When I think of Casablanca, I think of the 1942 Humphrey Bogart movie. Everyone has heard of this city, even if they can’t necessarily place it on a map. When we were on our way there, my expectations were relatively high.
But first, we needed to stock up on vegetables. We passed a street market on the way there and stopped to take a look. I’m in love with the way Moroccans set up their produce stands; the colors and the feeling of abundance always give me the feels. Therefore I will take a million photos and post every. single. one. of. them.
As we arrived in Casablanca, I admit that I was kind of disappointed. It felt metropolitan; impersonal and characterless, with none of the joyful bustle and personality that, to me, usually saturates Moroccan cities. Granted, we didn’t spend much time here so it’s possible that I got a false first impression, but I wasn’t inspired to hang out and walk around here at all.
But one thing did stand out, and that was the truly magnificent Hassan II Mosque, built on a small outcropping of land that juts into the Atlantic ocean. The blue of the tiles, the blue of the sky, and the blue of the ocean come together in the most perfect way. The structure is massive, and at 210 meters, the minaret of the Hassan II mosque is the highest in the world.
In Morocco, non-Muslims are generally not allowed inside mosques. Here, a rare exception is made. During certain times, visitors may pay to take a tour of the inside of the building with a guide. We were unlucky and arrived just as visiting hours ended, so we wandered about outside the building, taking in all of the intricate details of the patterns carved into the walls and painted on the tiles, the arches, the fountains, and the view of the blue ocean surrounding everything.
To get to the bathrooms, one had to walk down a flight of stairs and through this room, which is, I think, where people on their way to pray stop to wash their feet before going inside the mosque.
So despite Casablanca turning out to be less than what I hoped it would be, I’m quite happy that I came here. I will remember the way it felt to stand in the middle of this white and blue paradise for a long time.