As part of our cruise in Spain, we headed down the north west part of Africa to the Canary Islands. In the area, the ship stopped off in Casablanca, Morocco. I had mixed emotions. First there isn’t really much to do in Casablanca. Since going, anytime I tell any Moroccan that I went to Casablanca, they consistently look at my funny and say “why?”. Marrakesh is a four hour drive and while we had time, I had no desire to get in a bus and sit for that long. We decided to relax and we would come back another time when we can do Marrakesh right. However, I was excited to be in Morocco and able to check Africa off my continent list.
Things to do in Casablanca
I did extensive research on Casablanca. I had maps, addresses, etc and researched places to eat and things to do. Then on the ship, there was a an advertisement for an excursion that took us to the Mosque and a City tour. At first I was a little annoyed with taking an excursion because I had (thought) I did my research. Well, let me say this… if you think you are just going to walk around Casablanca and check out the sites, you might find yourself very tired, lost and frustrated.
I am glad we took the city tour because we had this wonderful woman tour guide. Tours are essentially made or broken by the guide and she was a star! A spunky woman who carried a cane around with her and I swear she was ready to use it.
Anyway, we drove around the city and stopped at the Mosque and a few spots in the city. The Mosque tour was fabulous and was one of the highlights of the whole trip. However the city tour was really just of the city.
Kindness and Olives
As we were walking around the city with the tour guide we were really getting frustrated as it was just a city. I started regretting that we didn’t go to Marrakesh and do some serious shopping. Then we walked in the area of the market where there were tons of vendors selling the most amazing olives I have ever seen. The variety and smell was overwhelming. I was in heaven seeing this.
The currency for Morocco is dirham. We had none. We took the tour because everything was included so we wouldn’t have to exchange money. This area was a proper market where it was cash only.
We asked one of the sellers if they would take credit and he didn’t speak English or Spanish. The tour guide was leaving. The hubs and I really wanted to experience these olives. We showed him Euros. He didn’t take them.
Then this gentleman did something so kind I will never forget it. He grabbed a bag and filled it up with olives for us. We tried to explain that we didn’t have money to pay and he clearly understood. This was his gift to us.
I’ll never forget the experience. Us trying to fully appreciate the culture and he understanding what we wanted. We didn’t need words.
He gave us enough that when we finally found our bus (and a slightly annoyed tour guide) we were able to share the experience with those around us.
And those olives were like nothing I have ever tasted here.
Now, when I think of Casablanca and people ask me “why?” I reply “have you had olives there?”.