Imagine reading through The Economist prognosis for changes in 2018 while taking a train from Marrakech to Rabat, passing by Casablanca. At one point you come across a page with news on improvements to train system in Morocco. The note actually says that the new trains will be almost twice as fast as they currently are on a way from Marrakech to Moroccan capital… (sic!) Casablanca. At one point I was speechless. Was I mixing something, did I not do proper reading about the country I am visiting to the point as not to recognise the capital properly or, which was the least expected scenario, The Economist actually stated Moroccan capital wrong?
I ended up asking the silly question to locals and I was reassured that Rabat still is the capital of Morocco. Imagine the amazement. It was not because my attention to details skill manifested itself, but my second “Bible” – The Economist – could get such a small and important fact incorrectly. As it turned out, the internet is full of quiz pages on actual capital of Morocco. As there have been quite a few changes over the country’s history, (although Casablanca never competed) Marrakech, Fez, Meknes and Rabat have been interchanging quite a lot over the years.
As for the trip itself, one day in Rabat was long enough, as most of city attractions are a walking distance from each other. Staying over in Medina area, it is a walking distance to the Kasbah of the Udayas and nearby Andalusian Gardens, Hassan Tower and impressive Mausoleum of Mohammed V. My top of the visit however was Museum Mohammed VI of Modern and Contemporary Art displaying full of colours and contrasts works of moroccan artists. It actually shown a different, more elegant side of moroccan culture, somewhat similar to golden and silver lined paintings of Jaques Majorelle displayed in Marrakech YSL Museum.
On a more practical side, there are a few practical tips to using trains in Morocco that I find worth noting:
- If you want to buy the tickets first class, better do so in advance at least a day, as there is a great chance the places will be sold out. It might be true to travelling in any country, but I have never actually thought of it that much up until now.
- Sometimes trains leave sooner than expected and displayed. In my case it was 10 min sooner for no apparent reason and no one from train station staff could explain why.
- If you miss a train, without exchanging your ticket you can simply use it for next train taking the same route.
As for the rest, scroll down and see.