Casablanca الدار البيضاء

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

From Barcelona, we took a plane to Madrid then connected to Casablanca. The flight from Madrid to Casablanca is about an hour and a half, but Morocco is two hours behind Spain. Now, instead of 6 hours ahead of New York, we were only 4 hours ahead.

Once we arrived at the airport, we rented a car and drove into the city. This city is almost impossible to navigate as there aren't many street signs and the entire city naming system is undergoing arabization. Even Royal decrees have played a part in swapping names around town. Add to this confusion the chaotic driving and the fact that we were leading a two-car caravan filled with people we had met on the plane, and it quickly became a nightmare. In the end, we picked up someone off the street who, after some confusion, ably led us to our hotel. I'd always heard people in Morocco were extremely generous; however, we were putting this to the test sooner than I'd hoped.

While I hate to disparage any place, both Pram and I did not care for Casablanca too much. So much so that within hours of arriving we canceled our second night and decided to head to Marrakech the following morning. But, Casablanca will forever be my first impression of the Muslim world. We spent the remains of our day on a long walking tour, from the Crowne Plaza to the medina, through Casablancan slums and around the glorious Hassan II Mosque, then back through the center of town.