0331. A Fairy Tale Ending (164--new)

Mehdi Plage Travel Blog

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Then next town down the road is Beggara.  But the ticket guy on the bus doesn’t have any idea where that is.  Bad sign.  So as I ride the bus to Sidi Kacem, I see the turn off towards Beggara—but no town in sight. 

I’m just not in the mood to go on a long hike in the scorching sun to find some crappy little two bit village—so I stay on the bus…
I should have just gotten a bus straight to Kenitra.  Now I’ve got a lot of backtracking to do and I’ve wasted a lot of time.  Oh well…

Hasn’t been my best day for Parkbenching…

I still have a trick up my sleeve to rack up another Parkbenching point:  Mehdi Plage.

  I figure it’ll just be another generic beach town—but I know I can get there quickly from Kenitra, and it’ll make today a 2 town day instead of a one town day…

But as the taxi heads out of Kenitra, I quickly realize the Mehdi plage is much more than a beach town.  There perched on top of the towering cliffs to my right, is the beautiful ruins of a castle…

Perhaps this day can yet be redeemed!

But I stay aboard the taxi until it reaches its final destination—trot up to get a view of the beach… yep, typical beach town…

I hurry on back… past a mile of  luxurious beach homes… and finally the castle comes back into view… I take picture or two of the ruins down below before scrambling through the brush up the side of the hill.

I’m not alone in the castle—obviously folks are using some of its chambers for squatting or for free beachside camping… my Safety Sense is tingling—but my obsession with exploring this castle overrules…

It was once a miniature city in here—there’s even an abandoned mosque inside… and the main gateway has a beautifully detailed Andalusian style… I’m sure there’s a lot of history to this place… And totally unnoticed by the tourism industry!

I notice that many beachgoers heading home are hiking right through the castle compound—so I figure I’ll follow them to see where they’re going.  Apparently there’s some connection to the city from the top of the hill.

I reach the outer gate of the castle—too late, it’s just been closed.

  It’ll be a long hike to go out and around through the other end.  Some of the other guys are climbing up and scaling down the walls.  I feel a bit uneasy about the idea, especially carrying a knapsack plus a guitar—but when I see a little kid scale the wall, I know I can’t chicken out or I’ll lose my manhood… So over the wall I go…

Outside the wall, there’s a whole nother “Mehdi” town—and a magnificent view of the Kenitra Bay, the port, the city…

Truly, this day has been redeemed…

I catch another grand taxi back down to Kenitra, where I hop off at the boardwalk along the bay where I discover a whole new side of Kenitra that I didn’t see on my last visit.  Last time all I saw was a the rather scruffy and drab old part of town.  Now in the new part of town, there’s the boardwalk… long shady boulevards with trendy shops and cafes… A true metropolis…

I loiter as long as I dare before hopping on to the last train to Casa…

It’s been a cool couple of days… exploring the gritty and the glorious sides of North Morocco…

End of Episode 08


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Mehdi Plage
photo by: nathanphil