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ex HARALD JARL ::: ex ANDREA ::: SERENISSIMA :::

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    Such a wonderful morning! All the way from the first red rays of sun to the captures of the work of the crew.

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      Going ashore for an afternoon excursion.

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        Whenever I'd said to anyone that the cruise I was on ended in Casablanca, the film of that name (and/or some memorable quotes/misquotes from it) would inevitably be mentioned! In fact that famous classic 1942 movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman was shot in a Hollywood studio! Around 2004 someone did open a bar-restaurant which they called 'Rick's Café', but I think when it comes to seeking literary connections and the atmosphere and mystique of the war and inter-war years I would choose Tangier.

        However, although the modern commercial city of Casablanca is generally said to have little of interest and attractivness to detain the tourist, architecture buffs could surely find just about every European trend of the past century here, Art Deco for example. However it is the new Hassan II Mosque that is the focus of guided tours, available at set times outside prayer hours when non-muslims including women are allowed inside. I already mentioned the minaret's height and the building's vast size, and indeed every statistic, from the cost of construction to the number of worshippers it can accommodate, is truly staggering.

        Last edited by Seagull; April 8th, 2015, 17:59.

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          When we paused to be handed plastic bags to carry our shoes in, I took the opportunity to photograph the guides traditional Moroccan leather slippers.

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            Coming in from the bright sunlight, it seemed darker at first than it appears in this photograph, and even now my most abiding memories are tactile - those of texture and temperature of polished stone and carpet beneath lightly stockinged feet.

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              These kinds of images better record my first impressions, and I am drawn to the ambiguity of that last image.
              Part of the building actually extends over the sea with a glass floor. The location of the mosque in close relationship to the ocean was apparently the wish of the King, inspired by a verse in the Koran - 'the throne of God was built on water'.

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                Although mostly local materials were used, there are some columns of Italian marble, and these chandeliers of Murano glass. Part of the roof can be automatically retracted but I think it is only done on special occasions. Another modern feature is the laser beams, pointing from the minaret at night in the direction of Mecca.

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                  While much of the interior mixes classic Islamic architecture with specifically Moroccan elements, there are parts of the building which seemed, at least to me, to be more overtly modern in design.




                  I don't have photos of the fountains and baths on the lower floor. Things had started to fall apart a bit on this our last excursion - the guide was maybe not used to the radio for our earpieces, and not everyone realised that he had ended up on another frequency. Timing was vague, and the buses had unexpectedly moved from our dropping off point. I was thinking that we could have done with the "group number two chop chop" guy from Tangier to hold things together.

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                    Later, back on board Serenissima, I saw the Captain - out of uniform and having some well deserved off duty time (though he would be hosting the farewell drinks and dinner later that evening).
                    This reminded me I had not yet taken a must-have photo souvenir of the cruise!

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                      Very impressive pictures indeed. And such a nice neighbourhood. In picture #1031/1 you can clearly see the big difference to have a cruise on a ship like Serenissima or SeaCloud or to be stuck in a skyscaper-like shopping mall like Costa Fortuna. I hope a lot of people remember that before comparing cruise prices!
                      Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11

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                        My mascot has travelled the world for decades, and it somehow became a custom that he should in particular be photographed with the Captain when on board a ship. It seemed an opportune moment to broach the matter with Captain Padjen. Nice tee-shirt! - and what a great picture! Yeapp, Captain Storli - it seems you have some competition for the accolade "Most Photogenic Captain"!!!!
                        Well, this captain had already spoken highly of you, and I had used the word "traditional" when referring to Sea-Troll's photos... all of which may have had some influence on what happened next...

                        ...anyway, momentarily excusing himself and leaving Sea-Troll in a commanding position on the bridge, he disappeared, only to return impeccable dressed in uniform for "The Official Traditional photo" ! Although he would be so attired for the Captain’s drinks party and farewell dinner later, that was still some hours away, and I even saw him in tee-shirt in between, so just how special was this!

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                          There was absolutely no stopping him - other poses, different locations. Sea-Troll's next promotion seems assured!

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                            Late afternoon out on deck.

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                              Reluctantly it was time to go and pack. Must keep something out for the farewell dinner though - perhaps this blouse I bought in Thailand will be suitable.

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                                Evening light, and there's the pilot boat once again.

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