Casablanca, the white city with 4 milion inhabitants... Not exactly a pretty city, but with its moments of charm... Casablanca is the economic capital capital of Morocco, and it's very cosmopolitan. It's also famous for its nightlife (did not check it out) and its excellent restaurants (truly excellent). Compared to the rest of Morocco it's supposed to be much dirther and slightly more dangerous - yet it is really not as bad as western cities of the same size.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory in Casablanca is the architecture. Hassan II mosque is just so beautiful - it's worth visiting Casalanca just to see it, really. Less eye-catching, but very beautiful, are the old French colonial buildings that are left in town... there's some superb architecture to be seen. By contrast, one should not visit Casablanca in search of ancient oriental buildings - even the old medina, though charming, is nothing spectacular compared to the one of marrakech.
Favorite thing: This metropole does have its new and past glory through the *Old Medina*, the traditional craftwork center: *Quartier des Habous and the islamic world's jewel: The majestic *Hassan II Mosque*
visit the following places of interest:
- Grand Mosque Hassan II
- La Corniche
- Marché Central
- Quartier des Habous
- Royal Golf Anfa
- Royal Golf Mohammedia
These are just some of the must-see tourist attractions here in the city. Don't miss them!
Photo Below: The Grand Hassan II Mosque.
Many of us call it the CASBAH but this is what they call it. Call it by any name you wish, it is a fascinating maze of endless narrow lanes, without a guide, it would take years to find your way out of it.
We disembarked from the ship and proceeded from the docks where we were met by ALI who is the Senior Tour Guide in all of TANGIER. He is articulate, given great deference and one should endeavour to seek him out.
He has his own personal driver who maintains a modern vehicle. The driver does not speak English, he really is just that, a driver. He will speak now and then to inform Ali of an item of interest, so we presumed. There were four of us in the vehicle, fortunately a full sized car.
This is what we saw of ALI most of the time as he kept up a no nonsense and no dawdling pace. What few people know about these Senior Guides is that they have a regular source of guaranteed income. The various shopkeepers and restaurants have a system much like a collective and both sponsor and pay these guides to bring customers.
Something that I'm sure you must have figured out by now. It is a prevalent practice in these areas, it's all about money. Tourism is a very major component of the continuing existence of these highly interesting areas.
It is important, therefore, that you view your purchases as being a major contribution to the well being of the community. There, don't you feel better now?
Guide Ali is on the left waiting for Ann and I to catch up to Ralph and Catherine who are seen halfway down the road.
Note that Ann is at the door of the Mercedes auto which transported us, no doubt flirting with the driver. We had all threatened to trade Ann for Camels, it was just a standing joke.
A rare occasion, indeed, I am actually taking the picture.
Ten carpets and 5 camels as a trade? Fair?
TWO CANE TOURING
Catherine and Ali both had canes, the difference being that Catherine really needed one. Ali just looks like he might, but he could outrun a racehorse.
Our travel partners this day are now friends who we stay in touch with. We were table mates along with others during a 28 day voyage. It is surprising how close you can become with people when traveling long distances.
Along with another couple who sat at the adjacent table, we have traveled since with Ralph and Catherine, Arnie and Linda, last time on the cruise ship NORWAY the only other remaining truly grand ship from yesteryear.
I've told the story before but one more time will be okay for those who are only looking at this page. While following our guide Ali around, we happened in on a rug merchant. Our friend Arnie and his wife, Linda, who reside in Ormond Beach, Florida, were busily negotiating for this lovely Moroccan Rug.
Spotting us, Arnie came over to me and told me that he thought he was getting the better of the merchant. Arnie has a delightful Texas drawl, very assured of himself, a real together kind of guy.
Several days later, at a shop in Southampton, England, Arnie and Linda saw the identical carpet in a small store. It was at half or more less than the one he had bought in Morocco. The shopowner informed him that it was imported from Sri Lanka.
A few years later, the National Geographic gift booklet featured a highly styled beautiful mousepad. It was a replica of a Moroccan rug, not unlike the one Arnie bought. I suggested to Ann that we send it to him as a gift. We decided that perhaps that would be like rubbing salt in a wound.
In the deeper regions of the Casbah/Kasbah, we were led to this restaurant, obviously one with which Ali was associated.
Expand the picture, if you will. Imagine that you are deep withing the old Casbah with narrow streets, peddlars, beggars, and here is a restaurant with every square inch of what you see in sparkling beautifully clean tile. Not one square inch of the entire area was not covered with tile. It was mindful of what we had seen earlier in Lisboa, Napoli, Seville and Barcelona.
Most people young and old will be aware of the movie “Casablanca” even if they have never seen it and the expression “Play it again Sam” despite the fact that this actual phrase was never said in the movie,a and “Here’s looking at you Kid”. The film was made in 1942 and of course filmed in Casablanca which was very colonial at that time. While there were a variety of characters from many countries the most notable were the leading stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Shortly after its completion, the allies invaded North Africa. A truly romantic story which despite its initial critical reception, won three Academy Awards and one of the greatest films of all time.
Following the movie “Casablanca”, several other movies were shot there. The later ones were “The Usual Suspects”, “Out Cold”, “The Good German” and one of the series of “Moonlighting” was also filmed there.
Favorite thing: Make sure you keep a good supply of small change. Petit taxis expecially only take cash and it will only be a small amount. Toilets also on roadstops will cost you and it will be more expensive if you have to buy something just to get some change. As I found, they will price something so that you won’t be given small coins in return. Paying for the toilet will be separate to an attendant.
Favorite thing: During my stop-over stay of 3 days before travelling to Brazil, I saw the ' kashbah's ' old market places and very small streets. Casablanca is a bit old glory (see movie Casablanca with Humprey Bogart)but now becoming a real modern city. Gives you the impression life stood still overthere; nice to see though.
Well, i dont know where to put this; it goes under Local Customs and General Tips:
If you are at the market, or just at a shop
Do the following:
1) Examine the product, you are to buy, have a look around.
2) If you like the product find the price
3) Remember to Haggle!
4) Say if the person gives u a price
Take an example of: 100 Moroccan Dirhams,
You want a lower price!!, YOU DO!!!!, HAGGLE!!, IT DOESNT MAKE YOU CHEAP, IT MAKES SMART!!!, You can do it hear so DO IT!!. So you say 65, and the trader says 90, you say 70, he says 86, you say, final at 72, he wil go down to in the 70 region. i.e. 77 You then meet at 74, say that is your final, the trader should meet you there.
5) Be Happy, and Haggle!, GO ON!!, I come from a culture of Haggling at the market in my native country. Its so sad, that you cant do that in England :(.
There was one good restaurant in Casablanca, the other restaurants were dirty and the food was really bad.
Fondest memory: My best memory when I found this restaurant.
I dont know the name, but I was very disappointed with my vacation in casablanca.
Casablanca is also an inmportant harbour.
The main Mosque is in the harbour area and faces the seaside which, awfully is just very dirty and not well preserved, as most harbours anyway.
Favorite thing: When you drive around Morocco you will find a lot of unfinished buildings. This is due the taxes being lower for unfinished buildings. So the owners tend to keep them in this state permanently.
I worked very hard during the day in a office witout air conditioned. You can understand how I was...more
We arrived late into Casablanca ... around 7:30 pm so we didn't want to haggle and try to find a...more
Wouldnt recommend the hotel - we just got some fantastic rates from opodo - triple room for Eur 110....more