It’s an unusually hot day, and I have to stop often along the way to rest in the shade and replenish fluids. Sometimes I come across a landscape that reminds me of Mars in its colors.
Current location: Mars, Morocco
I’m coming to Casablanca. On the Internet, I managed to find a luxury hotel on the coast and just a short distance from the big mosque. And if you add to this combination that it’s a lot of money, you get a hint for inclusion in the box: “Too good, to be true”.
I couldn’t find the hotel, I drove past it several times. The two giant skyscrapers showed no signs of being a hotel. Moreover, a hotel that I can afford.
But it was so. The building was not marked in any way, there were only a few bells at the door, nor were they described in any way. Nothing anywhere. I ask a few passers-by for advice, even a waiter from a restaurant across the street. He didn’t know much either, he just suspected that it would be close. It only saved me when someone was coming out of the building. Apparently also a guest who saw a confused European running around and immediately knew what was going on. Apparently he was in the same situation a few days ago.
The guest from the hotel directs me to the second floor, where he says I will find the reception. There I also find a young Chinese man who may be barely 20 years old. He explains to me that he has 3 floors in this huge building that belongs to his uncle, which he runs as a hostel. The rest is uninhabited.
The uncle is said to see potential in Morocco and that is why he built two huge boxes here, future luxury hotels. They say Morocco is something like China 10 years ago, it will grow economically and one day these two buildings will become the most profitable hotels in Casablanca.
At this moment, I still believe in his vision because I have only been in Morocco for a few days. But in retrospect, I suspect that the Chinese uncle probably shot a lot from the side. Morocco is on the rise, but something tells me that their values and culture here are a little different from China.
The Chinese young man lived there for 3 years and I’m afraid that if he didn’t die of boredom, he still lives there today.
Originally, I wanted to stay a little longer in Casablanca because … because the name of the city sounds good, almost everyone knows the movie, even though almost no one has seen it. If you’re not into movies for veterans, you probably won’t even be interested in this movie. He didn’t leave me much. Just like this city.
The guide I met the other day in Morocco already warned me that I could avoid Casablanca without remorse. The only thing to see here is the mosque.
He was right, but some things I prefer to verify myself. I don’t want it gnawing at my head. I visited Casablanca so you didn’t have to 😀 The overwhelming impressions of this big city for me were that it was industrial, dirty, sweaty and uninteresting. Walking around here wasn’t pleasant or fun or nostalgic or … just nothing.
The only thing that caught my attention was the tall building, the legend, the huge mosque.
Mosque of Hassan II. is the seventh largest mosque in the world and the largest in Morocco. It is 210 meters (Petřín lookout tower is 63.5 m). Although it does not seem like it, it was not built in the 16th, 17th, or 18th centuries, it was completed in the year of the Lord 1993. The construction took “only” 13 years. And I have to admit that the epicness of the building is truly stunning and I’m actually glad I got to see it with my own eyes.
Standing in front of this monster is truly an experience, and no photo can emotionally convey anything like that.
It is the only mosque in Morocco that allows tourists to enter. But I didn’t know that at this point, so I didn’t even try. Plus, the fact that Ramadan had started meant that I wouldn’t be able to get in anyway. And even if I wasn’t wearing shorts (note: it’s better to go to the mosque in pants or at least shorts below the knees and definitely not in a tank top, you need to have your shoulders covered).
And that’s it, that’s the end of Casablanca for me. I’ll admit, I was secretly expecting this place to surprise me. It often happens that I like/dislike a place that one does not recommend/recommend. Sometimes it’s about the mood, sometimes about the experience, sometimes about who you meet or what you dream. You can try giving Casablanca a chance, maybe it will surprise you.