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Review: Casablanca

City/Town/Region/Island

Casablanca, Morocco

Christmas in a muslim country

  • By SilverTraveller Riversiderouge

    61 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • December 2009
  • Wife

15 people found this review helpful

It’s not everybody’s idea of the place to be at Christmas, but when you have close family who live and work in the city, and you get the invitation, well, jobs a good un!

We flew from Newcastle to Heathrow to join the Air Maroc flight to Casablanca. Unfortunately the Newcastle flight was delayed so we had a mad rush to another terminal and even though we were very late checking in we were allowed on the flight even though there were more potential passengers than seats.

I think that this was more to do with the fact that we looked like a couple of old vulnerable Silver Travellers, and the Air Maroc staff felt sorry for us, bless them.

Four hours later we arrived at the Mohammed V Airport and waited patiently for our two large cases to appear. To cut a long story short, they didn’t. To be fair, this was to be expected, because there was no way our cases could have travelled as fast as we did across the Heathrow estate.

My sister in law drove us the 30 miles to her new apartment in Casa, with just the clothes that we stood up in, and we settled down as best we could, hoping that the cases would turn up the next day. It was the day after that they eventually turned up which meant another 60 mile round trip to collect them.

Trying to arrange a traditional English Christmas is not that easy in Casablanca, but we set about our task with vigour, and searched the markets for all the usual trimmings.

Just where do you look for a spruce tree, or a sprig of mistletoe or holly. And what about the turkey? Where on earth are we going to find a big fat juicy turkey?

The wine as well!! You won’t find an off license on every street corner in a muslim country, even though the attitude toward alcohol in Morocco is a lot more relaxed now than in some other Arab countries.

Well. We didn’t find a spruce, but my intrepid niece did find us a large leylandii branch which made a good substitute stuck in a bucket of sand. We drew a blank as far as the holly and mistletoe were concerned, and the only turkeys we found in the markets of Maarif were somewhat anorexic.

On Christmas Eve we travelled across the city to a supermarket, and much to our relief we found most of the things to make our Christmas lunch complete. Much to my relief we found a well stocked wine department with a wide choice of quality reds, whites and roses and shelves full of seasonal spirits. In fact we found pretty much everything you will find in a British supermarket, including a big fat juicy turkey.

So Christmas in Morocco was entirely satisfactory with a morning stroll along the beach in a temperature of 23C, watching local anglers hoping for a bite, and the local fortune tellers brewing tea and hoping to catch your eye to part with a few dinars.

Setting a traditional table for lunch, and Yorkshire puddings for starters. Spending time with nieces and nephew and introducing a group of their muslim Moroccan friends to a traditional Christian Christmas was great fun.

Ten days or so later we travelled back to Heathrow amid reports that heavy snow storms were sweeping the country from the North to the Midlands.

After landing safely at Heathrow, we were eventually informed that our return flight north had been cancelled and we would be travelling through the night by coach through the ice and snow to Newcastle Airport.

It was another five years before I braved an airport again!!

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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