Its true–for as independent as I seem sometimes, I love me a good guided tour. Today after lunch we were led by a wonderful tour guide named Fatima to some of the most famous sites in Rabat. Fatima was awesome and hilarious! Like most people I have come into contact with, she speaks French and Arabic. She also speaks English and is married to a Japanese man. She said she is the only tour guide in Rabat speaks Japanese. If this is true she must get good work :)
Anyway we toured Chellah, which is the site of a fifth century Roman ruin and a fourteenth century Islamic ruin. Totally fascinating. The Roman ruin, she said is just likes ones you would actually find in Italy, with a forum, public baths, and the like. The Islamic ruin is just like madrassas you would see today.
After Chellah we toured the unfinished Hassan tower. When designed it was going to be 60m but the king died and construction was finished only at 44m tall. It was still beautiful! At the same place is a masoleum where there are two tombs of recent past kings.
Speaking of Kings, after Hassan tower we went to the palace–we were only allowed to go in because we were with a licensed, authorized tour guide. Very cool. Obviously we couldn’t go in the actual palace, but we got to walk up near it and take a picture.
Lastly we went to the Kasbah here in Rabat which is like a small city within a city with super narrow, twisty, turny roads. I am having a difficult time discerning the difference between roads, alleyways, and hallways. Actually I’m not even sure there is a real difference! Fatima told us lots of intresting things about that part of the city, like that its where artsy-types like to live, and its where a lot of old people move in so they can retire. From the outside, not only of the Kasbah itself but the buildings and doorways it seems like everything is super small and cramped but in reality once you get inside, things are quite spacious. It really is an optical illusion. And even though it may be hot outside, thick walls keep things cool inside. :)
Uploading things to Flickr is a little much for this internet to handle, but I managed to get up about 5 pictures this afternoon. Check them out to the right!