Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Ride Tales, Trip Reports and Stories > Ride Tales
Ride Tales Post your ride reports for a weekend ride or around the world. Please make the first words of the title WHERE the ride is. Please do NOT just post a link to your site. For a link, see Get a Link.
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



Like Tree446Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #541  
Old 29 Apr 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

Back down the switchbacks of Tizi n'Tichka


Back down in the Plains of Marrakesh, the weather gets sunnier again. Still not that warm though...

Our ride into Marrakesh was unremarkable. Our original intention was to try to find a place outside of the medinas and then ride in one day to visit the souks, thus avoiding the hustlers. But we found that all the accommodations were so expensive. It really was cheaper to stay in the old city, I think because the hotels in the modern areas of the city were frequented by people on business with bigger budgets and corporate expense accounts. So it was back to the medinas with the rest of the backpackers and vacationers.

Like before, we had to park outside the walls of the old city and I dove in on foot while Neda watched the bikes. I made a mistake not getting the exact GPS co-ordinates of our riad in Marrakesh before arriving. All I had was a Google Map location which maybe gets you in the right time zone when it comes to navigating in the medinas of Morocco... Lost in the labyrinths of Marrakesh, I couldn't find the place where we were staying and against my inclinations, I had to enlist the help of one of the touts waiting for business. But not before negotiating a price.

After some walking around, it seemed my young guide did not know where the riad was, but he flagged down another guy on a motorcycle who seemed to know and the guy on the bike motioned for me to get on the back seat. The riad should have been close by and I didn't want to pay extra for a ride, so I declined and followed his bike on foot. Our guesthouse was only a few hundred meters away and at the door of the riad, I settled up with the first guy who I asked for directions.

He immediately took off, leaving the motorcycle guide looking at me expectantly. Thus I was introduced to a new hustle in Marrakesh - I call it the "Everyone Gets Paid". Basically whoever you make a deal with enlists as many people he can get to help you out, then you are expected to pay everyone involved. *nuh-uh* I shook my head. "Go chase after your friend and get your money, I didn't make a deal with you".

He looked pissed, probably a mixture of play-acting and annoyance that the "Everyone Gets Paid" hustle didn't work. Too bad, so sad.


Once more, into the fray we go. Into the medinas of Morocco
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #542  
Old 29 Apr 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847
We were both in a very bad mood in Marrakesh. The hustlers were wearing us down and we didn't feel like leaving the riad. Why did we even bother coming to the city then? It took great effort of will to don our armour and go exploring once again.


Grounds of the El Badi Palace

One of the first attractions just outside our riad was the El Badi Palace. Built in the late 1500s, it was built to celebrate (gloat) over the Moroccan's victory against the war with the Portuguese.


Good luck storks atop one of the towers in the palace


Stork in flight, baby already delivered


Proof that I was there


Reflections in the pools at El Badi Palace
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #543  
Old 29 Apr 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

Copper lamps in a Marrakesh souk


Talk to the Khamsa

The Khamsa means "Five" in Arabic and in this instance refers to an open palm symbol that is often used in artwork and jewelry as a sign of protection and to ward off the evil eye.


More peering into mosques that we were forbidden to enter. Such intricate designs inside!


Snake charmer in the souk

Djemaa-El-Fna is the largest souk in Marrakech, located in the main square of the old city. Snake charmers are known to frequent this area and we really wanted to see snakes being charmed. Before taking pictures, I asked the guy above playing the flute how much and his buddy beside him answered 10 dirham. Okay, deal.


The snake glistened menacingly like it was made of shiny, moving metal
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #544  
Old 29 Apr 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847
The guy playing the flute motioned for me to come closer, he kept kicking at the snake to maneuver it into a position so I could get a better shot. I think either the snake was not poisonous or it was defanged, he didn't seem at all concerned about his (or my) safety. Thankfully I have a zoom lens...

I don't think the flute player was doing anything special. The snake didn't seemed very hypnotized or charmed or anything.


This was as close to the snake as I dared go

After I was done taking pictures, the flute-player's buddy took my 10 dirham and promptly got up and walked away, disappearing into the crowd. Oh no. Is this "Everyone Gets Paid" all over again? I looked at the flute player waiting with his outstretched hand. Yep.

I shook my head, turned around vowed never to engage with street vendors and hustlers again as he called out to me for his money. "Everyone Gets Paid" only works if tourists start falling for it and I wasn't going to contribute to this behaviour. I had no doubt in my mind that he would get his 10 dirham once his buddy came back.


We went to a fancy restaurant which was supposed to serve good tajine. Not impressed. Too many raisins.


Waiting for business


Looking out the window is a favorite past-time all over the world


Men in traditional Berber hats walking around the souk

So in the end there was nothing mystical or mysterious about Marrakesh. Nothing that we hadn't seen in any of the other medinas of Morocco. It just confirmed that we are so done with medinas and souks.
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #545  
Old 6 May 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/218.html



Good riddance, Marrakech!

It's been freezing during our whole time in Morocco. When we left Europe, we looked forward to baking in the scorching African desert sun. That so didn't happen... we've been bundled up in all of our layers for the last three weeks! During our stay in Boulmane, we chatted with a tour guide who said that the warmest part of Morocco this time of year would be Agadir, on the western coast. So that's where we're going!

So back over the High Atlas Mountains once again in search of warm weather.


Sharing the road with vehicles of varying horsepower


Our search for the perfect tajine continues in a small village along the way

We are heading south-west on the R203, which goes up and over the High Atlas Mountains. After lunch, the road takes us through the N'fis valley, where we are given a good idea as to what the roads are going to look like. As well as a great view too!


Nice!


Neda bundled up against the cold
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #546  
Old 6 May 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

Twisty roads always put smiles on our faces!


Plenty of picturesque villages line the road heading over the High Atlas Mountains


Palm trees to cacti


Road starting to climb the mountains

The R203 is called the Tizi n'Test once it starts to climb up over the High Atlas to over 2000m. The entertaining part is when it steeply descends, offering us plenty of switchbacks and twists and turns, however it's hard to concentrate with the scenery just off to the side and below.


The Tizi n'Test winds back and forth over the High Atlas, offering us marvelous views down below
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #547  
Old 6 May 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

Neda ducking below some rocky overhangs


Another roadside stop to admire the view of the valley below

As we descended from the High Atlas mountains towards the coast, the weather got very, very warm - in the mid-20s. At our next gas stop, we peeled off all of our layers, this was the first time in a long time that I was able to wear just a T-shirt under my mesh jacket. Felt so good!


Surprise roadside gifts!

Just outside of Agadir, we noticed we were being paced by a car, which is not that unusual for us since we were quite an oddity rolling around on Moroccan roads on our huge behemoths. At a stoplight, the passenger rolled down his window to talk to us. He spoke English, but not any kind of English - Canadian English! Haha!

We pulled over to chat. Yassine is from Mississauga (just outside of Toronto) and he was visiting family in Morocco. He told us he was so surprised to see Ontario plates on our bikes! He imports Moroccan oranges to Canada so he gave us a sample of his goods.

Nice guy! And it was awesome getting a chance to speak Canadian again, eh?!


Hanging out at our hostel after breakfast in Agadir


Agadir is a beach-side resort town, luxury hotels line the coast

There was a huge earthquake in 1960 which completely destroyed Agadir, so the city was rebuilt from the ground up a few kms away. A lot of famous architects were hired to help in the rebuild and the result is a very modern place, quite unlike any Moroccan city because it contains no remnants of the old country.
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #548  
Old 6 May 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

The warm weather year-round makes it very popular place to spend a vacation


Modesty on the sands

Morocco is considered a moderate Muslim country. They have more relaxed attitudes towards women's dress and behaviour here than in other strict countries. It was interesting seeing full burqas on the beach mingled with the bikinis of the tourists.

Still, outside the beaches some tourists do push the limits of tolerance. In Marrakesh a few days ago, we saw a trio of British girls walking the souks in sandals and skirts cut above the knee. They were totally oblivious to the shocked and disapproving looks of everyone!


Moroccan flags flapping in winds from the shore

We spent quite a bit of time just soaking up the warm weather on the beach, it was very therapeutic after such a long spell of cold weather. I was a bit disappointed that we had already booked our accommodations in the next town. I had no idea Agadir would be this pleasant, we would totally have stayed at least a couple of days more!


Stopped for lunch at a small town just outside of Agadir


Amazing seafood here!
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #549  
Old 6 May 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847
We're discovering new places all the time. Just earlier, I had bookmarked Agadir as a place to spend a few days if we were ever back again, but now having ridden a few kms outside, we discovered the best place to stay in the area is actually in some of the smaller towns north of the city. The rocky coast is very picturesque and there's less of a western resort-feel, which is totally what we like.


Our bikes weaved across the road as the winds from the Atlantic Ocean grew very fierce.


We were driving north as the road cut inland and we saw an unusual sight...

One of our friends told us about these goats in Morocco that could climb trees, so we were constantly on the lookout for them. We spotted a whole bunch of them just south of Essaouira. We had quite a laugh watching them jump up on the branches to get a nibble of the Argan fruit, which is indigenous to this area.


These guys were extraordinarily nimble and some of them got quite high in the tree!

These goats are quite essential to the economy in this area. Everywhere, we'd see stands and stalls selling Argan oil. It's used for beauty products for the skin and for cooking. The oil is actually extracted from the hard nut inside the food, but only after it's eaten and excreted by these goats!

We didn't buy any Argan oil...


They must be pretty light too, some of these branches did not look like they could support the weight of several of these goats!


Even the camels got in on the action


I climbed up to see what all the fuss was about. The goats didn't seem to like that too much and fled to another tree (you can see one under my right arm)

After pooping out some Argan seeds, I hopped on my bike and we were off to further explore the western coast!
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #550  
Old 7 May 2015
jkrijt's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 638
Hi,
I just want you to know that I really enjoy reading your travel stories and the beautiful pictures.
__________________
Jan Krijtenburg

My bikes are a Honda GoldWing GL1200 and a Harley-Davidson FXD Dyna Super Glide

My personal homepage with trip reports: https://www.krijtenburg.nl/
YouTube channel (that I do together with one of my sons): motormobilist.nl
Reply With Quote
  #551  
Old 8 May 2015
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: South West France
Posts: 34
Maroc

Hi guys, excellent writing as usual, if you get tired of the wind on the coast check out Tafraoute, a bit inland and a microclime hemmed in by mountains with nice roads and trails. I hated Agadir and the coast (too many fat underdressed tourists) keep us posted and stay cool, its May now and its gonna get hot:-))
Reply With Quote
  #552  
Old 10 May 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847
Quote:
Originally Posted by canyon View Post
I hated Agadir and the coast (too many fat underdressed tourists)
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #553  
Old 13 May 2015
Diz Diz is offline
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 6
What stunning pictures. Thanks for sharing
Reply With Quote
  #554  
Old 15 May 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/219.html

We have a lot of footage that we've shot from our last four weeks in Morocco and it's been a while since I've done some video editing, so here's what I've been working on!

__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #555  
Old 20 May 2015
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/220.html



Our 1-month insurance policy is slowly ticking down and we are quietly exiting Morocco.

Under overcast skies, we arrived at the port town of Essaouira and against our inclinations, we book an accommodation inside the medina once again because the city hotels were too expensive. We did the familiar Moroccan dance - Neda staying with the bikes outside the old city's walls while I dodged hustlers looking for our riad. I've been taking point on all scouting and communications forays because of my (slightly better) knowledge of French, but after the last few weeks it has really started to wear on me.


While it has a typical Moroccan medina, Essaouira is also known for its picturesque port and docks

We're staying a couple of days here to catch our breath before continuing the trek out of Morocco. It seems like the salt water breeze carries seagulls from all over the coast to this one place, hoping to pick at food coming in from the fishing boats and falling off the tables at the tourist restaurants.


Boats under construction at the shipyard


These blue-coloured boats all parked outside the medina walls are perhaps the unofficial symbol of Essaouira



A hooded figure surveys the boats coming in
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cuba, rtw, visit


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 2 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 2 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


 
 

Announcements

Thinking about traveling? Not sure about the whole thing? Watch the HU Achievable Dream Video Trailers and then get ALL the information you need to get inspired and learn how to travel anywhere in the world!

Have YOU ever wondered who has ridden around the world? We did too - and now here's the list of Circumnavigators!
Check it out now
, and add your information if we didn't find you.

Next HU Eventscalendar

HU Event and other updates on the HUBB Forum "Traveller's Advisories" thread.
ALL Dates subject to change.

2024:

2025:

  • Queensland is back! Date TBC - May?

Add yourself to the Updates List for each event!

Questions about an event? Ask here

HUBBUK: info

See all event details

 
World's most listened to Adventure Motorbike Show!
Check the RAW segments; Grant, your HU host is on every month!
Episodes below to listen to while you, err, pretend to do something or other...

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

"Ultimate global guide for red-blooded bikers planning overseas exploration. Covers choice & preparation of best bike, shipping overseas, baggage design, riding techniques, travel health, visas, documentation, safety and useful addresses." Recommended. (Grant)



Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ combines into a single integrated program the best evacuation and rescue with the premier travel insurance coverages designed for adventurers.

Led by special operations veterans, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, paramedics and other travel experts, Ripcord is perfect for adventure seekers, climbers, skiers, sports enthusiasts, hunters, international travelers, humanitarian efforts, expeditions and more.

Ripcord travel protection is now available for ALL nationalities, and travel is covered on motorcycles of all sizes!


 

What others say about HU...

"This site is the BIBLE for international bike travelers." Greg, Australia

"Thank you! The web site, The travels, The insight, The inspiration, Everything, just thanks." Colin, UK

"My friend and I are planning a trip from Singapore to England... We found (the HU) site invaluable as an aid to planning and have based a lot of our purchases (bikes, riding gear, etc.) on what we have learned from this site." Phil, Australia

"I for one always had an adventurous spirit, but you and Susan lit the fire for my trip and I'll be forever grateful for what you two do to inspire others to just do it." Brent, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the (video) series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring!" Jennifer, Canada

"Your worldwide organisation and events are the Go To places to for all serious touring and aspiring touring bikers." Trevor, South Africa

"This is the answer to all my questions." Haydn, Australia

"Keep going the excellent work you are doing for Horizons Unlimited - I love it!" Thomas, Germany

Lots more comments here!



Five books by Graham Field!

Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.



Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80G/S.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 21:57.