Rabat

The next day was a long drive to Rabat,

Ovens at a roadside stop

Ovens at a roadside stop

Tagines cooking to be ready for the lunch crowd at the road side stop

Tagines cooking to be ready for the lunch crowd at the road side stop

the political capital of Morocco. I loved seeing the storks and their nests atop buildings, walls, and towers there as well as in Marrakech. We walked through a gigantic graveyard

The cemetery was vast. It goes all the way to the top of the hill there.

The cemetery was vast. It goes all the way to the top of the hill there.

Cemetery headstones

Cemetery headstones

(I can’t remember ever seeing one in Kuwait, or any of the other Middle Eastern countries I’ve been to so far) and then along the seaside to a restaurant overlooking the beach.

The coastline in Rabat.

The coastline in Rabat.

Lunch overlooking the beach.

Lunch overlooking the beach.

The Moroccan coastline is very rocky,

Very rocky coastline!

Very rocky coastline!

but there are small spaces (probably manmade) where there is sand and traditional beach activities could occur – though it was very windy and cold.

Small sandy area where people were having picnics, walking dogs, play soccer, and eventually a surf school came and were teaching/learning to surf.

Small sandy area where people were having picnics, walking dogs, play soccer, and eventually a surf school came and were teaching/learning to surf.

Then we walked up to the ancient walled city

The walled city with a small cemetery at the foot of the hill.

The walled city with a small cemetery at the foot of the hill.

and through the Bab Oudaïa Gate

Gate to the walled city.

Gate to the walled city.

and walked around inside there.

Inside the walled city. I don't know the significance of the blue and white walls, but it was beautiful.

Inside the walled city. I don’t know the significance of the blue and white walls, but it was beautiful.

This is about how big the alley was that our riad was on.  This is in the walled city though.

This is about how big the alley was that our riad was on. This is in the walled city though.

We were shooed away from the mosque as it was near time for prayer, and many people offered to be our guide ($$). We wandered out and through a small garden.

Garden within the walled city. It was quite peaceful and beautiful.

Garden within the walled city. It was quite peaceful and beautiful.

Interesting flowers and one of the gardeners eagerly told me their names, one was either Angel’s Trumpet or Devil’s Trumpet, probably the latter.

Trumpet, of devils or angels, I don't know.

Trumpet, of devils or angels, I don’t know.

Giant poinsettia, of which there were many

Giant poinsettia, of which there were many

So delicate and beautiful.

So delicate and beautiful.

Everywhere we went in Morocco there were orange trees loaded with oranges. Many cities had them lining the streets. We were told these are not sweet oranges for eating, but bitter oranges from which essences, perfumes, etc. are made.

Our place in Rabat was called a riad, or ryad. This is a house, or palace with an interior garden or courtyard.

Sitting in the courtyard and looking into the kitchen at our riad in Rabat

Sitting in the courtyard and looking into the kitchen at our riad in Rabat

Looking directly up while sitting in the courtyard, which is open to the outdoors

Looking directly up while sitting in the courtyard, which is open to the outdoors

They are frequently open air above the courtyard garden and have a water feature. This acts sort of like air-conditioning as the hot air enters, passes over the water and is cooled. The walls are very thick as well, which insulates for both hot and cold. The inward focus with few windows supports the Muslim idea of protecting women from being seen. They are surprising in that when you stand at the door it looks small and sometimes even very rundown. Then once inside you are stunned by the expansive courtyard with rooms off to the sides and above, creating a peaceful and beautiful oasis right in the middle of a bustling city.

The dining room from the courtyard

The dining room from the courtyard

Doors to our room "La Confidente"

Doors to our room “La Confidente”

View from the rooftop terrace at the riad

View from the rooftop terrace at the riad

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ebhoel
    Jan 17, 2015 @ 12:59:35

    We really enjoy reading all about your travels and seeing your photos, too! xoxo Ellen and Ed

    Reply

  2. Karen
    Jan 17, 2015 @ 14:51:37

    i continue to marvel at your extraordinary sense of adventure. You are truly living your life! I am a homebody by comparison and am living vicariously through you and your travels. Thank you for sharing photos. I was amazed to read about the storks… for some reason I thought that was a thing of the distant past!

    Reply

  3. adriannderson
    Jan 18, 2015 @ 20:51:38

    The walled city reminds me of the ones we visited in Spain. So beautiful!

    Reply

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