Fes to Marrakesh Part 2

Sat 21st

Easy start to the day with flat riding again alongside the Atlas Mountains we passed through a large town which was 10k of cycling, no issues with the traffic and the miles pass by quickly as there are so many distractions. Lots of very post, moroccan villas and olive sellers.

We turned off the main road to take a trip up to a large reservoir, this involved a 15 k uphill climb of 1300m, a tiring experience for both of us especially when the temp was at 42.5 degrees. Ginette – it is hard to describe what cycling in this heat is like, but it is difficult to breathe, the air is dusty – especially when the lorries pass by us, your body and face are constantly covered in sweat which the flies love. The buzzing noise from the flies is enough to drive you crazy, it is hard to squat them away when you are climbing a mountain or descending a mountain on your bike. On the upside the locals look at us in amazement and cheer us on. I have noticed several of them do a double take when they realise a woman is cycling in the mountains, which makes me smile. On one of our stops, a family bravely asked to take a photo.

Ginette is back to her speedy knickers self but stops often in the shade to allow me to catch up.

We based ourselves in a more upmarket (well more upmarket for this type of trip) hotel with a pool but we are too knackered to use it. The women using the pool are fully dressed, which put Net off.  Ginette – to be respectful, I have cycled with my shoulders covered and with a sarong over my shorts. Although we have stayed in a couple of hotels with pools, we have seen few women in them and all have been covered. I think me in a bikini may cause a few heads to turn, especially as my legs look like they’ve been dipped in creosote leaving me with lilly white thighs (not attractive).

We popped out for lunch to one of the small cafes we passed, the owner was in the process of sending us away when a fisherman turned up with his catch from the day and between us we managed to talk the cafe owner into cooking us some grilled fish.

As we sat down to enjoy a beer (a very rare treat) we Skype called my Mum, Tracy and Richard this was really nice. It was great talking to them but we were very tired and the delay makes it hard to have a conversation that flows.

Sunday 23rd

I am not sure where we staid,  we spent the night tucked away in an outbuilding of a petrol station.
We were both very tired and couldn’t be bothered to try to cycle any further to try to find accommodation or wild camp.. We had been heading towards a hotel but it was a further 9k off our route or a hostel which never materialised.

We started the day with a 15k climb straight from the hotel, at least it was early so we were treated to a max temp of 35 degrees on the hill climb. After this, we were both weary from the two days of high hot climbing so we were doing well not to bite each overs heads off. Ginette felt sorry for a couple of kids that had said something to her as she passed them so stopped and gave them her cake and biscuits, they then tapped her top box and wanted money, not a good morning to try to hassle Net, I could hear the tone in her voice as she told the boys off. Ginette too bloody right, I had stopped on a hill and given them all my snacks and instead of saying thank you they wanted more. I have since witnessed adult beggars doing the same which may mean this is a cultural thing. But instead of feeling like I had done a kind-hearted act I felt like I hadn’t done enough. This was infuriating as I didn’t have anything else to give, but I suppose they didn’t know this.

The scenery has been great but it’s hard to enjoy it when all you seem to be able to do is keep the pedals turning and keep the sweat and flies from going in your eyes.

I spotted what looked like a chameleon, it was on a suicide mission on the road, We stopped and tried to encourage it back onto the grass by moving my front wheel near it, only for the Chameleon to climb into my wheels spokes. Net had to hold the bike still whilst I found a stick which the Chameleon closed onto so I could move it to safety.

The garage provided us with fried eggs and dry bread. This was not enough to fill us up so I made us some instant noodles washed down by a bottle of cold water. We certainly know how to live the high life. Ginette – the garage ‘cafe’ area was full of men watching football, not another female in sight. The toilets were rank!! However, it was good of them to let us stay free of charge.

Monday

The tent was up under shelter on a marble floor held up each end by the guys tied to the push bikes. It was a very hot and sweaty night only coming to around 25 degrees by morning, it was also really noisy with road traffic and vehicles tooting to fill up all night. With hindsight we would have been better off in an olive grove somewhere.
We were both awake early, at one point Net was looking at me half asleep at around 4.30am with cold blank eyes. Fortunately, she dozed off and woke up a lot more cheerful

Breakfast was coffee from our own stove and cereal with water.

The ride was pretty flat all the way and easy going, Net was in a good mood so I reckon that I should find more horrible places to stay as she seems to thrive on it. Ginette – this is not the case at all, it was awful, noisy, smelly and really well lit. I was glad to be back on the road and knew that any accommodation would be an improvement on the previous evening.

We did have one small valley to drop into and climb back out, this caused Net to describe the unexpected climb as a “fudge ray doo dah” so it would seem she is now making up her own swear words. Ginette ‘and why not’ the lactic acid rushed to our legs and made me want to shout out lots of obscenities and I restrained myself with fudgery doo dar.

I had a wobble late afternoon, we hadn’t eaten much today and although there was food at the last stop fussy Net couldn’t find anything she could eat, a little cake and sprite seemed to tide me over. Ginette – as a veggie Morocco is a little challenging I generally have a choice of salad (not on the menu today) or veg tagine (my last one came with 2 big lumps of a goat!). The only offering today was daal but it looked very meaty. I agree compared to Gary, I am fussy but I would have happily visited another cafe/stand.

Our accommodation was a pleasant surprise, we paid £45 for a room in a place called “the bird exclusive guest house” and it is the nicest place we have stayed in Morroco, they even served us two free beers on arrival. Our room was massive with a huge fully slated tiled bathroom and it even had an outdoor pool.
So if Net is not in a good mood tomorrow I will revert back to shacking up in garages. Ginette the reality is, a garage may be luxury we will probably be wild camping for the next couple of nights as we can not find any accommodation past Marrakesh and we arrive are only 15k outside of the city now. Our next update will come from sunny Agadir in 4/5 days time.

wifi very poor therefore only a couple of pictures today, will post more via facebook

we are now in Agadir and we will post our final update tomorrow – wifi still poor