Daily Archives: April 7, 2014



My first call before Casablanca was on my old friend King Mohammed VI. The weather had taken a turn for the best and thought maybe a round of golf with young ‘Mo’ might be in order. I arrived at the entrance to his beach palace but sadly he had sent his apologies. Apparently he had been called away in a hurry to speak with the US secretary of State. Ah well. Another time. Nice gaff tho.
I stopped on the bike and took a picture. One of Mo’s security guys ran over to me and stopped me moving off on my bike. he wanted to check my phone for the photo. ‘Interdit!’ he said; ‘you understand?’ No…I didn’t….well I did really but we shook hands and I cycled off anyway.

It was a fair ol’ whack before reaching the city of Mohammedia and with a late start I looked for a place to camp. Luckily I found a wonderful spot by a river and between roads that ran parallel to the coast. Brilliant.
The frogs sang and was awoken by the early birds. I was visited by cows and goats as they slowly shuffled over a shallow crossing by a broken bridge.

Mohammedia was a little suburban. I had a walk in the park opposite the new railway station. Once past the city I stopped at a truckers cafe for a marvellous Tajine cooked casserole. It tasted great and really hit the spot. Lovely people too.
Casablanca appeared quite mundane from the coast road. Built fairly recently by the French it has little character but has expanded considerably. Amongst the concrete towers are shabby tenements which serve as home for a large underclass of working class residents.
The big attraction is the Mosquée Hassan II. Built over the sea with a view to the water beneath it is, at 200 metre tall, the highest structure in Morocco and the tallest minaret in the world. It is a big erection. I could not take my bike too close but left it with one of the guards at the walkway entrance. I was quickly accosted by an elderly Northern English tourist that talked at me for longer than I would have liked and repeatedly explained how he was ‘not impressed at all’ with his hotel or the mosque or the water or…. I made my excuses and gave him the slip. Personally I thought the mosque was fairly impressive. It was a lot more interesting than the rest of Casablanca which appeared to be little else but concrete blocks.

Just past the lighthouse on the Southern outskirts of Casablanca is a little island (Marabout of Sidi Abderrahmane) now joined by a walkway. Local musicians played on the bridge for visitors. Apparently a visit to it is good for the treatment of people suffering from mental health issues and their relatives.



Getting off


Finding the riad in the medina at Rabat was a bit of a trial. But once there I felt I had finally made my move and survived a transplantation into a very different world. The plan initially was to stock up on supplies and have a look around Rabat.. but I had little time for that and even missed breakfast. Being a cheapskate cycling/camping hobo the hotel was a teeny bit more upmarket than I would like. It was an expensive sleep in my books. I imagined a meter running whilst I slept. But once awake the riad looked lovely. The room was well furnished and it felt like I at least had a brief, almost luxurious stay, in quite a beautiful traditionally furnished Moroccan house. Hang the expense.



Feeling rough (grrrr headache) and barely ready I found myself thrown out from the small passageway of the hotel door into the bustling market. Exciting stuff! With barely room to steer my bike I picked my way between the traders. The busy passageway led to the walkway la Boulevard el Alou filled with shops and stalls. I sat and had a fishy (pilchards?) bun with a peppery sauce before heading back West towards the coast road. I could not resist stopping for a freshly pressed orange juice from a woman in a long black Hijab.





I arrived out of the medina opposite the walls and main gate of the ancient Kasbah where I had briefly taken shelter the night before. I was tempted to take a little ride inside on my bike.




Aside from the huge gates at the entrance the Kasbah was not terribly impressive and access did not extend far. Back out on the coast road the weather changed as I rounded the coast beyond the Kasbah. The combination of heavy rain and strong headwind made me take shelter behind some ruins and spray from the sea threatened to rise above me as the waves crashed into the rocks. Typical seaside weather!



Regardless of the heavy clouds heading inland I was happy, once again, to be back in the saddle and heading South along the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Yeah!