An early evening’s departure, a connecting flight and 3 hours of sleep. Hmmmm, that nap was even drug-assisted. No matter, I felt refreshed enough to enjoy Day One and feasted on a marvelous seafood lunch at the Casa Port and an atmospheric dinner at the made-famous-by-Hollywood Rick’s Cafe. But I’m jumping the gun on Moroccan dining adventures. So, let’s leave that for another, separate blog.
Hassan II Mosque can’t be missed simply because it is a dominant structure along the corniche, looking out to the Atlantic Ocean. The Moorish art and architecture was very evident in this complex spanning an area that can accommodate over 100,000 worshippers to include 25,000 inside the Mosque. The largest mosque in Morocco and Africa is also the 7th largest in the world. The minaret, however, is the world’s tallest at over 200 meters, topped by a laser whose light is directed towards Mecca. As a big fan of unique doors and windows, I am satisfied with my Day 1 in Morocco. Hassan II Mosque — both traditional and modern (it has heated flooring and retractable roofing — is a fine introduction to Morocco.
Casablanca’s Habous Quarter is a good energizer for sagging stamina. Shopping 101 in Morocco. Think leather slippers, ottomans, kaftans, Aladdin pants (yes, I made that up) , assorted lamps, ceramic bowls, and many Moroccan handicraft. The Quarter is an interesting mix of traditional Moroccan architecture with European influences. Not surprising since the quarter was built by the French in the 1930s. I managed to buy a couple of blouses in this modern medina. Don’t ask where I’d wear them. 😄
A corner tea house lured us all to rest our tired butts. Zombies from a long flight, we needed our fill of the black brew, scented mint tea or freshly-squeezed orange juice. All raring for showers before our dinner in Rick’s Cafe. Excited , yes. After all, that Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman movie is the icon of many doomed romance stories and was viewed over the years with the audience mouthing those many famous lines from the movie. “Play it, Sam” or “Play it again, Sam” ? Who cares? I simply remember that scene where Ilsa looks down and Rick gently lifts her chin with his hand, saying “Here’s looking at you, kid”. 😭😭😭