Monday, May 12, 2014

Trip to Morocco and Granada Part 1

I've always wanted to visit Morocco and MasyaAllah about 4 weeks ago the hubby and I stepped on Moroccan soil, Alhamdulillah! We left from KLIA on Egypt Air, transit in Bangkok for a couple of hours and then from Cairo we took another Egypt Air flight to Casablanca. In Cairo airport we just managed to snatch a few words with Adik who came for some things we brought for him. (I can't understand why that airport reserve check-in counters for passengers only and security wouldn't let you out of the check-in areas after check-ins..!) Anyway we arrived at Casablanca on the 22nd of April (local time, it was already 23rd back home - about 8 hours time difference). Two lovely Malaysian girls met us at the airport - students there, one of them is the daughter of a friend who sent a package for her daughter that we brought along. The girls kindly helped us get train tickets from the airport to Casablanca and from there they waited until we got our train tickets to Marrakesh. (We planned to 'do' Casablanca on our last day before we left for home..) We didn't know anyone in Marrakesh but through the girls we managed to contact another Malaysian student, Syafiq who would show us around town, Alhamdulillah. He met us at the train station and took us to the place where we were going to stay which was a Homestay or Riad. It was located in the maze of souk in the old city. We would certainly be lost trying to find the Riad on our own, and in night time too! The Riad was not a 5 star hotel but amazing nonetheless with its Moroccan identity..and clean, that's the important thing. And we were delighted to be served with a Moroccan breakfast the next morning (never had bread dipped in oil before..) 
Anyway have a look a these pictures that tell more than words can say...
Inside Casablanca train station

Having a peek outside the train station..since we were going straight to Marrakesh.
Outside view of the station
Petit red taxis; the colour particular to Casablanca

Waiting for the train to Marrakesh

Coach was full at first but we got seats later on...popular means of transport these trains..

Reaching our destination after about four and a half hour journey...already night time

Marrakesh train station...

Met by our guide, Syafiq

Picture of the Riad Naya where we stayed in Marrakesh (taken from our room on the first floor)

Outside our room..

Shot taken from the ground floor

The little bathroom..clean, alhamdulillah..

View from upstairs of the courtyard below where...

..we had our breakfast the next morning

The hubby surveying the options, hmm...

The Jemaa el-Fnaa, famous square and market place in Marrakesh

Another angle of the square facing the Koutoubia Mosque

Horse carriage for hire

Syafiq leading us to see the Koutoubia Mosque

Koutoubia is based on the Arabic word koutoubiyyin which means 'bookseller'

An unfinished part of the mosque (read here for more info)
Next stop; Palais el-Badi

A former palace in ruins..

Now home to these magnificent birds

Underground dungeons..
View of part of surrounding area from palace

Another angle (whew..THAT's a lot of satellite dishes..)

Must had been a really grand palace in its time (read about it here)

Next we visited Palais de la Bahia or Bahia Palace

Impressive indeed..

Hubby's mirror selfie..LOL

Sculpted stucco...

Carved cedar-wood doors..

Paved courtyards..

Walled garden

Read more about it here
Next agenda: Lunch..Moroccan of course - tanjine!

Their strawberries were really huge!

Alleyway for shoppers..

Herbs and spices..

Now..that's an impressive display! (ground spices if you're wondering what they are)

We only spent about a night and a day in Marrakesh. Our next destination was Tangier but not to spent time there. Tangier is located on the northern part of Morocco at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean (OK, I got that from Wiki..) Anyway, we needed to catch a ferry at the port that will take us to the Spain side.. So once we got off the train at Tangier we got a taxi to take us to the ferry for the next leg of our journey.

Leaving Marrakesh for Tangier on the night train - a ten-hour journey

We travelled first-class..hoho (never travelled anywhere first-class before..)

Sights along the way

Buildings in Tangier are mostly painted white

Caught the sunrise..

Approaching the city

Arriving in Tangier train station

Our next destination is the port about 40 km away to catch the ferry to Spain

The view along the way was simply amazing..

The road is all hills and valleys

Greens and blues..


Arriving at the port, hubby verified our tickets that he'd already bought online
Ferry was delayed so..
...we had something to eat first

On the shuttle bus to ferry us to the other side of the port..

Queuing up for passport clearance

There's the ferry..

Boarding by the gangplank
Vehicles boarding..

Making ourselves comfortable for the ride..

And of course making time for picture-taking while on board..
Thanks hubby for taking me on this wonderful holiday!

This is the first part of our trip. I will continue with the second part soon, insyaAllah..

No comments:

Post a Comment