Last week I wrote about how we went to Laayoune, Western Sahara and it was a total bust. Well the next day we found ourselves in Casablanca, which Humphrey Bogart made famous with such memorable lines as “round up the usual suspects”, “play it again”, “here’s looking at you, kid”, and “this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”. But Casablanca will have to wait until the next blog, because we got up and caught an hour and a half long train ride to El Jadida (you have to go to the Casa Port train stop in Casablanca to go there).
Why did we want to go to El Jadida? Well quite frankly it was because the old Portuguese walled city is a World Heritage Site and we wanted to check it out. Our reaction? It was a cool, old, walled city that we enjoyed walking around in, but if it is going to be a WHS then they should weed eat the brush growing on the walkway on top of the walls, pick up all the garbage, and have a small museum explaining the history and significance of the site.
The first thing to do when you are here is walk along the top of the wall (you can get about three quarters around the city this way). From here you can see the harbor (where locals love to swim and jump off the walls), down into the city, and a general sense of the size of the city.
The second thing to do is check out the cistern! This was both of our favorite thing that day. You go down one story and are in a huge room with columns, and a hole in the ceiling. There was two inches of water in the center of the room, so everyone was playing in the water and taking pictures with the sunlight coming down. I must admit it was a magical place.
After the cistern, you should just spend some time wandering through the streets and looking at the wares of the vendors. When we were up on the wall we did find an old Portuguese church in one corner, but once down in the maze of the city we could not figure out how to get there. We felt like rats in a maze and LOVED it! We found some wonderful, out of the way streets (really more of a walkway since the main streets were more like alleys ????) that had some gorgeous facades and doors. In a very quiet corner of the city we stumbled upon a hammam (Turkish bath). This was such a local place that everything was written in Arabic and we did not realize the one we looked in was the woman’s side……until the lady in there started yelling at me to get out. I bet you can imagine how quick I scurried after that. Haha.
El Jadida was well worth a three hour round trip train ride (and a total of $20-22 for two) even if it needs to be cleaned up a bit since it is a World Heritage Site. We even had an hour to wander around outside the old walled city, but most of that is simply shops selling food, basic household goods, souvenirs, and junk which should just cleaned up by a Sasquatch Junk Removal Seattle company.