Shopping in the Souk - Rabat, Morocco
Continuing on with our first full day in Morocco...
After exploring the Blue City under the hot African sun, we set off for one of Rabat's iconic sites: Mausoleum of Mohammed V.
We stopped for a quick pick-me-up along the way!
These tall walls made of red sandstone protect the property where the Mausoleum and Hassan Tower are located.
These very friendly guards watch over the entrance to the grounds.
This structure (currently undergoing a renovation via scaffolding) is the Hassan Tower. It is actually part of a mosque that was never completed. It is made of the same red sandstone as the outer walls, and actually does not contain any stairs on the inside! Only ramps, with the idea that one could ride his horse to the top of the tower for the call to prayer.
This building below with the green roof is the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. This is a more modern building, having been completed in 1971. Inside, it holds the tombs of the previous Moroccan King and his two sons.
Once again, we were charmed by the beautiful architecture of Morocco!
Here's a closeup of that mosaic beauty!
This is the stunning interior of the mausoleum, with the king's remains in the forefront and his sons' behind him. We happened to walk in while a prayer was being read aloud from The Quran.
Gosh, this place is just beautiful. The detail that went into the construction is outstanding!
From the peaceful mausoleum, we headed to the bustling maze of the Souk in the heart of the Medina (Rabat's city center).
Here you'll find locals doing their everyday shopping for food, clothes, and anything else you can imagine. The Souk stretches down the main street with small shops and carts located on each side, and then these narrow alleyways branch off further into the depths of the Medina.
It's a shoe lover's dream here in Morocco! These traditional shoes come in any color you can imagine, and cost only about seven dollars. And did I mention, they're REAL LEATHER!!
I brought back one of these tea pots to try and brew my own Moroccan mint tea... for only 50 dirhams (that's 5 dollars).
Sadly we were not able to rescue all of these guys.
So long, Souk! Well... for now. We ultimately made two more shopping stops here before we left.
Back to our wonderful hotel that is located on this side street.
I cannot emphasize enough how thankful I am to have had Elaina as a translator and Moroccan culture guru during our time spent there. This girl speaks both French and Arabic AND was lucky enough to stay on in Morocco to continue her studies! Thank you Elaina!!
During the day, we had met a group of German women who were traveling together. They recommended this traditional Moroccan restaurant called Dar Naji, and we took them up on the suggestion. (Funnily enough we were seated directly next to them at the very restaurant!)
The interior is absolutely stunning and just exudes Moroccan culture.
I was equally excited and nervous to try authentic Moroccan food for the first time. With Elaina's suggestions, we (she) ordered tajine viande aux piunes (beef with prunes in a flavorful sauce -- to the left), chicken pastilla (chicken and almonds wrapped in a doughy, crunchy shell and topped with cinnamon YUM! -- in the middle), and tajine kefta (beef meatballs cooked in a tomato based sauce with a fried egg on top -- right bottom dish).
Our meal was finished with, you guessed it, mint tea! And the waiters here pour it in the traditional way...
I'm really not a tea person, so it surprised me by how much I loved this drink!
As the steam from the kitchen slowly filled our mystical Arabian dinner place, we heading back out into the night for our thankfully short walk back to the hotel.
Next up: exploring ancient ruins! How are y'all liking Morocco so far?