Rabat, Morocco

I normally post a blog on Fridays and a quote on Tuesdays, but I am switching things up this week due to some special visitors. Our daughter and son-in-law are arriving tomorrow from the states, and we will be busy showing them around Normandie. It has been one year since we’ve been together, and we are all very excited about spending time together in France. So today I will continue sharing our Moroccan adventure.

Rabat, the capital of Morocco, a 90 minute drive from Casablanca, is a modern city and home to approximately 550,000 residents. The city has many parks, gardens, boulevards, monuments, beautiful homes, and has the UNESCO distinction of being a modern and historic city.

The city is the home of the royal family, with their residence being the Royal Palace of Rabat. The current palace was built in 1864 on the ruins of the original palace. The area is quite large and contains gardens, a mosque, and is a gathering place for public assemblies.

Hassan Tower is another interesting place to visit. Construction began in the 12th century with the intention of being the largest mosque in the world; however, it was never completed. Commissioned by Yaqub al-Mansur, construction on the partially completed sandstone minaret and 348 columns came to an end when he died in 1199.

Hassan Tower

Kasbah of the Udayas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was featured on the silver screen when Tom Cruise, being chased by the bad guys, drove a BMW down the stairs in a Mission Impossible movie.

Its location on the mouth of the River Bou Regreg and the Atlantic coast, made it ideal for defending the city from pirates and other invaders. Ironically, it was once a shelter for pirates. Built in the 12th century and refurbished multiple times over the years, today it houses trendy cafes and shops. You will find lovely views of Bou Regreg Estuary here with the Atlantic in the distance.

Here you will also find Jardin des Oudayas, an exquisite and beautiful garden filled with fruit trees, flowers, and lots of families and couples strolling and enjoying this inviting oasis in the city.

My Moroccan experience is somewhat limited (last week I wrote about our adventure in Agadir, you can find that post here), but what I saw was sadly overshadowed by extreme poverty and numerous stray animals. This woman was rummaging through garbage in a vacant lot. There were also some stray dogs and puppies in the same location.

I saw this donkey standing alone on a sidewalk near some nicer homes. Its ribs clearly visible, with absolutely no one around. I can only imagine that it was a stray.

These images (and more) made me think of this Anthony Bourdain quote from his book, Around the World on an Empty Stomach:

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.


23 thoughts on “Rabat, Morocco

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  1. What is the drink shown in the picture? It looks like it is heavily minted tea. I loved the pictures and was amazed at how green everything was (is that seasonal?). My dad was stationed in Morocco for a year and that and movies have always given me the impression that it is more desert like. It looked positively inviting.

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  2. This is my favorite blog!
    I felt exactly what your words gave picture to. Then the photos….I’m compelled to do more search on the Moroccan history. The quote!!! At then end is one I will ponder on, thanks for traveling to Morocco and sharing!!!
    ♥️ Yeah For traveling family!!!

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  3. Wonderful and exotic photos–as well as those that show the other reality. All evocative and showing moments of beauty and of sadness. The Bourdain quote is incredible–and quite perfect for this particular post. Enjoy every special moment with family — all moments of sheer joy!

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    1. Thanks Shirley; it was difficult to see the poverty and strays, but it was a beautiful place to visit. A&J are close to boarding their flight to Paris; can’t wait to see them! Thanks for your comments, I greatly appreciate your support.


  4. A place of contrasts, gorgeous and then hard. Somehow that poor donkey really got to me…

    Oh how excited you must be to hug Alexis! Have a wonderful time with them!!

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  5. Though I have not read the book, the quote is familiar to me. It is absolutely true that travel is sometimes devastating and it is important, I think, not to run away from all the sadness and deprivation that are part of so many places. A cafe full of stray cats would be my choice stop as well. Hassan Tower is an interesting site with all the incomplete columns, and the garden is gorgeous. Enjoy the time with your daughter.

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  6. I’ve actually never been to Rabat before, despite having visited Morocco almost six years ago. Gorgeous city with incredibly-intricate architecture, though– I’m sure you had a blast!

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  7. Rabat seems like a very interesting city and the Jardin des Oudayas looks really beautiful! I also love the quote you shared at the end, and it reminded me of some of my trips were I had to witness heart-breaking things, where I wished I were able to change the world and let everyone live a decent and good life. But it’s all part of travelling at it is also what makes us grow and change.

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  8. Rabat is a beautiful city – greener than I expected – and so much to see. I really like your garden photos (and the beautiful doors). And yes, seeing people (or animals) suffer always leaves a lump in my throat … travel has definitely changes my way of thinking (and living for that matter) – thanks for sharing the quote.
    On a happier note, enjoy the time with your daughter and son-in-law!

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  9. Aw I hope you have the best time with your daughter visiting, how special. And that quote at the end got me – loved Bourdain and was so sad when he took his own life. He is gifted with words and connecting with people and that quote does that. So sad to see the side of Morocco that is poverty and suffering, but I’m glad you saw some beautiful parts too.

    Liked by 1 person

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