Friday, February 28, 2014

come with me to the kasbah!

even though I had been to Morocco before, such are the things that rule our imaginations... lines from old movies, images of exotic places seen in books when we were young---

"on a morning from a Bogart movie in a country where they turn back time, you go strolling through the street like Peter Lorre contemplating a crime...from the blue tiled walls to the market stalls there's a hidden door she leads you to..."

those are words from one of my favorite songs of all time by Al Stewart called The Year of the Cat...

so yes, we saw Morocco- and I acknowledge reality but my trip was to a place that was more than just the things we saw... and what could be better? so come with me to the Kasbah in Rabat this morning- I think you will find you can imagine yourself in a song like the one I just quoted or a movie from long ago... people may live here but it is still a place apart...

Aziz models for us...

on to lunch along the rive between Rabat and Sale - lovely fish place called La Pescaria... where the half bottle of wine was half the bill as well- LOL and we learn this constant reminder that we are in a Muslim country... then a late afternoon drive to Fes and our hotel for the next three nights the Palais Faraj... a stunningly beautiful restored palace... but more on that later-

oh and more scenes from a movie as well- think Indiana Jones...coming soon...

the M5 mausoleum

we sleep in (so to speak) because it is Sunday and the traffic to Rabat will be light according to Aziz.  and so on Sunday morning we head north out of Casablanca toward Rabat... these cities are fairly close so at some point in the future they will become a "metroplex"

we take the expressway for part and then get off and drive the coast road for the remainder into the city, the political capital of Morocco (commercial capital would be Casablanca) - our first stop is the Mausoleum of Mohamed V (M5 versus H2 of the mosque or H1 of the soon to be seen Tower)-

beautiful, spectacular, jewel-like  are all appropriate adjectives for the mausoleum - which is guarded by the horse guards outside and inside by rotating soldiers in full dress uniforms- 

the mausoleum is adjoined by a mosque and the minaret for the mosque is the Hassan Tower- a match for the Giralda in Seville and the Koutubia in Marrakech except that this one is 1. unfinished and 2. partially destroyed by an earth quake... still the area is quite impressive as the remains of the structural pillars of the original mosque show how enormous it was... but on to photos- 

the Moroccan flag with its five pointed star (we were told the five pointed stars on our flag were an acknowledgment of the the fact that Morocco was the first country to recognize the United State of America diplomatically) 

inside the M5 Mausoleum- incredibly beautiful tile and stained glass-

outside - stalwart guards

ritual fountains at the mosque next to the mausoleum-

the plaza with the Hassan Tower-

one of two lights that line the stairs up to the mausoleum-

a view of the mausoleum across the plaza-

part of the original wall of the giant mosque- the holes are to allow air to circulate and keep the adobe-like building materials dry- especially important along the ocean in Rabat-

next on to the Rabat kasbah! another gem!