Magnificent Morocco – 18. On the train to Fez

This was Casablanca station when I originally got there, not a great pic, but its quite a huge looking station

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So now, I’m leaving for another city, Fez.

There is quite a large array of platforms as it seems Casablanca is quite a central hub for the rest of the country.

Once getting going, this was a 5 hour journey, with an hour stop in Rabat.   I found I could track my location on my Android phone as the GPS would show in Google Maps even with cellular data switched off which would be costly if I had this on.

Rabat is Morocco’s capital.    I didn’t get to venture out properly except from with these pictures.    It looks quite modern and I like these tree lined boulevards that you see on a lot of streets here.

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DSCF8260 1024One of the tough parts of this whole trip is seeing some severe poverty.

Looking out of the window there are people living in shacks by the side of the track.   These people look ethnically different from average typical Moroccan (Berber or Arab or inbetween)   These people look like they were from more central Africa.    I’m guessing they are immigrants from maybe neighbouring Mauritania or Senegal.

This was just approaching Fez itself.

On my train in the same carriage, there was young couple very in love who looked in the early 20s, the girl looked Arab and the boy looked more Berber.   Although Morocco does seem to be loyally Islamic, I wonder if showing affection in public in much of the middle east would be possible.

I was looking forward to seeing the ancient city of Fez.

Previous 17. Scooter shops

Next 19. Fez first impressions

Magnificent Morocco – 10. Casablanca – Frankly my dear….

casablancamovieOk, I bought this film, but I haven’t seen it yet 🙂

Casablanca is a huge place, and very industrious.   Its night and day compared to Tangier, – like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv or London and Birmingham.

This place has 3.3 million people, its the 5th largest city in Africa.

Often this place is simply known by the locals as ‘Casa’

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I only spent two days there, it looks pretty modern, more like a large French city.   Perhaps a little cruelly, the guide book I had tells people its not worth visiting.   I did get to see a few surprises though.

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Looking closer at some of theses posters, I noticed something that seemed more common as getting further down away from Europe;

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These symbols show one of the Berber languages, that’s native to Morocco.  Actually theres at least 3 of these, and more types of this in the other north African nations.

Apparently, only 10% of Moroccans are pure Arabs, most of the people are ethnically Berbers or a mix of Berber and Arab.

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The city centre looks quite fresh and modern, and this lightrail tram looks really similar to the new one in Jerusalem.

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Government buildings, grand, bold, beautiful and unmistakably Moroccan.

Previous 9. Getting the train to Casablanca

Next. 11. The Grande Mosque

Magnificent Morocco – 9. Getting the train to Casablanca

So, only one night in Tangier and I’m off on my way to Casablanca….DSCF8146 1024

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I get a taxi to the railway station, I’m excited about leaving from the most north west corner of Africa by train.   This station has its a sort of unique Moroccan charm about it.

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The railway system here is pretty good, trains are fairly modern, and clean.    Some white overalled women come along and remove rubbish from your carriage ever so often.

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The journey is quite slow though, with some long stops at some isolated stations and at signals.

Oddly, Google doesn’t show lines for Morocco’s railway, so only given me time and path for driving.   I think it was maybe 4 or 5 hours for this journey.

Previous 8. Crap car spotting

Next 10. Frankly my dear…

Magnificent Morocco trip – part 1

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Do have a watch of this – its a great song and video

A few years ago I was watching a music video by U2 of the song Magnificent.

It caught my eye that this was filmed in what looked like a middle eastern city, the floors, carpets, mosaics and ancient buildings looked attractive, so when I researched where it was, it turns out it was done in Fez Morocco.

Whilst out in the ministry field, I learned that some of my Israeli friends had Moroccan background, several of them also speak Arabic in addition to Hebrew.   Some had used France as a stepping stone before coming to Israel, as they had migrated twice, deeming France not a satisfying place to settle.

Looking on the news there is horrendous antisemitism in Europe, specifically France in recent years.   I’ve read there are some countries that used to have Jews such as Iraq, Iran and Yemen, which only a tiny handful remain.   In addition to this I was curious to know about Morocco and how other religious groups could live in a community which is predominantly Islamic.

I like cooking.   I think Couscous is underated, and done right it can be more interesting than rice for a meal.   There is lots of good food out of this country, I’m used to a Mediterranean diet and middle eastern cooking too.

The buildings look absolutely phemonal.    I decided I have to visit this country.   Many of the budget airlines go there, but I wondered it would be a bit crazy to get a boat over from Spain and also see Gibraltar….

so here marks my first journey to the African continent…..

Next 2. Spain, the bottom of Europe and the rock of Gibraltar