrances. Not a pleasant job for them or their guard riders. The pigeons are nesting in the wall holes…..and keeping the cleaners busy below.
The complex of the Chellah with its Roman ruins and later Muslim mosque was very different. Its plants in the extensive spring-fed gardens smacked of Australian floral familiarity. The rhinoceros tree shape was distinctive. The storks certainly have made themselves at home by building huge nests on the highest points around – including the minaret, mosque and palm trees in between the ruins and the river which divides Rabat from Salah. They feed on the fish in the river and sadly the plastic bags which pollute everything have made their way in to the nests. The emaciated cats seem to have become a tourist lure to the site of the eels which hold significance for pregnant women in the common folklore…..poor wee things.
The other uses of the site over time have been a school for students of the Koran and as a mosque. Much respected and cared for.
As this was a gentle day we had a swim then a siesta, then explored the tastes and curiosities of the street market, then a restaurant dinner.
The sound of crackers being set off in the street below us is accompanied by the sound of glee from the kids. We also discovered some great nougat, roasted peanuts, a fruit a bit like a crab apple, cold beer and ice creams and sorbets….and were tempted by, and given a lesson about the wide variety of dates. Pastries everywhere looked so delicious, but definitely not gf.
An all round relaxed day.