Km travelled today/sum: 103km / 7848km
Sun shine, 24 degrees, highway
Today was a short day. We arrived in Casablanca around lunch time. And here we got to experience our first traffic jam in Morocco. The time you have to wait at a traffic light felt extremely long. It got worse when we came closer to the central place. So we decided opt for a different route, and that worked well. When we arrived at the hotel, we were directed into a two story underground car park with an extra guy directing the guests to their car/motorcycle parking spot. I wasn’t sure if we really booked into this posh hotel. I quickly got out the reservation and confirmed that we were at the right spot. We were, so I was happy J
We were too early to get into out room, so we sat in the lounge, had a mint tea and made some skype calls using the hotel wifi. Not long after we got our room. The view was fantastic. We looked straight onto the Minaret, the Mosque and some administration buildings.
Unfortunately, the next allotted visiting time was at 15:00, so we had to have a rest before we could head to the Hassan II Mosque. It is the largest mosque in Africa with the highest Minaret. And for us even more important: we could look at it from the inside while participating in a guided tour. So we did. On the left picture you see the mosque and on the right the plaza in front with the museum behind. We booked the tickets and off we went with our guided tour.
First the entrance looked stunning. We learned that around 25,000 worshippers can pray inside, and 80,000 outside, that’s over 100,000 people who can pray at the same time. Not sure how it is with the logistics to get the people to and from the Mosque. Our guide said that during ramadan there are actually that many worshippers praying here.
Anyway, we noticed that the temperature inside was nice and cool compared to the outside temperature.
Here you can see the center of the mosque. Have a closer look at the roof.
This roof is nicely decorated, consists of two parts and is retractable. I guess, this is nessary if 25000 people are inside the mosque.
On the floor was a window to the ablution block below.
Here is a view of the other side of the mosque.
From here we went downstairs to the ablution block where the worshippers wash their hands, forarms, face and feets before praying. This is the entrance to the ablution area.
Here is the ablution area. The ablution area as the mosque itself is devided into two parts, one for women and one for men.
This was the end of the guided tour. For us, it was intersting to see a mosque from the inside. The intricate ornaments were impressive. At the outside there were plenty of fountains, all of them had these beautiful blue mosaic. And particular at a hot day, the water gave a nice feeling.
This is one of the entrance doors. Check out the wood work and the plaster around it, just amazing!
Included in the ticket for our visit to the mosque was a ticket to the museum. Here they explained the craftsmanship and we had a closer look at the carvings, paintings and wood work. During the construction phase, there were apparently around 10,000 artists involved in the decoration of the mosque.
After the museum, we walked to the sea to have a look at the mosque from the front. There was stony beach in front of the dyke wall, where the locals went swimming and surfing. We watched them for a while before we walked to our next destination.
Well.. we are in Casablanca and ‘Here’s looking at you, kid’ should give it away…
Right, we were on our way to Rick’s café! By the way, not one scene of the movie was done in Casablanca. The café with the same name did put a piano in a corner after to create a similar feeling as it was in the movie, but technically they have nothing to do which each other. Anyway, we had to go there to have a look. So we did. Here is the outside of the cafe
And here is the inside of the café with the piano on one side. We opted to have a glass of wine in Rick’s café before walking back through the medina to our hotel.
We were tempted to extend our stay, but unfortunately the hotel was booked out. Tomorrow we will continue to Rabat which would be our last visit to a city before leaving Morocco.