September 7, 2002 – Luxembourg – Paris – Casablanca




At 7:10am, I am leaving Luxembourg for Paris in a Fokker 50. 50 minutes later we land in Roissy Charles de Gaulle, the airport is very quiet, it is certainly due to the Air France pilots strike. That’s a good thing because I am flying on an Air France flight !!! In fact, my original flight (9:35) was cancelled and I am scheduled on the one at 12:55. I warmly thanks to minimize the effects of this strike.


At the airport, I meet a French guy, Dominique, the boss of a trading company specialized in the sale of used civil engineering equipment to middle eastern and African clients. He is going to Casablanca for business and he knows well the country. So we will speak during all the time preceding the departure.


The flight to Casablanca was fine, we arrive at the Moroccan airport on time just after 2pm. All the process regarding the customs and the immigration is very quick. For French citizens and many others, no visa is required to enter the country. Dominique offers me the ride to downtown Casablanca. I am very happy with this situation, I will have time to take my marks in this country. Otherwise I would have tried to take the CTM bus or the train from Mohammed V airport to Casablanca.


Dominique will spend the 4 days at the Hyatt Regency located on United Nations square near the medina. It is not really the same range of hotels I will use during my stay in Morocco and I start reading the Lonely Planet edition to find a better solution for me. But Dominique offers me to stay in the suite he will take at the last floor of the building. I have a good feeling, so I accept the offer. We are at the 11th floor with an amazing view on Casablanca districts. I am very lucky to have met this guy. As he often comes in Morocco and especially in this hotel, he had a great discount on the price of the room (he got a cleaning problem in August while there for leisure with his wife). The view is absolutely great, we are facing the Hassan II mosque and the Atlantic Ocean behind. The suite is even bigger than my apartment in Luxembourg!! And the price is also one of the tops in Morocco (320 EUR the night, nearly all I will spend in Morocco for 3 weeks!!).


Hyatt Regency – United Nations square


Tonight I will sleep on the sofas with my own television. That’s great and not to bad for a first day there!!!


At 3:30, I just start the discovery of the city as I walk towards Hassan II mosque. It is such a big construction that it really dominates the whole city. To go there, I just enter in the souk and I lost myself in the city, I follow the shadows and the sky to the location. There is not a lot of people in the streets but it is normal as we are in the afternoon, people will be there at the end of the day as usual.


Casablanca and Hassan II mosque


Not far from the mosque, I find a téléboutique to phone home and leave a message saying that I found a boyscout for the night.


The mosque is really impressive when you stand next to the minaret or the doors. The esplanade is really huge and is covered with marble. The minaret is 200m high and the roof of the mosque can be opened to offer natural light to the prayers. Unfortunately the mosque is closed, I missed the last visit of the day at 2pm, I will come back here on my last day before flying back to visit this building.


Hassan II mosque



From the mosque I just resume the visit of the city by wandering in the streets to catch the atmosphere and the unique charm that spreads all over me. When I go back at the hotel, Dominique asks me if I want to come with him in the souks as he will have to deal with some guys for business purposes!! Omar, one of his contacts, invited us to eat pancakes while drinking the usual mint tea (chaï). Then we just wander in the medina meeting many people that I will not forget!!


We come back at the hotel where Dominique is supposed to receive a bag from one of his employees and we go back in the medina to finalize the deal. Business is business…




To end this first day in Casablanca, Dominique invites me to one of the best restaurant in the harbor area where we eat many excellent fishes with a nice Moroccan rosé wine. What a meal…


Then we go back to the hotel, I am a little bit tired and as I have my train to Rabat tomorrow morning, I prefer to relax on the sofa while watching the news. I am really dead and I fall asleep very quickly after the end of the news.


After a breakfast offered in Cairo by Gavin, the Scottish guy I met in the bus from the airport, this is a second nice meeting for the beginning of the journey.


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D1 : Luxembourg – Paris – Casablanca

D2 : Casablanca – Rabat

D3 : Rabat – Meknes

D4 : Meknes – Volubilis – Meknes

D5 : Meknes - Fes

D6 : Fes

D7 : Merzouga

D8 : Merzouga – Tinehrir

D9 : Tinehrir – Ouarzazate – Marrakesh

D10 : Marrakesh

D11 : Marrakesh – Imlil

D12 : Imlil – Toubkal refuge

D13 : Refuge – 4167m –Tizi Ouanoums

D14 : Tizi Ouanoums – Amsouzert

D15 : Amsouzert – Azib Likemt

D16 : Azib Likemt – Tacheddirt

D17 : Tacheddirt – Imlil – Marrakesh

D18 : Marrakesh – Essaouira

D19 : Essaouira – El Jadida – Tangier

D20 : Tangier

D21 : Tangier – Chefchaouen

D22 : Chefchaouen – Casablanca

D23 : Casablanca – Paris – Luxembourg




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Last update : December 2002

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