Last nights accommodation was nice, but the air con was noisy and the food and drink expensive coming in at £75 which is more than we paid to stay in the hotel.
In contrast, we are now Camping in a field in a small holding of a local Shepard. (living like kings one night and paupers the next)
Easy riding day on flat land, it did get a bit hot at 42 degrees but we were able to take breaks in the shade. We felt at one point we were riding through the desert as it was just hot and bleak and barren.
In the afternoon we sheltered in the entrance to a new building complex, this was a walled area with the entrance full marbled and tiled floor, the workers let us take shelter from the sun in the entrance way, and even made us a tea. It does seem odd to still be at the start of the building project but to have finished the entrance first, especially as the main building was a good 100 meters away and all the lorries have to deliver through the entrance gate.
We did a small detour into Marrakesh market square. The square wasn’t that busy but we could see the small alleys leading off like other busy markets we have seen.
I had my photo taken with snakes paying a small amount of change but the snake charmer wanted a lot more.
There was a queue of horse-drawn carriages waiting for customers and even though Net didn’t go near them she still ended up with an allergic reaction with her eyes watering and swelling and struggling to breathe. I am begging to realise just how precious my darling wife is. Ginette I have never thought of myself as precious but with sunstroke, constant upset stomach, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis and allergies, he may just have a point. 50 tomorrow and at times during this trip I have felt everyone bit my age. But feeling much better now.
A young lad on route shouted hello followed by fuck you, I am pretty sure he didn’t know what he was shouting. We did have some surprising answers to our attempt at hello, Bonjour and Salem, one Muslim young lady replied “hello you alright” and later another said “watchya” both in perfect Del Boy accents.
We knew we would be wild camping, it had taken a few attempts to find a suitable spot, when we finally found one we were happy with (there are so few areas around where there is no one else around) during the process of putting up the tent a Shepard came to is, he gestured that the black rain clouds over the nearby mountains may cause this spot to flood, he showed us another spot to set up camp. This was right behind some sort of water outbuilding and near his and others dwellings.
It was not a great spot but at least we knew the locals were happy for us to camp there.
We even have a dead goat hanging in a nearby tree to dry out as company.
Net was not a happy bunny.
Ginette – I like wild camping, but I prefer privacy, although we stopped several times it was almost impossible to find somewhere away from people, ants or noisy roads. The idea of wild camping is that you’re alone. I am not shy when it comes to doing my ablutions but I don’t want an audience. This particular campsite was right next to several family homes, with open space around us! To get to it we had to drag the bikes over several muddy fields and pass goat skins hanging from trees. As we sat there in the evening eating our dinner, whilst swatting the flies away and being watched by curious families Gary asked if I was OK, I challenged him to name one person who would be happy if they’d cycled all day in 42c heat, set up camp at 7pm (after three failed attempts in other fields) with no shower facilities or toilet facilities knowing they’d repeat the same process the next day. Needless to say, he couldn’t think of anyone. In the morning we scored our accommodation 4 out of 10. We had worse nights but I hoped that the following night we would find a hotel or at least a more isolated spot to camp.
Wednesday 26th Sept
Breakfast consisted of cereal and water and hot coffee in our semi-wild campsite.
After yesterday’s easy ride we knew we had the mountains to cross
The initial 20 k was still flat and we were blessed with cloud cover so the temp was a cool 31 degrees.
We reached Aymntanwt with very little climbing but this is where the hills started. Nets headset had come loose again so a local mechanic tightened up the locknut for free.
The hill climbing was fairly easy and we did the two major climbs without too much problem. The weather was closing in on us with lightning and thunder all around us, we kept on in the hope we would be spared a soaking but the rain had other ideas
Initially, we set up a mock shelter to wait for the storm to pass, even breaking out the stove for a coffee but after an hour or two, it looked like the weather was set for the day.
We did consider camping behind the building we were next to, but there were several dogs around and one locked in an outhouse where we would have camped but he didn’t sound friendly.
We donned our wet weather gear and set off in much cooler temps of 15 degrees to find a better campsite. We thought we had found another site when we realised we needed more water so decided to cycle on for rations.
At a petrol service station after asking around about hotels and campsites a local older man offered to put us up but we decided to stock up on cakes and water ready to camp. However, a driver of a small truck didn’t think this was a good idea in the storm and offered to give us a lift to Agadir which given the weather and state of the muddy surrounds we accepted.
So with all the panniers and bikes tied precariously on the roof of this already overloaded truck, we started the last stage of our journey.
We did scan the area as we drove past to see if we could of camped, well off course we could but the desert type terrain which was all dry dirt was now a sticky mud surface, no grass around and with lots of new river courses making tracks in the mud it was clear that camping would have been a very wet and muddy experience. We could see several mudslides which would have made camping very challenging.
The ride down through the mountains was not as scenic as we had expected and surprisingly there were still a few more ups to do. We had hoped for some wow moments of the views over Agadir, but it was dark when we arrived and it was clear to see that there were no views to be had. Instead, we had a gentle approach to a large valley and a drive through an industrial area. We both agreed we had made the right decision to accept the generous offer of a lift into town.
Our driver was a lovely man approx 30 years old, we had conversations via a translate app on his phone for a lot of the trip. Although it took a few times talking into the phone each time before it came out right. He shared with us that he had been married for a year and that he was expecting his first child next month. He had trained to work in Aluminium but due to work shortages, he was driving for a living.
He would take no money for helping us, he even helped us find a hotel.
The hotel we stayed in was in a Muslim area right next to the bus station and a very busy local market we were the only tourists around. The room was very basic, no air conditioning, very dirty/old bathroom and brown! Dinner was soup as Net couldn’t find anything else she could eat (lots of meat dishes or deep fried fish), even this was cold but the waiter was kind enough to microwave Nets for her.
We arrived a day early in Agadir, but agreed to go to our hotel and ask if we could check in a day early. We had spent several hours picking the hotel on the internet, wanting something special for Net’s big birthday. We had selected a 4-star hotel with great reviews and pictures but in reality, it is more like a 3/4 star hotel. The reception area is very small and not what you would expect for a 4-star hotel and the doors from the rooms are more like fire doors, metal and bland. The room is ok and we have a balcony but not the luxury we had hoped for. The facilities are good, bar, pool and restaurant and I’m sure we’ll do our best to make the most of our time, which we intend to use to plot our next adventure. We are aiming to take a year off work, but rather than spending a year on the bike we are aiming to do lots of mini-adventures, we are open to ideas….