Oualidia to El Jadida
Medina & Cistern
El Jadida to Casablanca
Looking for a Hotel….
Early bus from Oualidia at 7.15. It was barely light yet.
The bus ride was not really that interesting. The country side here is pleasantly green with some trees and cows.
El Jadida is an old town, known as Mazagan under the Portuguese in the 1600’s. The old Medina is UNESCO listed for its nice mix of Moroccan and European architecture.
We did not want to spend the night here, nor did we want to drag our bags around. So when we bought our bus ticket on, we checked our bags in already. Normally you cannot check your bags till half an hour before departure, but a few mandarins helped smooth things along.
El Jadida Medina is mostly the same as all the others we have visited. Big old walls, narrow alleyways and a lot of little dead end streets. The beautiful things here are the European influences and the colours for the houses. Besides white there are the many shades of yellows and reds.
A few churches remain, but have taken on new functions. Th lighthouse was even been converted to a minaret.
The main thing to see here is the Portuguese Cistern. A subterranean vault, where the ceiling and pillars are reflected in the thin layer of water left on the floor. It is stunning with the limited light that makes its way in. It was used as a film set in Orson Welles’ Othello. He also filmed in Safi and other places along the coast here.
We wandered the Medina a bit and stopped at the sea side. The view was good with the little boats, but the place was scattered with plastic and glass.
The fortifications here are in good condition and you can walk along the whole of the Medina on top of them.
We did a bit of it, looking over town and the coast. By about 14.00 we felt like we had seen want we wanted to and found a place in the sun, along the beach front, for a few games of cards. This way we passed our time till our five o’clock bus to Casablanca.
There we arrived after dark. You would not think finding a place to stay in Casa is that difficult.. but it is. Hotels are easy enough to find, but most of them were booked out, or extremely expensive. After walking around and stopping at about a dozen or so, we decided to go back to two hotels near each other that both had one reasonably priced room available. Off course by the time we got back there, they were gone.. Last option was the backpackers all the way in the Medina. We gave them a call and they did have room for four.
Dragging our bags along was not much fun, as parts of the streets in the Medina were ripped up and our trolley bags don’t work on loose stones. Carrying them we came across a different hotel so stopped to check anyway. Prices were ok, but four to one room, with one on a mattress on the ground. With Anna and Andrew getting through a cold, sharing a room might not be a good idea. But after also checking the hostel, this turned out to be the best option.
Asking for extra blankets at bedtime was not appreciated though. We got the foulest attitude from the hotel manager, but eventually (after about 45 minutes and threatening to leave) we did get some blankets.
Turned in for a restless night.