Day 102 of 111. Rabat, Morocco
After we finished our tour of Casablanca, we traveled further up the coast to Rabat, the capital city of Morocco. After visited the royal compound, we went to a Moroccan restaurant for lunch called Le Ziryab. When the waiter brought us water, he asked “Distilled” or “Gas”? That kind of threw us for a loop until we figured out that the choice was “bottled” or “sparkling” water. We were brought small plates of foods such as cauliflower, carrots, eggplant, cabbage, and courgette. Each dish was spiced or pickled or some other process that made it delicious. We also had little rolls filled with chicken, fish, or vegetables. The main course was brought in a large silver tangine (a cone shaped cooking vessel) with chicken and pink olives. Ron and I tried the olives again and we have still not changed our opinion of their flavor. For dessert we had a puff pastry with vanilla cream (not shown) and then tea in a glass with an assortment of delicious pastries. Some were like long empanadas filled with almond paste, some were like dry cookies flavored with cardamom, some were a little like baklava and some were like biscotti. All were delicious, especially with the tea. It was a wonderful meal, but we were glad to get up and do some walking afterwards.
A visit to the Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco
On the Bou Regreg River, there are places for recreational boating, some beaches, and a kasbah. Walking into the area we found women along the street holding syringes ready to do henna tattoos. Inside the city walls we passed a gate into the Jardin Andalou and found some very nicely painted doors. We sat in a cafe and were served mint tea with a little sugar. I kind of expected iced tea, but the tea was hot but still refreshing.
Mausoleum of King Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco
Soon after our refreshing tea, we departed the kasbah to the Mausoleum of King Mohammed V. The mausoleum was built by his grandson, the current king, Mohammed VI on the site of a huge ancient mosque that was destroyed by a great earthquake in 1755. The large tower on the site was never completed, but remnants of the original walls remain and stacked cylinders of granite represent the columns from the original mosque. Entrances to the mausoleum complex are flanked by royal guards on horseback and the mausoleum itself has guards standing at attention outside and inside the building.
The mausoleum contains the remains of Mohammed V (in the large central crypt) and King Hassan II (the current king’s father) and Prince Abdallah (King Hassan II’s brother) in the corners of the mausoleum. Next to the smaller crypt in the corner is a chair where a cleric reads/recites verses from the Koran. Looking up above the crypt area, the dome is just as spectacular to view. In addition, the complex also contains a mosque and a library that looks similar to the mausoleum in materials and style. Soon after our visit we returned to our ship in Casablanca.