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Tangier to Rabat - Monday, 25 July 2016

Visit the Caves of Hercules where you can view a reversed map of Africa carved out of the cave walls by the ocean.

sunny 31 °C

Hotel - The Villa Mandarine Rabat - Room 12

Had a good night's sleep even though we didn't get to bed until midnight. These "mediterranean" hours are killing us, especially when we have to be up early on the bus. However, for our Morocco trip, it is just Phil, me and Abdou who at this moment is now 15 minutes late (and counting)!

My mobile rang at 4.00 am. I keep forgetting to turn it off. I heard the call to prayer at some time in the early morning and Phil coughing and spluttering, but all in all, had a good rest. Windows wide open and a gorgeous breeze blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean.

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Sunrise at about 7.30 this morning.

We had breakfast in the same courtyard where we had dinner and it was cool and lovely. I had fresh fruit and dates and a crunchy pancake with honey. Very Moroccan and nos nos coffee (which is basically milky coffee). Some photos of the staff uniforms.

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After breakfast we decided to pack down and put our Moroccan clothes into our carry on and back pack so we can leave our big suit cases in the car for the next ten days.

Phil paid our drinks bill. Large bottle of water was 7 aussie dollars and the beer was 6 dollars and two glasses of wine at dinner was 22 dollars! The water is dearer than the beer but in this part of the world, water is power.

Abdou turned up at 10.25 am - we are on our way to Rabat.

We owe Abdou an apology though he didn't know we thought he was late. No one told us to put our watches back an hour so in fact, he turned up half an hour early and was hoping to have his nos nos before hitting the road but because we were sitting in the foyer, he loaded the car and off we went.

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On reflection, the pilot did mumble something yesterday as we were landing but neither of us heard or understood what he said. There are no clocks in reception and none in our room and for some strange reason, my mobile didn't change it's time either (still hasn't and I can't seem to do it manually).

So, off we went through the streets of Tangier to the lighthouse where we took some photos. We passed some camels on the way. No, said Abdou, they are dromaderrys - only one hump. You learn something new every day!

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Then we visited the Caves of Hercules where we saw a reversed map of Africa, carved out of the cave walls by the ocean. The caves were damp and cool but outside it is very hot with that gale force wind blowing again. Apparently it blows all the time in Tangier.

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On the road to Rabat which is about 220 kms away. The landscape is quite green with plantations of fir trees!! I know, what are fir trees doing growing in a place as hot and dry as Morocco but Abdou tells us they grow them to make forrests! There are also plantations of cork trees and there is prickly pear everythere. He says they eat the fruit and make an oil from the plants, which is very expensive - 1000 Euros a kilo. I couldn't make out what the oil is actually used for but it must be good at that price.

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We stopped along the way at a most grotty service station where Abdou had his nos nos, so Phil and I had one too. It is quite strong but it was nice to break the journey and get out of the car. We are the only strangers in the place.

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There are police everywhere along the roads, checking rego, speed, seat belts. Abdou is a good driver and doesn't speed.

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We arrived in Rabat and Abdou took us down to the coast for lunch. It is windy and humid but it was quite pleasant sitting on a balcony overlooking the sea, eating our lunch. I had a Caprese salad and Phil had calamari and a beer. The restaurant was called the Borj Eddar.

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This is a huge cemetery just near our luncheon place. They are not very well maintained and have lots of weeds and high grass growing all over them.

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Then off to our Riad, which is situated in a very nice area. We drove through the Embassy Belt and around a couple of corners and here we are in our own little paradise. It is just beautiful. It smells SO nice. We have a lounge room, a bedroom, a dressing room, a bathroom and a separate toilet, our own terrace and "back garden". There are peacocks wandering around everywhere.

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It is hot and humid so we are going to have a swim.

The pool was just lovely and the swim was just what we needed to cool off.

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We wandered down for dinner at about 8.30 pm and I was surprised to see so many people there. They usually don't start until we are leaving at about 10 pm.

Our evening meals have been prepaid and so far, we have had a great selection of food. Tonight Phil had vegetable soup and I had goat's cheese salad with honey and sesame; for main I had fillet of fish with vegetables and Phil had steak and mushrooms and received a surprise when it came out on a bed of pasta; and for dessert I had orange salad with cinnamon and Phil had sorbet.

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It was very pleasant sitting under the Moroccan skies, sipping wine and enjoying the warm evening temperature with a slightly perfumed breeze while Canberra is freezing. The owners of La Villa Mandarine have planted lots of highly perfumed plants in the garden so there is always the most delightful fragrance permeating the buildings.

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I love this place!

Posted by gaddingabout 14:40 Archived in Morocco

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