The second day of our tour of Morocco with my cousins Tracy and Sarah started out at Tracy’s loading up the car for a Moroccan road trip. Our destination for the day was the town of Fes which is located in the middle Atlas Mountains. Keep in mind that clicking on the photographs throughout the blog will bring up a full screen version.
The Drive from Casablanca to Volubilis
We drove along the Atlantic Ocean toward Rabat on a two lane road through sand dunes. Until we cut over to the expressway, this took us to the southeast of the center of Rabat. Once we were close to Rabat we cut to the northeast on a divided multi-lane street, which passed a newly constructed high-tech industrial area (Techolopolis). Through this portion of the route it was visible that the Moroccan government was investing in building a new expressway that would eventuality become a bypass of the area. I that this is the A5 expressway. We turned to the east along expressway A2 which currently ends in Fes. We took this to Meknes where we left the expressway for two lane roads running to the north of town.
Moulay Idriss Zerhoun
Construction was started in 789 by Moulay Idriss I who brought with him the religion of Islam. He also began the construction of Fes, which his son completed. It is also known as the “Sacred heart of Morocco”. Unfortunately we did not have time to tour this historic city.
We arrived at Volubilis with day moving into evening. The light was perfect for the time that we had to see the ruins. We could not have planned it any better for making photographs of this third century Roman ruin. I still think that Tracy planned our arrival time to Volubilis perfectly.
The ruins have a large number of mosaic floors that are either intact or restored.
Aquaducts and Columns
Temple of Jupiter
The Arch of Caracalla
The Arch of Caracalla was completed in the early 3rd century. Photographing the Arch was challenging around sunset, because the location for the setting sun was almost directly through the middle of the arch. This is a location where filters or blending of multiple exposures is a must in order to achieve the desired photograph
The Road to Fes
After photographing and touring the Ruins of Volubilis we loaded back up into the car and headed for Fes. The sun was setting on the first actual day of driving on our Moroccan road trip and Tracy got a glimpse of it and asked if we wanted to stop for a photo op. We did and I am so glad that she made that decision for us. Once Tracy was out of the car, I turned and the sun was setting perfectly over the valley below. If it were not for my cousin, I would not have made the following photograph.
We arrived after sundown in the city of Fes, which was not ideal as none of us had ever driven in the city at night. One of the pluses about traveling with someone who lives in the country is that cell service in Morocco’s cities is really good from what we saw. Grant it there were large areas off of the beaten path where cell service was nonexistent, but this can be said of areas in the United States also. If I were to travel there for more than a week or so without my cousin, I would have definitely looked into getting a pre-paid sim card for my smartphone.