Thursday, October 28, 2010

El Jadida... A fortress by the sea

It’s very hard to describe Morocco in precise terms. For me it was very much of a feeling and I find it hard to put into words. Morocco is an ambiance, it’s a lifestyle. It’s 100% different in everyway from our North American way of life. It almost feels like I had been sucked into a movie and that everything around me was surreal. A mix of modern and traditional with a completely different language: Arabic (what that a majority of people do speak French) and a touch of Islam.

Because of our very short vacation time, we were only able to visit 4 cities.  My hubster was born and raised in Casablanc, so he has a particular attachment to this city and had 1 million things to show me. This is were we sent the most of our time exploring the hidden treasures  of the city. The great thing about visiting with a local (or ex-local) is that I didn’t feel like a tourist visiting only the things mentioned in the travel guides. I really feel as if I got a special tour accented with a very local twist.

We stopped by El Jadida to visit some family, and it was fully worth the drive down. El Jadida is a small city on the coast of Morocco, just south of Casablanca. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. For me, El Jadida is an old Portuguese fortified city, cafés on the beach and fishing nets.

Morocco is known for it’s storks. Once in a while, it comes as no surprise to spot the gigantic nests or the majestic white and black birds.

Remember… no trespassing with your horse and buggy!

The Portuguese built this fortified city in 1506 and baptised it Mazagan. It then became Morocco’s most important commerce spot. It was later claimed by the Moroccans in 1769 and was renamed El Jadida which means The New in Arabic. 

The old fortress also hold the Citern Portugaise which is a huge underground room which was used to collect drinking water. It’s impossible to capture the feeling of this place… indescribable!

Did I mention El Jadida is by the sea? Everyday men go out fishing in their small wood boats.

Thank God for the fisherman… YUMMY!

What’s the expression… when in Rome, do as the Romans. Well check me out in my Morrocan dress!

Moroccan pottery stold my heart. I must say that it is one of the hadcrafted things that impressed me the most. Look at all those colors!

Just a few kilometres away from the city are the gorgeous beaches of Sidi-Bouzid. The water was not as hot as I had expected though!

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