a stop through casablanca


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we spent less than twenty four hours in casablanca - it was really just a stopover for us on our way from marrakech to fes. but we were so glad we were able to see the hassan ii mosque - it is absolutely spectacular. we got into casablanca in the evening, slept over, and then were amazed by the views from our hotel room looking towards the one of the world’s largest mosques and towards the wide open sea! we spent a couple of hours at the mosque and then hopped on a train to fes. 

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^^ i love that tile so much, and i love my travel companion so, so, so much! he matches my pace perfectly, is so patient with my endless picture taking, loves interacting with and learning from people from all walks of life, appreciates beauty and fascination of all kinds, and is always up for pretty much any adventure. ^^
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the mosque is huuuuuge. mindblowingly big. over 100,000 (!) worshippers can gather here for prayer (25,000 inside and more than 75,000 outside on the grounds). ^^ here’s a pic of me (and baby) and another of some random fellow tourist — for scale! ^^
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our favourite part of the tour we took of the inside of the mosque was the washing room in the basement. ^^ it is so, so vast, and it is amazing to imagine it with all the fountains running and worshippers washing. 
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the mosque was built right on the ocean - it was nice to feel the sea breeze as we strolled around the grounds. we tried to walk along the coast to catch a view of the mosque with the ocean (like this picture) but that was a total fail - ha! they are building a new boardwalk along the seaboard (which looks like it will be really cool, btw!) so there was just loads of construction. this picture was the best we could get:
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and then we headed to the train station and hopped on another train! the scenery on the journey was (surprisingly!) gorgeous - so so green! 
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next stop - fes! 

marrakech, part two


adventures in marrakech, continued —>
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we woke up early on sunday morning and took a cab to jardin majorelle outside the medina. we heard the crowds got big so we wanted to be there early and we ended up being the very first people inside after the garden opened! this place is pretty magical - cacti from all over the world, the most vivid blue paint you can imagine, an artist’s studio restored and used by yves saint-laurent. we had a peaceful thirty minute stroll around … before the tour buses arrived!
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^^ yves saint-laurent created a valentine’s card every year to send to his friends around the world, and there was a little display of them in the garden grounds. i love them! ^^
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we walked back to and through the medina...
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…to another garden, le jardin secret. the plants and buildings and tile (!!!) there were gorgeous. but the best part was the views from the tower. check out those snow-capped atlas mountains! 
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some snapshots from continued wandering around the medina’s magnificent markets...
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^^ this isn’t a great picture, but i wanted to capture a mosque (with shoes left outside). there are dozens of mosques in the medina, so this is a common sight. ^^
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we went to el badi palace and enjoyed seeing the ruins now filled with orange groves, and the some more views to the atlas mountains from the top of one of the towers! 
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since there’s only one branch of our church in all of morocco, and it meets two hundred miles away from marrakech, we had our own little church meetings. we went through the sunday school lesson together in le jardin secret and had a little “sacrament meeting” (minus the sacrament but definitely including the hymns :) ) on the rooftop terrace back at our riad. 
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that evening, we went back to jemaa el-fnaa to eat dinner at one of the dozens of incredibly lively street food stalls. picking a place to eat is quite the feat - everyone is telling you their food is the best but it all looks exactly the same, ha! we ended up with a delicious meal and i just loved the atmosphere of it all. it was a really fun experience. 
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we spent the majority of our last day in marrakech buying things we’d decided we wanted from the markets. bargaining is always an adventure, and can be really fun for us. we tried to take in all the sensational sights and colours and smells and sounds of the markets, and also popped by the saadian tombs to take in a bit more iiiiiincredible tile and wood work. 
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and then we were off on a train to casablanca! 
marrakech, i love you forever!! such a special place … one i’m determined to go back to (especially when we have a home of our own to decorate!!!).