an chronicle of my adventures in Ifrane, Morocco and travels within the surrounding area

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Weekend in Rabat

Sorry this is so late in being posted, but the change in weather has brought on a bit of a nasty cold and I'm just now getting around to it.

Our hotel, located at the head of the old medina, was quite a bargain at about $7 a night/person, but had a few drawbacks- the bathrooms, while they did have actual toilets, were a real laugh. Showers cost an additional 10 Dh (a little over a dollar), and after taking one I almost wished I hadn't. But the price was right, so no complaints here.

This guy, living outside our hotel, seemed to have a bit of a rough night.

We arrived on Friday night, had some supper, and turned in after a tiring train ride. After breakfast, our first stop the next morning was the unfinished mosque/Mohammed V mausoleum complex.

The gardens in front of the mosque were exquisite, with birds of paradise, roses, a plethora of other flowers and shrubs, and a series of ornately tiled fountains and waterways.
Behind the unfinished mosque there is a plaza which leads to the Mohammed V mausoleum, which was a gorgeous place to keep a body, I guess.

Our next stop was the Chellah Roman Ruins just outside the city of Rabat- possibly the most beautiful place I have visited since coming to Morocco.

Beyond the obviously impressive quality that this shit is STILL HERE, the view and the persistent flowers growing up from the rocks made it quite lovely.

Again, I'm just endlessly impressed that it's still in such good condition considering that touching the stone caused erosion in my hand.

Oh, and just behind the ruins there is a BEAUTIFUL tropical garden which I might venture to call paradise were it not for its voracious mosquito population.

The flowers were the most brilliant shades I have ever seen,

and who knew that banana trees were so pretty?

Altogether, it was a little walled haven where we spent much more time than our mosquito bites indicate we should have.

After grabbing a bite to eat we headed to the souk (market) which is the most spacious and well-organized one I have yet visited. Unlike other cities where you can touch both walls of the winding alleyways at times, this was wide, considerably cleaner than most, and with a better selection of goods.

Saturday night we went out for some sushi, which despite our complaints of its relatively high prices, only cost about $15-20 dollars and was comfortingly familiar. Sunday we devoted entirely to shopping, visiting some shops in the old medina first, where I bought some soccer cleats for about $6, which I later discovered both lace on the same side. Oh well, what can you do for six bucks?

We then hit a shop nearby with clothes and basic personal care needs, and then finally going to the Rabat Mega Mall where we put all of our luggage at a home base in the food court (also comfortingly familiar) and shopped to our hearts' contents. This shirt struck me as quite funny- there are a lot of shirts like these all over the place that just make you chuckle.

After doing all the shopping I cared to (one exorbitantly priced coat and a shirt was enough), I stepped outside to discover a lovely courtyard on the lower level with the food court where I found the most vibrant dragonflies in a (manmade) lily pond. Oh the things onto which one accidently stumbles.

Finally, burdened with shopping bags galore, we made our way back to the train station and after a partially standing train ride and the slowest taxi drive ever, we got back to campus around 9 on Sunday evening.

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