Morocco: What’s a trip without a misadventure? Rabat to Casablanca, 27 December 2015

Rabat

Rabat

I was up by 5 am, so after breakfast at the hotel, I decided to take a stroll to check out Rabat’s medina in the daylight. I started out from my hotel around 8am, and stopped by Hassan Tower, and the mausoleum of Mohammad V, as it was along the way. The mausoleum of Mohammad V has very intricate carving, and you can also check out the costumes of the guards, both on horses, and those who guard the four gates of his mausoleum. I do feel rather bad that his final resting place is now swamped by tourists who have no qualms about photographing his coffin.

Rabat

From there, it is a short walk to the waterfront. There seems to be some nice restaurants there, so I imagine that’s a nice spot in the evening, if you are looking for some romantic dining. In the early morning, fishing boats were docking, and nets of seafood were being put on trucks, presumably for distribution to the different restaurants in the city. I simply followed the waterfront before winding up at the Kasbah.

The Kasbah still has some pretty dwellings (think blue windows/doors on white walls), and when you get to the end of it, you will have an amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean. As a touristy place, there are generally a number of men hanging around, offering to show you around. Just keep moving. I saw a gallery/café along the walk, and after taking in enough of the Atlantic Ocean breeze, I simply ended up at the café for some mint tea, and to get in some writing for the day.

Rabat

At around 10, I made my way back to my hotel to pick up my stuff, as I planned on taking the noon train to Casablanca. I checked out, and rolled my luggage to the tram. The major train stations offer a ticket vending machine, which has an English option, and sells tickets for immediate departure. They don’t always work, or if they do, they might have other issues, like only accepting exact change. Good luck! Or as they say in French, bonne chance! I did get one to sell me a first-class ticket to Casablanca (55 DH).

Rabat

Casablanca

And, that’s where my day’s adventures began. Casablanca has three train stations. My ticket brought me to Casablanca Port, which is the train station at the waterfront, and closer to the airport. Not liking the look of all the over-eager (scammy) taxi drivers, I saw a sign that read “bus ancienne ville”, and hopped onto bus 900, without questioning my decision (7 DH), all the time thinking that the bus will take me into town. Well, it took me into town. It took me into a town two towns away from Casablanca. So, 40 mins later, I wound up in the town of Mohammadia. By the time my spidey senses told me that I messed up big time, I had to think of a quick fix-it that would not bankrupt me. Thankfully, the bus went by the Mohammadia train station, so I simply hopped off the bus, and hopped onto the next train to Casablanca Port, again! Thankfully, this mistake just costs me 22 DH, and 1 hr of my time, and another doofus story for the ages (now, the story unfolds about why I travel alone).

Casablanca

Anyway, this is related to why I take buses – to avoid scam artists. Getting off the train, my day’s misadventures didn’t end there. The train stations in Morocco are essentially a death trap for tourists. I got picked up by an asswipe of a scam-artist taxi driver soon enough, who refused to use the meter. If I had more energy, I would have fought this more, but whatever. In the end, I wound up paying 35 DH (he demanded 40 DH) for a very short taxi ride, which should have cost closer to 15 DH. He was so lazy, he didn’t even want to turn into my hotel.

After resting a bit, I decided to head out for food. I wasn’t in the mood to deal with more crowds, so I avoided the medina and its souk. I simply went into the first place that had a menu with fixed prices, and ended up with a shwarma platter (45 DH).

Casablanca

In Casablanca, there is also a rather extensive tramline in Casablanca, so if you want to avoid such incidents, that is an option. Rides are 7 DH per trip – be sure to keep your ticket, because it works on a tap-in/tap-out system. But as the distance wasn’t too far, I just walked both ways. I ended the night by hanging out at the rooftop pool of my hotel, which offered nice views of the city of Casablanca.

Casablanca

Costs

Transportation: 112 DH (55 + 15 + 7 + 35)

Food: 60 DH (45 + 15)

Accommodation: 70 USD (I stayed at a 5-star hotel)

Total: 88 USD

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Categories: Morocco, Rail, Travel Mishap, Travel Scam | Tags: | Leave a comment

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