I decided I wanted to visit Morocco and was going to go to Marrakech until I was told to try out some surfing from a friend. They recommended African Spirit as they had booked with them so I did too and I can't recommend them highly enough. The whole experience is something that I will never forget. I like to think by the end of the trip I was able to surf reasonably well! There is also a lot more to do other than surf but I would definitely recommend giving surfing a try, it is good fun!
A huge, hulking presence in downtown Casablanca, it's more like a 'block' than a building. The architect, Paul Tournon, carries on his lifelong love affair with reinforced concrete here to inspiring effect. It's free to enter (when it's open), but you have to part with a few dirhams to see upstairs.
The ground floor is amazing enough, though. If you'd ever wondered what a cathedral looked like with all the ornamentation taken out, this is the place for you. In a city short on sights (discounting Hassan II Mosque), it's well worth a detour.
Google map: bit.ly/b1DPeu
Got to Casablanca by train - first class from Marrakesh cost a couple of quid more than second and is well worth it. Stayed at Hotel Galia, great spacious rooms, clean, cheap and the hotel manager is lovely and really tries to help you. Computer with internet free to use downstairs too. Went to Rick's, food fantastic though not the cheapest! Hassan II Mosque very very impressive!
Le Pilotis is a bar/restaurant on the Corniche with wonderful views of the sea. Le Corniche is a beach promenade 5km west of Casablanca.
Le Pilotis was a complete contrast to what we saw earlier in the day in the medina of Casablanca and would not look out of place in Marbella. It is where the 'beautiful people' of Casablanca come yet to our UK pockets was not that expensive. It's fascinating to watch these people and there's wine and mediterranean food as well as some good music.
Plenty of seafood restaurants out here in the Corniche but one place we'd recommend is Le Pilotis.
Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca
[5km west of the town]. Grab a red petit taxi which will set you back about 50 dirhams (c. £3.50).
The Cathedrale du Sacre Coeur on Boulevard Rachidi is an example of an art deco church. Designed in the 1930s, it is all the more remarkable when you consider that Casablanca is in an Islamic country.
Unfortunately when we went there the church looked like it had been long closed. On Avenue Hassan II there is an Art Deco post office where even the letterboxes are tiled.
Cathedral - on Boulevard Rachidi off Ave Hassan II
Post Office - Avenue Hassan II
OK... the famous 1942 movie Casablanca wasn't filmed in Morocco but on a Hollywood set.
However this bar/restaurant was based on the original set designs and really makes you believe you are sitting where Bogart ran his 'gin joint'.
A former US diplomat Kathy Kriger is behind this enterprise.
And yes... the pianist does play 'As Times Goes By'!
248 Boulevard Sour Jdid
North-western edge of medina
Just outside medina walls - easiest way to get to Rick's is to walk the Boulevard des Almohades between the port and the medina walls.
We travelled from Casablanca to Marrakech on second class tickets. Very crowded and some people had to stand in corridors during the three-hour jouney.
In hindsight we should have booked first class tickets a day or two before. First class does not cost that much more (Train fares are very cheap compared to UK fares). When we bought our tickets on the day of travel, the first class tickets were sold out.
Casablanca Voyageurs station
Buy an ACCURATE city map from Librairie DSM, which should set you back around 45dh (£3). The one from the tourist office is free, but very poor. Or ask a taxi driver for the district you require - and always insist on the meter (tho' if they refuse to set it, you only have to pay the minimum fare of 7dh, no matter how far they drive).
219 Blvd. Mohammed V
For the best shopping, head for the Marif district (for reasonably priced, local stuff) or Boulevard D'Anfa for all the up-market European designer shops (with prices to match, European prices with no discounts!).
For either of these places just jump into a (red) petit taxi and ask, neither is more than the minimum fare (7dh) from the centre.
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