The last outpost – Rabat

1st May 2008

Woo Hoo!I finally got to see some ruins today ! Ok I’ll calm down and tell everyone what I did today.

Today I decided to get out of Casablanca and visit the capital Rabat. On my way down to Casa Voyagers train station, I noticed some kind of festival was going on, where all the people were holding signs.

I got on the train and went off to Rabat, I got in Second Class with everyone else this time and the train encountered mechanical problems and sat in the middle of nowhere for ages. I finally got into Rabat and realised that they were having the same festival there. There were people marching and chanting in the streets and people selling balloons.

I noticed little until I walked past a McDonalds, the first I had seen in Morocco and rushed inside to get a Big Mac! I sat in there and watched the parade of hungry tourists flock in one after the other, longing for a decent feed and smiling to myself, before I decided, I’d go march in the parade. I soon found out later, it was a protest, I must have looked real silly walking along taking pictures and smiling. I’ll bet all the locals were thinking “Stupid Tourist!”

Exploring Rabat
Exploring Rabat
The gardens of Chellah, near Rabat
The gardens of Chellah
Salaa Colonia Rabat
Salaa Colonia

I decided to visit the medina, which was even worse than the one in Casablanca, before I decided to attempt to get to Sala Colonia, the last outpost of the Roman Empire in North Africa, which is on the outskirts of Rabat. I made the 3km walk with no problems and even managed to visit the small archaeology museum on the way. I got to the site, which is completely walled and paid to get in and was just about the only one there, just how I like it.

I saw the old bath house and the Agora and the view of the plains of Morocco is just to die for from this place. The ruins are all overgrown, almost like a jungle and it was a wonderful break from the hustle and hassle of the cities. The unfinished mosque of Abu Al Hassan Ali, with its unfinished minaret topped by a stork’s nest. I explored the old mosque, which was especially deserted and went for a walk in the jungle like garden around it. The whole site is home to a massive colony of storks, and you can constantly hear them squawking.

I left Salaa Colonia, which the Moroccans call “Chellah” after the cemetery that is built over part of the ruins and got a little lost on the way back to Rabatville station. I got the train into Casa Port and went back to my hotel, far more impressed with Rabat than Casablanca.

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