Seven Days in the Land of Tajine, Djellabas, and Stray Cats
After a series of grueling flights, I finally arrived in Morocco last Monday. I came with no expectations, and its safe to say that I was more than pleasantly surprised. Through my jet lag-induced stupor, I was able to enjoy all Rabat (and Casablanca) has to offer.
Morocco is an assault on the senses in the best possible way. It seems that I encounter a new sight, smell, and taste every time I turn a corner. Such tastes include the warm and hearty tajine, followed by the ever-present couscous and sickly sweet mint tea. I had the privilege of having all three during my first week. As an aside, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the way tea is poured here- I find myself in awe every time I see it.
The first stop for the group was Chellah, or the Roman ruins. It was surreal to see such a fascinating part of history still standing. It was a wonderful learning opportunity, especially for someone with little to no prior knowledge of the history of Morocco.
Next up was the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. Dwelling on the fact that, indeed, this is where a well-known historical figure and his sons were laid to rest was almost too much to handle, as was the architecture.
After Mohammed V, the group travelled a ways to the quaint Kasbah of the Udayas. It’s
Mohammed V, the group travelled a ways to the quaint Kasbah of the Udayas. It’s hard to not immediately fall in love with the Udayas, and it rounded out our day trip beautifully.
Sunday came faster than anyone expected, and it was time to go to Casablanca. I will never forget the glorious Hassan II Mosque. In only six years, this architect’s dream became a reality, and quickly earned a spot among the largest mosques in the world- it holds an impressive 105,000 worshippers. The floor is heated in winter, and the roof opens in summer. Almost all of the materials used to build it came from Morocco. The images of this work of art will be burned into my mind for the rest of my life.
Okay, I’ll admit it- I was determined to get a djellaba as soon as I landed in Morocco. I had been obsessed with the idea of owning one since I knew of their existence. Luckily, there was a store by my house, and I purchased two- one of which I wore in Salé’s ancient madrasa. They are perfect for Morocco’s arid climate. I want to buy more as soon as I can.
Before coming to Morocco, I had always seen and heard of the hundreds of pairs of eyes silently watching passerby, but I never knew just how present they’d be. The cats of Morocco are a bit like the country itself- interesting, no stranger to chaos, and full of surprises. I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks hold.
By :Hannah Lynch