From Ireland to Morocco on a motorbike

First it was just a dream that seemed so far away and now the plan is coming together.
I always wanted to travel and explore different continents and cultures, this my first and Harry's second visit to Morocco.
We travel from Ireland to France, then Spain, Portugal and then into Morocco.
So you are all invited to follow us on our adventure on 2 BMWs.

und in Deutsch;

Von Irland nach Marokko mit dem Motorrad

Es was seit langem mein Traum und endlich geht es los
Ich wollte immer reisen und andere Kontinente und Kulturen entdecken.
Dies ist meine erste Reisen nach Marokko und den Maghreb
und Harry's zweiter Trip.
Ihr seid nun all eingeladen und via Internet auf unserem Motorrad - Abenteuer zu begleiten.

Below thats me, Barbara, collecting my BMW F800GS last year

and thats Harry on his roadbike, a BoxerCup Replika.

Oops, this will be a link to a page about our bikes

April 27, 2013 GMT
The road to Zagora

I'm sure many have seen a picture of the sign that says "Timbouctou 52 jours"



You find it in the town of Zagora .
For centurys the caravans started there journey across the sahara desert from here and the town was an impotant centre of trade It is mainly occupied by berbers and you can feel there is a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere than north of the Atlas mountains.

The town is very modern and a park with an arena, kids playground and a big pond with geese and ducks has just been opened and invites for a stroll in the evening Zagora is built along the Draa river and on the way from Ouarzazate along the valley you can see one Kasba after another

A stretch of palm trees about 1mile wide grows all the way along the riverbed likea big carpet.

We decided to leave the main road and try a dirt track that leads along the river. It was merely wide enough for the bikes but to small for cars
We got on very well at the start,the track ran smoothly though small towns and along palm trees, we stopped for some water and people came walking along to see the u usual visitors.
And man invited us even to have tee in his garden

But we were on a mission to get south so we kept going and the track started to get twisty

Soon the smoth hard surface turned into big loose bits of gravel and we had a few brown trouser moments before we reached the to of the hill.

We were later told that this track is usually done on smaller lighter bikes, not heavy ones like ours. The local berbers, of course drive two up on there small 50cc mobilettes and even overtook us

Or they use donkeys as they do forthe last 2000 years.

Well ,we did fine and after a rest by the river it got easier again and we decided to get back to the main road


After this we needed a rest and spent an extra day at the pool in the lovely Fibule du Deaa hotel

Posted by Barbara Halter at 07:36 AM GMT
April 30, 2013 GMT
The Todra gorge

When it got time to head north again towards the Atlas mountain we had the option to visit the Dades- or the Todra gorge
But due to the delay cause by my bike breakdown we choose the Todra gorge

Thursday evenings are always busy in Moroccan towns, Friday is there day of rest( like Sunday in Europe) and most men head to the mosque for there evening prayer.

The roads in Tinghir were crowded and we just got to an ATM and then out of town towards the gorge. It gets dark very quickly in North Africa, time is 2hours behind Ireland.

So we decided to head for the nearest hotel we found on the sat nav we saw the very inviting Kasba Amazir, right beside the Todra river An oasis of peace, with a lush garden, pool and as usual tbey served the traditional very delicious evening meal

I never thought that my henna tattoe would be the key to so many friendly conversations with local people. Oh, you're hands look nice , were did youget this done.? Everybody in the hotel noticed it and in shops and restaurants I had a chat here and there , it seems that not many visitors get have the honour of getting a real berber tattooe

The next morning we had you breakfast in the garden where the birds gave us an concert

It was time to checke the bikes and the hotel manager came out for a chat, people are very relaxed in this part of Morocco,
they also share all the tasks in the Kasba hotels, many of tbem have only a few rooms and not a lot of staff
Cooking, serving food and cleaning is all done mostly by men, woman work mainly in tbe background and not directly with the guests.

The Bikes and finally ready we drove in to the Todra gorge and the narrow road was busy with cars, buses and 4x4s. The shallow river attracts not only visitors but also the local woman who come there to wash there clothes and carpets in the water.

Posted by Barbara Halter at 07:51 AM GMT
May 16, 2013 GMT
Meknes a real gem

Meknes

When we drove into Meknes for the first time we did not notice what a gem this place actually is as all we wanted was getting to Marrakech as quick as possible

Its one of the places I would definitely visit again

On the way back we unexpectedly had to extend our stay because Harry was not feeling well .
He was feeling fine when walked up to the medina on the evening we arrived and but we think there was something in the salad that did not agree with him.

Meknes was once the capital of Morocco under the reign the mighty Moulay Ismail in the 17th/ 18th century.




He built the impressive gate Bab Mansour, that leads into the medina with the palace and his mausoleum





Sadly, the palace and mausoleum of the Moulay were closed that day, so I decided to head for the Place
el Hedim and visit the palace Dar Jamai



The place much smaller than the Djama el Fna in Marrakech but full of life and cafes were you can relax and watch the world go by

There are all the gates that lead into the souks and unlike the markets in Marrakech there were almost no Europeans wandering around

The atmosphere is more relaxed and when we sat there the night before the local kids were brought there by the parent for a ride on the donkeys , ponies or a spin in little electric cars .

I dived right into the souks and a wold of colour,, the smell of spices, sweets, secret beauty potions and
food from all corners of the country open up in front of me .




Fresh dates, dried apricots, figs lemon and , almonds ,large varieties of nuts, spice, herbs and huile d’Argan were sold in the lane with olives, pickled lemon and fresh herbs.




Butchers selling fresh cuts of lamb and goat, fish mongers and the chicken were still alive when they were sold.



But what really caught my attention was the large selection of sweets and pastry, I have never seen such a large amount of little artfully decorated pastry, petit fours.



I treated myself with a small selection of sweets and when I finally eat them they tasted delicious.



It was time for a break and nothing tasts bettter than 2 glases of delicious fresh orange juis, the best in the world, and a salad before I decided to visit the Palace Dar Jamai







It was built in 1882 as the residence of the illustrious Jamai family, which included two of Moulay el-Hassan's ministers. Later it was as a military hospital after 1912 and was converted to The Museum of Moroccan Art in 1920.




The museum retains the rich traditional decor of painted wood and sculpted plaster and features an exquisite Andalusian garden similar to the Badi Palace in Marrakech .. The museum is devoted to the arts and crafts of the region, including wrought ironwork, wood carving, weaving, leather-work, brass and copper-
smithing, and other metalwork.




And like many other museums and sites in Morocco you can walk around freely .The infrastructure is simple and works well. No shop selling merchandising, no coffee shop. You can always hire a guide if you want some detailed information and there is loads of cafes and shops outside in the nearby souks.

I could not see any expensive surveillance camreas and I noticed no graffiti or other traces left behind by visitors.
In many places we visited it seems that vandalism is not common in Morocco
Things like public parks or place might need some maintenance, might look a bit shabby , but you would not see deliberately damaged park benches, bins set on fire or littering.



Posted by Barbara Halter at 05:02 PM GMT
January 28, 2014 GMT
Setting off from Ireland

Leaving Ireland, at ferry terminal at Rosslare, Wexford.
All set for the big trip.

Woo-hoo!
In France and we are on the way

Had to stop off at Le Mans, famous for the racing, and the maad 24 Heurs Moto Endurance race week.

Headed on down the west coast of France.
While I think it may be not as scenic as other regions of the country, well... we were on a mission!
Morocco was our aim.

Heading south, yippee!

Overnight in the Basque town of Saint Jean de Luz

Easter weekend and lots of Chocolate surprises!

Yes!
thats Easter eggs for you, lol

Fuel stop, and as you may guess, we are now in Spain

The city of Salamanca

This was our first taste of Summer and warm blue skies!

Then on we headed, on south, over more stunning Spanish countryside

and lots more Magic Twisty roads

=============================================================

Anyways... ...

...what's that they say about: "the rain in Spain, falls mainly on the plain..." ?

Well, it seems our trip coincided with the wettest, coldest spring for both France and Spain.

In France on our arrival from the ferry, we were told the main route from Cherbourg towards Paris was snowbound for two days, only a week before we had set off!

In many Spanish cities and towns, floods caused havoc for many unfortunate families.

Not many 'Rays' for these Solar Arrays to catch:

Ahh, sure it must be the luck of the Irish, eh?
Years of planning, and we hit a '100 years' storm, lol.

=============================================================

Now we cross yet more Spanish mountains.
The country seems to be mainly mountains, woohoo!
Fantastic country for biking, definitely on my list for a (longer) return visit.

In the city of Malaga we stop to meet friends, and head off to a local tyre shop to get some TKC 80's fitted.

Vargas Tyres in Malaga, we praise them big time.
Great service, and held tourance tyres for return trip too.

Now we are all set for the Sahara!

=============================================================

Posted by Barbara Halter at 11:28 PM GMT
January 30, 2014 GMT

Last supper in Spain, next dinner will be in Africa, woohoo!

Roman ruins of Volubalis,
near Meknes


Sometimes ya just have to pamper yourselves, haha.
Below is the view from the balcony of our Kasbah near Asila.


Posted by Barbara Halter at 08:30 PM GMT
 
 

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