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Magical Morocco- Casablanca

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Morocco. Was there ever a place that conjures up more mystery, and intrigue than this country located on the northwestern shores of Africa?

My journey began in Casablanca which is known as the business center of Morocco. Now what I know it for (sorry, my American background is shining through!) is the movie of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. But you may be sad to know that this 1942 classic was never even filmed in Morocco, but on a stage set in Burbank California. Of course, that didn't stop some enterprising soul in the city of Casablanca to open up a "Rick's Cafe" built to look like the movie that people line up to eat in every day. In my opinion, go and take a picture, but it's pretty much a tourist thing and the locals stay far away.

But what is real is the 7th largest mosque in the world is in Casablanca and it is beautiful to behold. The Hasaan II Mosque is the largest mosque in Africa and it is stunningly beautiful. Stop in the visitors center and sign up for a tour of this mosque located on 22 acres near the lighthouse overlooking the Atlantic ocean.

It cost over $700M to build and depending on who you ask took 7 years to build. 105,000 people are able to worship at the mosque with 25,000 inside and another 80,000 on the grounds. There are balconies for the women and children to also participate. It was really spectacular.

And if you are looking for some spectacular food in a authentic location, you really should check out Dar Dada. This restaurant is housed in a charming old riad, and finding it is half of the charm. It's a few steps away from a park in the medina and you go down an alleyway and there at the end is Dar Dada.

As you enter the foyer, a man sits in the tiled entrance way and offers you Moroccan tea. The seating groupings are clustered into little nooks and crannies adding to the intimacy of the whole experience. And the food? Well the food was some of the best I had during my entire stay in Morocco. The lamb tagine had prunes and apricots to sweeten it. The cous cous and various pre dinner tapas were perfect for sharing. And what's not to like about Casablanca beer? I will suggest that you not try to order a mixed drink. Even the "reciped" ones on the menu weren't right. Stick to beer and wine and you'll be fine!

The surprising thing to me was that I thought Casablanca was going to be my favorite city in Morocco. Boy, was I wrong! It's a good starting or ending place due to the airport, but honestly, that's about it. Go for a day, see the Mosque, grab dinner and head out to find more adventures. They are definitely there.


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