Friday, 1 February 2013

Christmas in Casablanca Part 4 and Final

Apologies for the length of this post, but I decided that it was time to close on Casablanca after 4 parts and return to real life once more!!  There were many photos that I did not want to leave out, so this post grew longer than planned! As we were exploring mostly on foot, the daily life of the city centre unfolded in front of us!

Perched on the corner selling Moroccan bread. Vendor's dilemma: either to be visible to potential customers or chance of being run over!

I want one of these :-)

Casablanca's own Twin Towers. Home to an hotel, offices, shops and supermarket.

 A smaller and older mosque than the new Hassan II building shown in Part 1, but you can see the intricate decoration on this one as well.

Loved this photo of the two cats enjoying the warmth of the bonnet below, heated by the engine,  and the sun from on top!

View across the large Park of the Arab League  (sadly rather neglected,with a number of broken and dry fountains) of  the Cathedrale Sacre Coeur in the background. See part 1 for more information on the Cathedral.

Lunch time snooze; guess this is as good as it gets in the park!

In Place Mohammed V near the Post Office, I think this was the only fountain we saw  in working order.  Presumably this is where all the pigeons hang out for water and crumbs, as the birds were everywhere!

The stylish main post office.

 The map of the new tramway, which opened only days before we arrived.  The route (at present) is 30km long, with 49 stops.  

In the centre of Casablanca, there are men at every road crossing, with whistles and flags stopping the traffic and pedestrians, so the tram can run through intersections, stopping  only at designated stops.

 One of the  "space-age" trams running down the centre of an existing roadway. The fares seemed reasonable, and any success in clearing the masses of clogged motor traffic would be a big benefit!

and this is the Place of the United Nations, near the port and market;  the centre of this area appears to be a main gathering and waiting point.


 Restaurant Imilchil, where we had our Christmas luncheon. Lavish decoration in an otherwise very plain and run-down street!

A very Moroccan interior.

The Harissa soup was highly recommended, so we had to try it out, and yes it was certainly a 5 star!

Nigel had lamb cooked with prunes and almonds, which he said was delicious while I had fish (no photo!).  We were surprisingly full afterwards, so ordered fresh fruit for dessert.  We accompanied our meal with an excellent Moroccan Cabernet red wine, which we had not expected to be available.  Many restaurants are Muslim owned or influenced, therefore there is often no alcohol on the menu.

 Our last meal in Casablanca was at the Casablanca Cafe.  We had eaten there earlier in our stay and discovered they had a good set menu, economically priced.   Of course, Casablanca could not be visited without finding some signs of Bogart and Bergman around, and the cafe did not disappoint us!  The famous 1942 film was based on Rick's Cafe, but apparently all filmed in California!!; the name carries on, in a building very near the fishing port. It had very good write ups but the menu wasn't cheap, we thought.

Inside the  period interior of the Casablanca cafe.

Nigel and myself proving that we were there!

Loved these large green eyes. The pavements everywhere have seen better days!



Our return to France and winter weather came as a big shock after sunny Morocco!  Here we are driving home over the Pont d'Aquitaine suspension bridge spanning the Garonne River in Bordeaux.

Morocco was altogether a different and most interesting winter holiday break and the  dry and sunny weather a pleasant relief from the never-ending rain at home!





 


See also - My Life Before Charente Updated 01/02/2013

and my daily photo diary at http://photodiarydps.blogspot.fr/


72 comments:

  1. Play it again, Diane!

    Your photographs give a great picture of Casablanca in all its variety...and I almost shivered when I turned up the photograph of the return to France!

    I had wondered about the wine...so very pleased it was available for the Christmas meal.

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    1. Fly that weather does not seem to have stopped since we returned! When we got out of bed this morning it was pouring down and it still is now at 17h30. We are really fed up with it now, enough is enough!!!

      We were surprised when they asked us if we would like wine, it was the only restaurant that we went to that specialised in Moroccan food that offered us wine. We were of course delighted, especially as it was Christmas. Not knowing the wine we only ordered a 1/2 bottle, but it was so good and as we were only walking back to the hotel we ordered another 1/2 :-)) Keep well Diane

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  2. i loved seeing all of this! the photo of the two of you is priceless!

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    1. Jaz you are right, never likely to have another photo taken in Casablanca with Bogart and Bergman behind us :-) Have a good day Diane

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  3. Hi Diane .. loved the photos together with the short notes bringing us that flavour of Morocco .. so pleased you had an excellent time - and anywhere but the cold weather please!

    The cats taking advantage of an underblanket with the sun above .. I'd be happy there! The tram does look pretty special - I wonder how much it'll save the traffic flows ..

    Nigel's dish looked delicious .. and I'm sure your fish tasted equally so ..

    Lovely reminders of CasaBlanca .. film and town .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary those cats certainly had picked a good spot. We did not really have a bad meal the whole time we were in Casablanca, we did though prefer the Moroccan foods because of the great flavours.

      I think we will often look back at these photos and enjoy the places again that go with them.

      Have a good weekend Diane

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  4. What great photos you shared! I have not seen much of modern Casablanca until your posts came along and gave us such beautiful details. The photo of the two of you,btw, is most precious! Glad you enjoyed yourselves and had a sunny holiday.

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    1. Thanks Rosaria for the comment and I am glad that you have enjoyed. It was truly a lovely break at Christmas in the sun. Enjoy your weekend Diane

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  5. Hello Diane:
    We have so enjoyed this series of posts which have certainly given us more than a taste for Casablanca in all its variety and colour. Yes, we do so hope to be there ourselves one day!

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    1. Jane and Lance I hope that you do get to see Casablanca one day, but plan to visit Fez and Marrakesh as well when you go. We were sorry that we did not plan ahead to see more of the country. Have a great weekend Diane

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  6. What a wonderful vacation, your pictures really gave a feel for the place. I was there about 30 years ago, it certainly seems to be a lot more updated now!
    Mary x

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    1. Mary, Mum's Kitchen, updated in some ways only. The tram and the mosque yes are very new, but I am sure when you were there, the pavements were not crumbling and that the fountains in the parks worked. Have a good weekend, Diane

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  7. That last photo took me by surprise too, taking me from warm and sunny Casablanca to a rainy France. Made me feel quite shivery! Have enjoyed my visit to Casablanca, and now know where it is and what it looks like.

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    1. Vera I am happy that you have visited Casablanca through my eyes at least. That last photo seems to be part of our lives at the moment. We have never known it so wet and it just keeps raining here. I hope that your floods are subsiding. Hope the weekend is a good one, Diane

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  8. This was a marvelous journey. Those trams look like a good way to get around. And there's you two looking like Boogie and Bergman.

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    1. Gaelyn the tram is going to make a huge difference I think to the people of Casablanca. It will do no favours though to the taxi drivers, but they scared the wits out of us the only twice we went in a taxi! Have a wonderful holiday, looking forward to hearing all your news. Diane

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  9. I enjoyed all your holiday photos Diane. I'm sure it was quite a shock to the system going from sun and warmth to rain. But you have many great memories to relive.

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    1. Joyful I am pleased that you have enjoyed the last posts, they were fun reminders for us and extended the holiday a bit ;-) Our weather here at the moment is diabolical, it never stops raining!! Have a wonderful weekend. Diane

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  10. Lovely tour through Casablanca. Your pictures and descriptions make it seem like a magical place stuck between old and modern times. One of our regular guests at our Bistro Des Copains was in to dine earlier this week and he had just returned from spending a week there. Thanks for sharing and have a great week.

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    1. Michel, I am glad that we have been to see for ourselves, but I am sorry that we spent the whole time in Casablanca, it would have been good to have seen more of Morocco. Thanks for the comment. Have a good weekend Diane

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  11. Those pictures have made it seem like summer again -- and a welcome feeling it is, too. What a fascinating city -- I love the picture of the harissa soup and what beautiful bowls! A truly magical tour! But what a shock you must have felt when confronted with the French weather! Ugh!

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    1. The Broad thanks for the comment and the shock continues. We have had 112 mm of rain this year so far and it looks like we have lots more still to come!

      That soup was quite delicious, one that I will try and make some time. Enjoy your week Diane

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  12. Hi Diane
    I've really enjoyed reading about your trip to Casablanca and the fantastic photos you've taken. I just love the scooter laden with goods. Can you imagine if we did that here :)

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    1. Kerry glad to know that you are back from skiing and blogging again. Cars, scooters, bikes were all a danger over there. They all drive and ride like madmen, as a pedestrian you had to have your eyes in all directions. Watching for holes in the pavements and watching for unruly drivers crossing roads. For all that it was a fun trip. Have a great weekend. Diane xx

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  13. Great tour of Casablanca, loved all 4 parts. Hope the rain has stopped. Keep warm.

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    1. Horst I am glad that you have enjoyed the visit to Casablanca. As for the rain, no it is still coming down 112 mm so far this year and we have only had one month!! Keep well, have you had your op yet? Diane

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  14. I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts. Casablanca is a city of myth, mystery and mystique. It must have been wonderful in its prime and still holds so much interest. Thank you for sharing your adventure. Karen

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    1. Karen I wish I could have seen Casablanca back when it was under French rule to compare it with today. I am sure then that all the fountains worked, the pavements would have been in good order, and of course the Cathedral would have not been neglected. It was though a great holiday and we enjoyed it as you might have gathered form my posts. Hope your weekend is a good one, Diane

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  15. What a beautiful city Casablanca is and so nice and warm. We have so much rain here too. JUst never ending it seems. Aweful
    Havea nice week

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    1. Riet I do not know what is going on with the weather but it is extremely wet! Thank goodness we had a warm Christmas. Have a good Sunday Diane

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  16. Still smiling at the guy sleeping with his head inside the box! :-) Love the Casablanca Café sign. Haven't been there.

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    1. JM, I guess he thought it gave him a bit of privacy :-) We were lucky to get our photo taken with the sign. Keep well Diane

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  17. Hi Diane, I have really enjoyed seeing your holiday photos and reading about Casablanca - I'm so pleased you and Nigel had a great time :) Also following your daily photo blog - every picture tells a story and wouldn't it be great if the rain just stopped for longer than a day? The wind was bitter in Angouleme today!! x

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    1. Jacky I am glad that you are following the daily blog, it is not always easy but some days are better than others. It was really chilly out today with that wind but I just wish the rain would stop! Keep well Diane

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  18. Haha! I scrolled down the page and read your words and looked at all the lovely photos. As I approached the last couple of photos I was imagining just how agreeable it must be to be under clear blue shiny sunny skies. I almost felt as if I were there. Then I was brought back down to earth with a bump when I cam to the last photo, that of your rainy return to France. It's been like that much of the time for weeks here now, but your Casablanca posts have all reminded me that winter won't last forever, and so much the better!

    I hope you are both well and that your brollys are nearby. :)
    Frip

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    1. Fripouille I have to say that landing back at Bordeaux brought us back to earth literally!! Ten days of sun and then that on our return. It has not changed much since either, I am beginning to grow webbed feet! Keep well Diane

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  19. What an interesting city - a contrast of the old and the new. I'm so glad you've taken us along.
    Sam

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    1. Sam it is an interesting place and I am happy that we went there. It was even better having a sunny Christmas :-) Take care Diane

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  20. I really enjoyed this tour of Casablanca – you showed it to us well. The food certainly looked appetizing – did you bring back any recipe or ingredients to use in some new recipe?

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    1. Vagabonde thanks for the comment and I am pleased that you have enjoyed this trip away from the Charente. We did bring back the tajine with us and a spice mix which should be added to each meal, but I have been using the following for recipes - http://riadzany.blogspot.fr/ http://moroccanfood.about.com/ and the spice blend is at
      http://moroccanfood.about.com/od/maindishes/r/ras_el_hanout_recipe.htm
      Bonne semaine. Diane

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  21. Lovely! It seems that you had a great time. :) Would you recommend a trip to Casablanca?

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    1. Starlight We did have a good time, but I have no idea what you would want from a holiday. If you want to go and sit by the sea or sit in a park and read, then no I would not recommend Casablanca. If you are interested in history and seeing somewhere new than yes you may enjoy it. The place is generally run down but has lots of interesting places to see. I would also not recommend staying 10 days in Casablanca as we did, split your time up between Fez, Casablanca and Marakesh and pick the best parts of each town to visit. Trip advisor is a good place to see what the recommendations are. Costs in restaurants etc are much the same as Europe. Hope this helps Diane

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  22. Wonderful trip the north Africa!
    Indeed, after the sunny moments, the return back to France must have been a shock and it looks like winter and it's cortège of grey and wet days is not over!
    Quite an atmosphere you bring up here!
    Well done Diane!

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    1. Thanks Noushka and I must admit that we really did enjoy the sun :-) I am fed up with the weather here now, it just never seems to stop raining :-( Take care Diane xx

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  23. This sounds like a wonderful holiday, Diane. You would make a marvelous tour director. You've also set me to thinking about harissa soup. I have to look into this. I hope your week is off to a great start. Have a good day. Blessings...Mary

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    1. Mary there seems to be quite a few recipes for this soup, but picking the right one, or working out which you would prefer and mix one recipe with another would probably be way of going. There are some great Moroccan recipes here if you are interested. http://riadzany.blogspot.fr/2009/08/moroccan-recipes.html
      Keep well Diane

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  24. That is a hoot, isn't it? A movie named Casablanca shot on a backlot at Warner Bros in Hollywood. In their favor, WW2 was going on so it would have been a tough location. It's been great traveling with you in Casablanca, where I've never been -- almost as good as being there.

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    1. lostpastremembered, you are right, a film that cam out in 1942 would have had difficulties in filming in northern Africa during that time :-) You can't blame the cafe for making a thing out of it though. I am glad that everyone seems to have enjoyed the trip to Casablanca, I was a bit worried about doing so much away from the Charente. Keep well Diane

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  25. This was a fun post. Loved the kitty photos - so cute! The architecture is really stunning. It's too bad the city is so run down.

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    1. Pam it is sad that there is not more being spent on general maintenance. The Mosque is estimated to have cost 585 million euros to be built, and the tram - final costs of the project is 5.9 billion dirhams (573 million euros) and created about 600 new jobs. Hopefully the people will use it, but I wonder now how will all the taxi drivers survive. We enjoyed our holiday though none the less :-) Take it easy Diane

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  26. What a journey! A real dream come true. It was extremely enjoyable to read your latest posts, and find myself in that exotic world. You and your husband look very happy on the photos. I bet you have lots of stories to share.

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    1. Olga I am sure that it was much more exotic in the old days but there is still lots to see and some interesting places to visit. Hope you are well Diane

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  27. I love it when I can see this beautiful place through your eyes again! Those pictures are fabulous Diane. Love the pictures of the cats and the one of you and Nigel. XOXO

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    1. Great to hear from you. I am glad that you have enjoyed the visit and the photos. I hope that all is well with you, take care Diane xx

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  28. Wonderful posts and thanks for the tour around Casablanca, feel like I have been there now. xx

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    1. Karen thanks for the comment and i am glad you have enjoyed 'your' visit. Keep well Diane

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  29. The combination of old and new is most intriguing! That's a great picture of you and Nigel. I find it interesting that the 3 cats you photographed are all calicos! This has been a great way for us to follow your vacation!

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    1. Marjie I do not remember seeing a cat that was much different. I think they just breed at random there so they are pretty much of a mismatch! The old and new is amazing but it is sad that the old is not being restored very much. Keep warm Diane

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  30. what lovely travel you both made and beautiful pictures I love the cats on the car!!xo

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    1. Gloria I am pleased that you have enjoyed these posts, I also loved the cats on the car. Have a good day Diane

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  31. Love the cats and the guy sleeping with his head in a box. :)

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    1. Joan the guy with his head in the box reminded me of lunchtimes in the park in Harare. They did not use boxes there but the park was always covered with sleeping bodies! During the war years one newspaper published a picture of bodies in the park!!!!!!! Hope all is well with you Diane

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  32. Merci Diane, j'ai beaucoup aimé cette visite de Casablanca.Vous nous avez montré tous les visages de cette ville. Hélas, en France l'hiver est moins ensoleillé!
    Bonne journée.

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    1. Lucie, je suis heureux que vous avez apprécié la visite. Le soleil à Noël a été très spécial. Bonne journée. Diane

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  33. A great eye for piccies you have - what food without wine - that's unnatural

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    1. Leon and Sue, I guess not if you are Muslim! Keep well Diane.

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  34. great post thanks a lot for sharing

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    1. cquek thanks for your visit and comment. Glad you enjoyed this post. Keep well Diane

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  35. Thanks for the tour of Cassablanca a place I will never get to. It is sad to see it is getting run down as there must be so much history there. Glad you enjoyed the Christmas meal and the warmer weather.

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    1. diane b it is very sad that there is much which is run down yet in other places there is so much affluence. The warm weather was a huge bonus. Keep well Diane

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  36. Replies
    1. Rose it was so different to other parts of Africa that I have been to. It was though a great get away to some sunshine in Europe's winter :-) Have a good day. Diane

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