Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

While I was visiting Casablanca on a work trip, I took a walk in the late afternoon with my colleague Manja to see the city. One of the main highlights of Casablanca is the Hassad II Mosque, located on the edge of the city next to the ocean. Construction finished in 1993, so it isn't exactly an ancient building, but it is certainly impressive.

To arrive at the mosque, we crossed a large courtyard with the minaret - the tallest in the world - looming ahead. The expanse of the mosque and the weight of the minaret create a sense of grandeur. Then we went in close and saw the detail carved into each stone, door, and archway. Unfortunately, we couldn't go inside. We had only one headscarf between us and the mosque didn't appear open to visitors at the time. But the sun was warm and the smell of saltwater was carried on the breeze as we walked around the mosque.

Casablanca and Rabat

It's a cold Sunday in Amsterdam. I'm bundled in a sweater and sipping hot tea, trying to remember the warmth of the sun that I enjoyed last week during a work trip to Morocco. I spent most of my time in Casablanca, but took a train to Rabat for a meeting on Tuesday. Both cities were amazing. Bright colors, thick air, and a bustle of activity as people prepared for Eid al-Alha (the Feast of the Sacrifice).

My best part of the trip was the food. Each meal began with an array of dips and bread as an appetizer, which ensured there was never much room for a main dish. The craziest part was certainly the taxi rides, careening through the streets with people, cars, and horse-pulled carts coming from every direction and a driver screaming out the window. It was just a first glimpse of the country and I hope to someday return and visit the smaller cities and the countryside. Working with great people and getting local tips was a good start though.

And a few shots from Instagram. Clockwise from the top left: An Arabic stop sign in Casablanca, a morning view of Casablanca, a colorful lantern at Riad Zitoune, and a doorway to the medina in Rabat.