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Moroccan Musings - Chapter 1

by Bryony Webster |

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to go to Morocco.
It represented all my childhood imaginings of the Arabian Nights – Languishing in shimmering Palaces, with colourful, glinting Mosaics covering every surface possible. Walking through elaborate cactus and palm tree gardens, where mesmerised cobras dance to the sultry sounds of a Mezmar. Travelling through the starry sky on a exquisitely patterned flying carpet. Riding a Camel across a flaming desert adorned with a Scimitar and a flowing headscarf.

In a way this fairytale inspired Furbelow. I want to share the beauty and the mystery of the dream. So finally, we got it together to travel to the other end of Africa and actually experience it. I was worried I would be disappointed, but in so many ways Morocco was exactly how I imagined it to be. In other ways however, the reality was a lot harsher.
In the next couple of blog posts I will ramble on about my different experiences of Morocco.

Our first stop was Casablanca. The port city that was made famous by its namesake movie.
The only thing I really wanted to see there was the Hassan 11 Mosque. It was one of the most awe inspiring buildings I have ever seen. It is huge. It is impossible to describe how massive it is. It was surrounded by a beautifully paved courtyard. The strong sun reflected off the bricks, making everything shimmer. It is right on the sea so there was also a faint mist. It felt very fantastical and surreal. It ticked one of my dream boxes. As it was covered in the most incredible mosaic work.

What was weird, was that this golden mosque was surrounded by the poorest of the poor slums. We got lost in the slum on the way to the mosque and the dichotomy between the two was extreme. As South Africans we really should have known better. We basically followed our GPS right into one of the more dodgy areas of Casablanca, looking in every way like lost  shiny tourists. We put our heads down and walked really fast, using the 210m turquoise minaret of the mosque as our beacon.
Tourist tip here. Take a taxi to the Hassan 11 Mosque.
The city itself must have been beautiful during the early 1900’s. The art deco architecture is really incredible and everywhere. It has seen better days though. A lot of the buildings were very run down.  However I still found it very visually inspiring. We left Casablanca on a train to Marrakech feeling really excited about the eye candy to come…


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