4th December, 2019
Well, you will be delighted to hear that we did spot Casablanca further up Morocco’s coastline, and ducked in towards her large, commercial harbour just as the sun rose on Wednesday morning.
As we conducted our engine & thruster tests in the shallowing waters just outside the harbour, the north Atlantic swell rose up and gently rolled us from side to side. The pilot elected to wait for us to enter the shelters of the harbour before he got on; meaning that he arrived just in time to see the manoeuvre onto our finger berth deep inside the port.
By 10am we were nicely tied up, and our shuttle bus service to ferry guests out of this industrial port and into the bustling city centre squares commenced. Casablanca is a right old jumble of European, African & Arabian cultures, mostly due to its tumultuous past. The French eventually colonised, but not before the Spanish & Portuguese had a good stab at it too. Mother nature also had a say as to its current architectural state; the city having endured significant earthquakes over the years.
Although the largest city in Morocco her capital, Rabat, is about 50 miles further up the coast. Needless to say, Saga ran an organised trip to this rather interesting city for those interested in exploring it’s fascinating history from Roman settlement onwards. For those wishing to remain closer to the ship, Casablanca has much to offer - especially if you happen to be a fan of markets & mosques.
In fact, the most impressive mosque here – the Hassan II Mosque –was only finished in 1993, and it could even be mistaken for a lighthouse if looking at it from afar when seaward. 7th largest in the world, it was built to commemorate the former King of Morocco’s 60th birthday, and its tower soars 656ft high over the ocean. The impressive Prayer Hall within features a glass floor and even under-floor heating for comfortable year-round worshipping conditions.
For those who have seen mosques before, there is another famous building here to have a look at – Rick’s Café – as featured in Hollywood’s wartime classic “Casablanca.” One of our trips even includes a complimentary drink inside…
Well, evening time came and darkness loomed after what had been a chilly but mostly bright day here. With all tours back at 18:30 (one apparently got stuck in Casablanca rush-hour traffic – I’ll bet that was an experience in itself – we slipped our lines and weaved out of the busy industrial port, northbound this time to Europe…
Captain Kim Tanner
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