It has been long overdue for another post.. Especially a travel one. I have been to several places and saw and tasted a lot of things but I didn’t get to write about it.
Before anything else, let me tell you something about Morocco. If not because I am now residing in Qatar, I would never be familiar with this nice country. When I first met people from this country, I thought it was located somewhere in Europe or a small country in the Arab region since they speak Arabic. I didn’t know that this is a huge country located in the North African continent bordering Algeria, Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and has claims on Western Sahara. People are of Berber origin with Arab and French descent with Arab and Tamazight (a Berber language) as the languages, while French is widely spoken.
It was a long flight from Doha going to Morocco, particularly Rabat. It is almost as far as Manila if we consider the length of the travel time. We spent 2 hours going to our stopover in Cairo, waited for another 2 hours to board and spent the remaining 6 hours up in the air going to Casablanca.
Mohammed V International Airport is the main entry point for anyone who wants to come to Morocco. It is named after the grandfather of the current King, Mohammed VI. It is a pretty decent and busy airport (aeroport in French) but still in the early stage of improvement compared to other airports I have been.. Probably because it is only recently that tourism has been booming in this beautiful and enchanting country.
But there is one thing I was amazed at this place — they have a fairly good train system.. From the airport, you can ride the train and you can be connected to several links going to the major cities of Morocco — Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Marrakech etc.. They also have car rental booths and other transport services readily available to anyone.
The ticket from the airport going to Rabat Ville costs MAD80 (Moroccan Dirhams) which is around QAR29 or PHP400. It takes around an hour and a half travel and then you have to change trains at Casa Port for another 30-45 minutes.
We reached Rabat right around past 6pm but the sun was still up that time since it was September and winter is coming.. During those times, the sun is up until around 8pm.
We were mesmerized by how European the city is but at the same time, you can feel the Arab culture too. People are talking in the local dialect and some Arabic and also French. Some people look European while you can still see the strong Arab features. Because of this, we were easily distinguished from the crowd.. Having our small eyes, petite stature and pale Asian skin, we were always greeted with ‘Konichiwa’ or ‘Ni Hao’ everywhere (Asians are just starting to discover this place and very very few Filipinos go here for tourism so locals think we are either Japanese or Chinese)..
We were met by our tour guide at the station and gave us a drive to McDonald’s for a quick lunch/dinner before heading to our Riad (hostel) in Rabat-Salé, on the other side of the city. The place of our riad is located in an old town with narrow streets and alleys. It was quite a walk from the main road but people were nice and they greet us 🙂 with you-know-what-it-is greetings.
I would say Rabat is a nice place to start your tour in Morocco. It is the capital city which boasts a lot of its modern yet conservative beauty.
I will post on my next blog about out riad and how we were surprised at how it looks.