A day in the capital of Morocco
March 16, 2016
A day in the capital of Morocco
It was 102 degrees Fahrenheit and I could not believe how hot it was. I know back home it sometimes gets this warm, however when I am in the U.S. I am able to dress at least comfortably to keep cool. In Morocco I had to dress conservatively in order to respect the public and also refrain from any cat calling, which was also a big issue anywhere I would go in Morocco.
My classmates and I, along with my study-abroad directors, made our way to our meeting point to embark on our next excursion.
It took nearly four hours to arrive to the capital of Morocco, Rabat. On our way our director showed us King Mohammed the VI’s palace and where he conducts his meetings. He also shared some interesting facts as to how the king grew up and how he met his wife, Princess Lalla Salma.
Rabat is located right near the Atlantic Ocean, it was ranked by CNN in 2013 as one of the “top travel destinations,” and its medina was designated as a World Heritage site. A medina is an old distinct area of a city that is usually walled with narrow streets, featuring many restaurants, markets and even mosques.
We arrived at the mausoleum of King Mohammed the V, where the current king, King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah’s tombs are located. A reader of the Quran is usually present inside, sitting down and reciting it. The architecture of the building is a white silhouette topped with a green roof, which is the color of Islam. The Hassan Tower is located right next to the mausoleum; the tower is a minaret of an incomplete mosque from previous centuries.
My Moroccan friends also joined us, and we took pictures with the guards that were outside of the building. I was surprised of how many locals were visiting the building–acting as if it were the first time they were visiting there.
I climbed up on top of some of the pillars that are located just outside the mausoleum and took pictures with friends and goofed around in some. We got down and made our way inside, and that’s when I heard the peaceful recitings of the Quran, and admired the beautiful details on the walls and of the floor.
Our visit ended and we walked along the Atlantic Ocean, and I noticed a handful of tombs located on the beach. My classmates and I were surprised at this idea.
It was time for our break, and our directors walked us to the medina, where we found a variety of options to go eat and shop. We broke up into groups and I stuck with a few of my friends and made our way to a chicken place.
Once we finished our meals, we made our way into the medina to do some gift shopping; I stumbled upon a natural beauty shop that I spent most of my time in. I am a huge fan of shopping for natural products, especially if they are from another country. I bought henna, black soap, rose water and other natural remedies.
The streets of the medina were filled with locals who kept asking us to come into their shop and take a look. Many tried different tactics to get us into their shops, some of them worked, but when it came to the bargaining it was a bit tough until we got good at it.
Our Moroccan friends met up with us outside the medina gates to walk toward the beach. It was a 20-minute walk to the beach, which was packed with locals. We reserved a spot on the beach and left our belongings to venture into the ocean. My roommate and I only swam for a little bit, and then we made our way to a restaurant that was located on the other side of the beach to have some drinks.
We felt a bit out of place because we were the only ones drinking, however since Rabat is a tourist area they are okay with tourists drinking.