Casablanca, Day 20: Right Back Where I Started
Casablanca Travel Blog› entry 88 of 92 › view all entries
After over 20 days and over 100 hours stretched over a period of 7 weeks, my tour of Casablanca is finally coming to an end. Here are the last couple of gems I was able to uncover.
161 Mohamed V East
Starting were I stopped off yesterday, I head north a short ways to an unexplored section of Mohammed V Boulevard. Not quite the fading elegance of the western section, it still has long arcades, and a number of mid size skyscrapers giving this area I real “big city” feel.
I reach a shady traffic circle, with one unoccupied bench in the middle.
Music Spot 81, Mohamed V East Traffic Circle, Rating: ****
A bit too quiet, I got run off by a shifty character… but the gardener was friendly…
162 Church Still in Use
Going up and down each side street, trying to milk this last section of town to the last drop, I come across another church.
163 The Port
I head down to the the Rabat Highway (now Boulevard F.A.R) once again, and hike past an enormous 5 star hotel that’s being built, one of the biggest single building constructions I’ve seen. Seems like a rather ugly neighbourhood for a 5 star-- but it is a convenient location for business travellers.
Across the street is the sprawling Casablanca Port. I guess it deserves a mention because after all, before the Tanger Med Port was finished a year or two ago, this was the lifeline of Morocco, bringing in goods from all over the world-- including a lot of wheat from the USA which insures that there is bread at a reasonable price on people’s tables.
Although this port has now been eclipsed by a very modern new port up on the Mediterranean, it still serves as a vital commercial link to the outside.
Nearby, outside another little nondescript church, I find another little plaza.
Music Spot 82: Belvedere Square, Rating: ****
Quiet spot except for the rowdy schoolboys heading through.
164 Casablanca Stock Exchange
Back on Boulevard F.A.R. is the beautiful Stock Exchange building. I spoke to a stockbroker/guitarist a few months ago and he told me that Morocco managed to avoid being directly hit by the global financial meltdown because it’s stock market is strictly for internal stocks, not international. I guess that turned out to be a smart decision…
165 More French Colonial Architecture
As I continue wandering up and down the side streets of Belvedere neighbourhood, I keep snapping pictures of more Old French Colonial Buildings-- as well as a few old traditional Moroccan style buildings.
Music Spot 83: Mohammed V Center Square, Rating: ***
On my second attempt, I manage to have a peaceful little session here.
166 Old Stadium
Right nearby is the old stadium which now is just used for practice.
167 Bar Row
I’m almost out of real estate to explore. I follow the street right behind Mohamed V, which turns out to be a “Bar Row”, lined with bars and nightclubs. A sort of ironic last minute discovery here in Casablanca.
168 CTM and a Senegalese Restaurant
I’m a stones throw from Bab Marrakech, the beginning and ending of my tour. But I still have one last little loop to do. I head back east one last time, up a side street past the CTM bus station. This is a more expensive bus line that I rarely use.
Around the corner is a pleasant little surprise-- a Senegalese restaurant! It’s probably catering mainly to Senegalese expatriates… but it sure would be nice to see Moroccans showing a bit more appreciation for their neighbors to the south and maybe coming to sample some Subsaharan dishes…
169 Hotel Row
Back around on Boulevard F.A.R., I pass a couple of Casablanca’s more prestigious hotels…the Sheraton, the Golden Tulip… this little strip here has a touch of modern class to it…
170 Ending where I started
And finally… I’m back where I started… at Bab Marrakech and Place Nations Unis, where all the extremes of Casablanca seem to converge.
It’s been a fun journey and with 170 discoveries I’ve proven my point… there’s a lot more to see in Casablanca than just the Hassan II Mosque. I love this city and I’ll cherish the memories of this 20 day expedition for the rest of my life.