109km El Jadida to Casablanca
We’ve been planning for weeks to avoid Casablanca (a city we found dirty and unattractive in the past, remembering it only for large slums between the centre and the airport) but we now realise that time is short if we want to meet a friend in Portugal and the coastal road through Casablanca is the shortest way there.
Today, we did just what we said we weren’t going to do and cruised right into the centre of the city. It actually wasn’t as bad as we’d expected. The coastal road led onto a nicely paved twinned highway, with a wide shoulder, which took us right by the medina where we found a hotel instantly. Easy peasy. Until we reached the old city area we could have imagined we were in any European capital, with swish car dealerships and fancy home decorating stores lining the road. The route to Casablanca was fairly unremarkable in terms of scenery, more agriculture and lots of villages, but no stunning sea views like we’ve enjoyed in recent days.
Our one adventure of the day was trying to find a well so we could have a little shower. We asked some children on a donkey, loaded down with water, where the well was (“fin l’bir”) and they pointed us towards some fields, so off we went down the track. Several people kept on pointing us in the same direction but we never saw the well and eventually no one seemed to know what we were talking about. Finally we asked two men coming from a home and they ran back into the house, coming back with a silver teapot full of water and a glass. Moroccan hospitality at its finest. It’s just too bad our language skills didn’t extend to explaining that we didn’t want anything to drink, we just wanted to clean up a bit. The water was quite salty and we struggled to drink it, but felt obliged to try as the men had gone to some trouble to get it for us.