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March 12, 2017

Today we took a trip to El Jadida, a coastal town 100km southwest of Casablanca. The town is an old Portuguese port with a medina that is a UNSECO World Heritage Site. The town, previously called Mazagan, was controlled by the Portuguese from 1514 to 1769 until it was taken over by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah.

We started our tour at the Portuguese Cistern which was constructed in 1514 as a warehouse that possibly held armory before it was converted to a cistern in the 16th Century. The cistern was rediscovered in 1916 by the Moroccans when a shop owner was expanding his store and water came pouring through the wall.  The cistern collected water from the terraces when it rained. The damp cavern felt a little eerie, but the Gothic arches were quite lovely. Due to the reflections from the thin layer of water on the floor, many movies have been filmed here, including Orson Welles’ Othello.

After visiting the Cistern, we walked down the street to the Fortress of Mazagan. The star form of the fortress included walls eight meters high, ten meters thick, and a patrolling walkway that was quite wide.   We followed the path past old canons toward the busy fishing port and stopped to admire lovely panoramic views of the area.

From the fortress, we drove to the Mazagan Beach Resort for lunch and for the afternoon at the beach. This resort was spectacular. We joked we would have liked to stay here, and take a day trip to Casablanca. The property included a casino, golf course, spa, and a variety of restaurants and activities. We were treated to a fantastic buffet at La Cabane. The main buffet lined offered a variety of cooked entrees including tajines.  The side buffet displayed countless salads.  There was quite a selection of cheese.  The dessert bar was so pretty.  I particularly liked the sculpture made of chocolate!  We didn’t realize until after we finished eating, that we could have gone outside to the grill to get kabobs.  Make sure not to miss that!

After lunch, we walked down to the beach which was very windy and cold! Of course, it was unseasonably hot for two weeks except for our final day at the beach when the temperature dropped 20 degrees with the cold front that arrived. I sat in my puffy on the beach chairs as I watched the waves crash on the sand. Others laid covered in beach towels.  The smart folks found some chairs behind some glass that served as a nice wind break for a much more pleasant beach day.  I particularly liked these beach chairs. Each one had its own sunshade!

Soon we headed back to Casablanca for dinner at Cabestan, a fancy restaurant. We were seated upstairs with a view of the Atlantic. The service was similar to all of our other experiences…the food generally came before we could order a drink. We were served a salad and fish and a pastry for dessert. Don’t go to this restaurant without going to the restroom….particularly men. Very unique…the water of the toilet cascaded down the window, I’m told!

It was a nice final day in Morocco. Now we just have an 18 hour layover in Madrid tomorrow, before arriving back in the USA. What a good trip! ETB

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