Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Marrakesh to Rabat train ride

This is the second post for today as we get ourselves up to date. If you missed it, you can go back and read the earlier post here.

We were up and out by 9:15am Friday morning and on our way walking to the Marrakesh train station. We had tickets for the 10:45am train to Rabat.

Along the way, we stopped for breakfast...

Egg tagine omelette with meat, fresh orange juice, 
bread, and mint tea for 25 dirham ($3.50 CAD, $2.65 USD)

Entering the train station and looking at the big signboard, we saw that our train was already at the platform. We had bought unreserved 2nd class tickets for 127 dirhams ($17.75 CAD, $$13.20 USD) each. Fortunately, we made it with lots of time to spare and got two nice seats in a fairly new car...and even facing in the right direction. Ruth hates traveling backwards!

We pulled out only 5 minutes late. Our car was pretty full, but there were still a couple of empty seats. 

Heading towards Casablanca from Marrakesh, there is not much scenery to speak of. In fact, it kind of reminded us of some of the farm fields in Saskatchewan. We took a few pictures, but the exterior of the window was very dirty...and there really wasn't much to see anyhow!

Is this Saskatchewan?

Sure looks like Saskatchewan to me.

Further along, they use prickly pear cactus as fencing. 
This is definitely not Saskatchewan!

As we pulled into the little towns along the way, our car quickly filled up. There were soon people standing in the aisle. And it was getting warm. It was supposedly air conditioned, and there was in fact a very little bit of cool air coming out the vents, but it just couldn't keep up. Plus, it was about 30C (86F) outside, with the sun shining in one side of the train. There were see through blinds, but I don't think they blocked much of the heat.

At one point, a young woman standing in the aisle just dropped. Fainted from the heat. A bunch of people jumped up to help and a young man gave up his seat for her. She was okay after some water and a bite to eat, but it was a bit of a scary moment. In all honesty, I think I would have passed out too. It was sure warm in there.

We never had to get up and use the toilets, so we're not sure what they're like. Kinda glad we didn't have to find out!

Overall, it was an okay journey in 2nd class, but if we had not had a seat it would not have been a good journey at all. (FYI, we have bought first class tickets to Tangier... more about that tomorrow).

Arrived in Rabat about a half an hour late. We had booked an AirBnb for 280 dirhams ($40 CAD, $30 USD) per night. Private room with private bathroom in a large apartment. The place had great reviews, mostly related to the hosts who were listed as only speaking French and Arabic.

Google maps didn't place the address right, and we ended up walking about two kms more than we needed to, but we were happy to be out of that train and walking.

First impressions of Rabat? It's much different from Marrakesh. Seems a little more modern, with a lot fewer women wearing the hijab (head scarf). It's the capital of Morocco, so maybe it's just a bit more progressive? Who knows. 

Found the correct address, but the listing at the bottom didn't have any numbers on it. Ruth went upstairs and I stayed with the bags in the lobby. About the same time that she found the right apartment, a fellow about my age came in the lobby door and said in French "you must be Kevin" and grabbed one of the bags and started heading up the stairs. Meanwhile, Ruth was calling down "Kevin, c'mon up"...and so I was in my way.

The apartment in huge. I mean, we have never been in an apartment building with an apartment this big. It takes up three floors. There's a massive "greeting room" they called it, and then another living room. Four bedrooms and three bathrooms. 

Our room for two nights.

Jamile and Mohammed are about our age and really friendly. But they speak almost zero English. So we were stumbling along in French. We could pretty much understand what they were saying, but we had a hard time putting more than three words together. Somebody mentioned Spanish, and all of a sudden they started speaking Spanish and it was like somebody flicked a switch and just like that we could communicate.


As we were getting to know each other, I noticed a photograph behind Ruth. It was a picture of the parliament buildings in our hometown of Ottawa, Canada, with a young couple standing in the foreground. It turns out that their son and daughter are both going to university in Canada... one in Ottawa and one in Montreal. Small world! So we had a lot to talk about, all in Spanish. Their Spanish isn't perfect, and either is ours... but at least we could all communicate.

Jamile is a language professor who teaches Arabic. We never did find out what Mohammed does, but I get the impression he's retired.

Nice people, and I think we'll enjoy our short stay here.

Remember that kayak we bought last fall? It's on sale again in the U.S.... great quality for the price!

Not quite as good of a deal in Canada, but we paid $99 last fall so this is not far off...


  1. You amaze us how you put everything together without ever being there before - you get from here to there no problem - find a nice place to stay - meet nice hosts - decent food - fun things to do - and within $$ reason. Gotta love it!!!!

    1. The kudos all go to Kevin, he does a fantastic job figuring it all out!

  2. Very nice trip except for the young lady fainting. Breakfast looks good and the countryside is like Canada where you work. I love the prickly pear fence...have to try that to keep the rabbits out of our garden. Can't wait to explore the capital....

    1. It really surprises us that more women don't faint on a ride like that, being all bundled up like they are. It definitely took this lady a long time before she started to look and feel better.

  3. You two must be tired of eating anything chicken-related or with chicken in it; you seem to have had so much of it. I've read that Morocco cooks prepare great lamb and lamb stew and possibly you could find a fish dish. However, I understand that Orthodox Muslims do not eat pork because they consider them scavengers, so you probably won't find much of that.

    1. No, we aren't tired of chicken yet, we like chicken. So far we haven't seen lamb/sheep on a menu, I am sure they have it but we haven't been to a restaurant yet where we have seen it. We have seen it at the butchers though! We have had beef though as well as a couple of vegetarian meals and I have made meals with both beef and chicken since we have been here. The only place that we saw some seafood was a the street food stall in the square.

      It isn't just Orthodox Muslims, it is all Muslims that don't eat pork. Haven't seen one single pig since we have been in the country, not even sure if you could buy it in the bigger grocery stores.

  4. Yes I agree I loved the lamb tagines!! Very tasty! This may be to late but watch out when you go to Chellah. The guys come up very friendly and start speaking English and walking with you and telling you stuff. Nothing said about a guide. At the end he wanted 125Dhr!! And he pestered us until we paid him 100Dhr! And of course the guy in the parking lot want 50Dhr!!

    1. We are going to have to keep our eyes out for a lamb tagines, I would love to have one.

      We actually missed Chellah, our feet had pretty much had it at that point. Those guys you are talking about are the ones that come across very friendly and follow you around and then get extremely aggressive wanting money, we have been warned about them, especially here in Tangier. We have been told that as soon as they start to follow you, you are to tell them NO and be very, very firm with them. Also saying "la shukraan" (No thank you), again firmly is suppose to work. Hopefully we won't come across any but we will be prepared for them. ;-)

  5. Oops guess it is to late since today is the 9th already!! 😁

    1. Yep, just a little late but thanks for thinking of us!

  6. Saskatchewan! We just finished a Canadian classic movie, "Who Has Seen The Wind". Great views of the prairies and rolling hills. Brought back memories. Nice province in my opinion.

    1. Now that we are living in Saskatchewan and have seen more of it we have to agree with you Chris, Saskatchewan is a nice province with lots of hidden gems. People need to get off the main road to really enjoy the province.


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