Day 2 of Tour Casablanca to Meknes

Trip Start Dec 26, 2005
1
180
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Trip End Jan 25, 2009


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Monday, August 14, 2006

Morocco rocks... I am absolutely loving this place so far. It is something about the Islamic world that intrigues, entertains and warms me... the people are so different to a lot of westerners in terms of their warmth, simplicity, interest in me, and superb hospitality... I have found this in every Arabic country I've travelled to including Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Malaysia and now Morocco. It makes the travelling experience so special when your smiles are returned, and help is always there if you seek it. I'm going to go out of my way to interact with as many people here in this country as possible.

Even though today was hard, I absolutely loved it for I met locals, had a good time with several of my tour mates and visited some absolutely awesome sights including the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca... the third largest in the world. An amazing sight and so different to the temples I've seen in Thailand and the churches and cathedrals in Europe. I paid 120 dirham (20 dollars) to tour this amazing sight, especially with its baths, huge expanses of prayer area and modern decor. The building took 6 years to complete, from 1987 to 1993. Very recent!

After touring the mosque, we walked to the train station where we caught a 1 hour train to Rabat, the capital of Morocco. A very clean, orderly and interesting city, we spent 3 hours roaming around the main areas, including a very interesting medina which offered us great views of the ocean and city. I had a very yummy mint tea for just over a dollar. I travelled 2nd class to Rabat which wasn't that different to that of 1st class. I loved Rabat.

At 1pm, we caught a 3 hour train to Mesknes. This train trip was very interesting in that I met a middle-aged Dutch woman who met and befriended a young Moroccan guy... sitting in front of me. For most of the trip, I was standing but eventually sat opposite to this newly formed couple who I talked to for the rest of the trip. The Moroccan guy invited the woman to accompany him to meet his family in his home town. Obviously, the lady admitted her concern over accompanying him but I loved the way this relationship blossomed on the train... as I was saying, the Moroccans are very friendly and hospitable! After conversing and mucking around with this couple for 2 hours, they disembarked. Whatever will happen to this newly formed couple?

I am staying at a very central hotel in Mesknes... own room tonight in what appears to be a grand place. I'm enjoying eating out on the town cheaply after the expense of Europe. Had a much needed steak tonight for under 10 bucks. The accommodation is simple, a bit grotty but comfortable. It has warm showers.

People reading this... if you want more details of my itinerary on this tour go to www.intrepidtravel.com and download the notes for the XSC tour... Colours of Morocco. It is truly set out to be a memorable trip with some unbelievable sights. We are off to Fes tomorrow.
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