Trip Start Aug 06, 2008
39Trip End Ongoing
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17 Hours, 31.1 kms
On my next Adventure Day, I'm back where I stopped last week, in Rabat, continuing my slow journey up the coast. Today I highly doubt that I’ll be adding any new towns though—there’s still a lot of new territory to explore here in Rabat. Even though I technically "explored" Rabat over 3 years ago, I’m determined to give it a much more thorough tour this time, and not move on to another town until I have.
I arrive at the Agdal train station and hike back to the spot on the southwest side of town where I stopped my hike last week in order to go to the Cat Stevens concert
Once past the bus station I soon find a quiet park with one shady bench that luckily is unoccupied so I decide to have a little strum session… as a matter of fact, today I’m feeling more in a musical mood than in an exploring mood, so I strum through my entire 1996 album. Lately I’ve felt the need to go back a brush up on my entire repertoire, but I just don’t seem to be inspired sitting in my room… so this shady park bench on the south side of Rabat seems to get the juices running.
Afterwards I decide to head south instead of north, just to make sure I’ve thoroughly covered this section of town. So I stroll through a couple of apartment neighbourhood, where the buildings are built in different styles… at odd angles, with various facades, giving it a different feel from your typical Moroccan neighbourhood
And then finally, I reach the absolute end of Rabat… beyond is a stretch of forest and then Ain Harhoura, the town I explored a few weeks ago. Here there’s another park overgrown with weeds—but a good spot for yet another long song session—I do my 1997 album this time…
Now it’s time for the long hike back up along the coast. For a while I head through an upscale villa neighbourhood, occasionally veering off to the coast to see if there’s anything interesting there. Along the way I spot two fellows strumming a guitar in front of their house, and head over to join them for a little jam session. We do a Gypsy king song and couple others, then he follows me as I do a couple of my songs. An ambitious fellow who’s only been playing for a couple of months…
Farther up the road, I come across yet another park, and this time I have full size audience—as well as another guitarist who I take turns with—he plays some Moroccan songs set to folk-style tunes. Unfortunately I forgot to bring any of my CDs with me…
The Tomb of Joseph Marie Francois Clozel
Past the bus station yet again, I continue on towards the Old Medina, looking for new neighborhoods to explore along the way
Inside I get some intriguing insights into Morocco’s colonial past. Certain sections of this cemetery are for soldiers where crosses and Islamic headstones are side by side—as both French soldiers and Moroccan recruits fought together. I wonder if a lot of these Moroccan soldiers died while fighting against the struggle for independence… (I found out later that yes, these were Moroccans fighting on the side of the French… an intriguing insight into Morocco’s history that’s rarely talked about.)
Sections of the cemetery are for soldiers from little two bit towns that immediately bring back memories… Tiflet, Oulmes, Ain El Aouda, Khemisset… towns that apparently don’t have their own French military cemetery…
And then there is the large tomb of Joseph Marie Francois Clozel, with the grand ephithet:
“Ancient Governor of French Western Africa: Explorer of the Congo, Pacifier of Ivory Coast, Organizer of French Sudan”
I guess back in 1918 that would have made him some sort of superstar… but now in the 21st century, it sounds pretty pompous and arrogant
Coming into this cemetery really feels like entering a time warp, completely disconnected from the present realities in the world outside.
So from there I continue on towards the Old Medina for one more stroll there—and of course, enjoying once again the delicious street food there… then up to the Kasbah to enjoy the sunset over the river… and then back to the station…
It’s been an interesting day. Rabat definitely deserved a couple more days of exploration. And I’m not finished yet