August 17, 2004 GMT
2004 - Morocco - part one

So here we are! France and Spain were just a distraction, but now we have made it to Africa.

Spain have managed to hold on to the very tip of the African continent and so you have to ride for about 3kms before you reach the Moroccan border, where you are helpfully stripped of all your cash by officials who sign, different officials who stamp and generally helpfull people who require payment for their helpfullness! After an hour of stamping, signing and paying we crossed the border (much lighter!!) and made our way south to Chefchouan.

The campsite in Chefchouan is half way up a mountain, overlooking the town and many of the residents looked like they (and their tie dyed sarongs) had been there since the 60's!!! It was very relaxed (which may have something to do with the local horticulture being smoked!) and we stayed for a couple of days. Paul and I spent most of the first morning looking for the old town (Medina). The Medina has a myriad of tiny alleyways painted in a beautiful blue colour and in the centre is a Kasbah and Mosque and lots of cafes, the perfect place for a bit of people watching!

The scenery in Morocco was not what I had expected, it is much more mountainous and green than I imagined and would be great for hiking and trekking if I could persuade Paul to put his walking boots on! By happy coincidence these mountains provide the perfect blind corners for Moroccans to practise their national sport......only overtaking when you cannot see what is coming the otherway!

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Travelling further South towards the Sahara the scenery changes to what you would expect, massive expanses of sand and rocky outcrops... beautiful. We stopped off near Midelt to do some off-roading. It was marked on the map as a difficult track, but we were feeling confident and it was only 70kms, so we thought it would be a nice morning ride. 7 hours later after risking life and limb on rocky mountain passes, walking the bikes down scree slopes and being rained on (yes that cloud is still following us, only now it is gathering friends who rain!), we made it back to our campsite exhausted!

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We have continued South and are now staying in an auberge in Todra Gorge, where it is hot, but overcast (of course!). A couple of days ago we rode to Morocco's Saharan sand dunes and did a camel trek to a Berber camp in the desert. It is an amazing sight to wake up in the midst of huge sand dunes! Needless to say it rained durng our evening in the desert....... I am thinking about selling my rainmaking skills as we make our way South!!!

From here we are heading to the coast to do some sunbathing (weather permitting!)

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Posted by Paul Jenkins at August 17, 2004 12:52 PM GMT
 


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