Saturday, 16th November 2019
Today we travel from Marrackech to Casablanca by train. Marrakech Station is in the modern part of the city, as is our hotel. It is a bright sunny day so we decide to walk the 20 minute route to the station, straight along the wide, modern boulevard where the national flag predominates.
Along the route we pass many modern buildings all built in the same red rendered style, typical of which is the Royal Theatre.
The terminus station was built in 2008. It is clean, large, civilised and even has it’s own McDonald’s. This is the southern most point of the Moroccan railway system (ONCF).
Our train was on time. As we leave Marrakech, travelling north, we go through arid, desert terrain.
The journey to Casablanca is 138 miles long and is scheduled to take two and three quarter hours.
The line between Marrakech and Casablanca was originally built as a narrow gauge 600mm (2ft) railway in the early 1920s by the French.
Travelling by train allows you to relax, look out of the window and enjoy the views.
As you travel north more vegetation is visible as the land becomes less arid.
At one point Robert popped to the toilet only to see that many of the doors on the train were wide open. This is something that we have seen in India before, however, the trains there were travelling at a much lower average speed of 30mph in India, compared to 50mph in Morocco.
Arriving in Casablanca at the through station of Casa Voyageurs we were met by taxi drivers touting for business. This time we were not virgin travellers arriving at an airport so had a better understanding of the cost of Moroccan taxis. On the train Robert had thought “I’m prepared to pay 100MAD for the taxi”. On requesting a price to our hotel we were told “50”. Deal done! Should we still have haggled?
Morocco is a Muslim country, the consumption of alcohol is not allowed in the open air and is limited to a few bars. It is readily available in the hotels, but they do not always serve it on draft. It was therefore a welcome relief for Robert to find that there was a good, small, cheap bar selling Flag Special, on draft, close to our hotel: Bistro de Titan.
The only down-side was that smoking is still allowed indoors in Morocco and the couple next to us were getting through the Gauloises at quite a rate.
We chose to eat in the hotel this evening but found we were limited in our choice of venue as a large party had booked in and commandeered the main restaurant.