We left Essaouira yesterday morning headed for an overnight in Casablanca before we moved on to Lisbon.

W asked the driver if we could take the coastal route rather than the inland highway. He said yes, and that it would even be better for him. But: “Not today.” There were heavy rains Friday night and they knocked out some of the bridges on the coastal route. We thought he might have been stringing along the tourists, but we saw plenty of evidence of hard rains on the inland route we ended up taking. Water had clearly swamped some of the roads we drove yesterday. We were in and out of rain most of the trip. The trip from Essaouira to Casablanca took 5 hours with one short stop. We travelled through varied terrain and through varied economies, some of which were better than others. Some of the land was rich and covered with grapes and fruit trees. Other parts were good only for growing more rocks. A lot of the country we saw was as empty as New Mexico. There were only a few small towns on the way and they were, for the most part, poor based on the condition of the roads, storefronts, and houses. Despite what we would call being “poor,” one thing about Morocco will stick with us: the children were universally happy and so were many of the other people we saw.

By the time we got close to Casablanca the rain had settled in. That made the chaotic traffic in the city even more interesting. We ended our Morocco stay with another evening at Le Doge. We had a very nice room and despite the lift not working, managed to make to the 5th floor under our own power. I may have written something a couple of weeks ago about a less-than-satisfactory meal at Le Doge, but this time we had a very good in-room dinner. Morocco went off daylight savings time this morning. The desk clerk insisted that meant that our plane would leave an hour earlier than it said in our schedule. No amount of talk would convince her that the time change was already taken into account by the airline. So the hotel insisted that we had to leave an hour earlier than we thought.

It turns out that was a good thing. We had several adventures checking our bags and getting through immigration. Add to that that we tried to get on the wrong flight—due to an unfortunate lack of signage and non-existent help from the Air Maroc staff—and we needed the extra time.

The flight to Lisbon is not much over an hour. We arrived to very nice weather and had a short drive in from the airport. Our hotel is well-located and we quickly unpacked before heading outside late this afternoon. We decided to get on one of the hop-on, hop-off tour busses and did not even really care which one we caught since all of Lisbon is new to us. We saw some of the development along the Tagus River. The Portuguese launched expeditions from there in the late 1400s and 1500s. Now sections of the riverside are trendy restaurants with historical buildings as a backdrop. We won’t be able to see much of Lisbon in the very limited amount of time we have, but we certainly enjoyed the 2.5 hours we spent on the bus tour today.

I didn’t get many pictures because the bus was in motion, but here are a couple to whet your appetites for tomorrow’s installment.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.