Wednesday 9th March ~ To Marakkech
Well I’ve gone over my notes for this day and it was quite simply a fair days ride – 218 miles. No dramas, no alarms and no suprises. So this should be a short report then. However, I will take the opportunity to add in some (smug grin here) rather good photos wot i took.
Pleasant days ride says my journal. Up at 6.30 for a 7a.m. departure. Left Rabat in rain It got quite heavy too. Something that struck me as we left Rabat was the coastline – a winding road took us out of the town and was a rugged edge between sea and land. Old defence points crumbling slowly into the sea – invaluable perhaps in times past, totally out of place today. That was on our right – to our left was the very strange sight of rich and poor, living side by side. Luxury apartment blocks with security gates and modern enclosed housing estates, the heaviest traffic being school buses picking up their charges. Literally right beside these would be shacks and little shanty towns, with rooves of sheet tin and walls of mud…. with satellite dishes dotted about everywhere! To me it looked just so surreal. For Morocco, obviously not.
The Rain. This still suprises though why I dont really know. It’s not like I should be suprised – it’s rained every effin day so far! We did an hours ride and then stopped for coffee and croissants.
Some were a little tired though after a good night last night…
The ride continued. The weather drying out but the wind got worser and it was cold. Further on and as it dries out, it gets dusty. We’ve farmland at the roadside. Looks useful, looks good. But the poverty is obvious – no escaping that. The road quality varies – but no big deals – it’s just ‘bad’ not ‘aw ffs! this is woeful!’ Some nice sweeping bends, but it’s mostly quite flat and straight. Halfway through the day the Atlas mountains start to grow to our left. This is an aspect of a long ride that I really love – to see the geology grow before you and the features that make a country what it is, sort of ‘present’ themselves to you. You’d never get this perspective on a short run or a tourist type holiday. Only by making a big dent in a continent can you appreciate this. An aspect that reoccurs more and more as we head south. a part of the trip that will always be in my memory – to bring back to mind, like a good photo album.
Smell and memory; now there’s a thing. Every country has its own smell. Morocco smells slightly tangy, like a spice, but with a lingering tone of burnt wood from open fires. Nice.
So, let’s have some pics now.
Not much in the way of features as the day went on. At one point, about 3/4 of the way through the day, having been on a dead straight well surfaced road for a considerable distance we approached what appeared to be a large resort town, with a very impressive massive arched gateway for an entrance. But just as we got to this entrance – the road veers off to the right. Resort totally deserted, heading for dereliction, only a few locals about to prove it’s not quite a ghost town. What was that about?! What the hell happened here? So much effort and work and yet left to rot?
It looked like an Arabian version of Butlins – but abandoned just after construction, no, not even ‘after’ but before completion! This was not the first nor last sight like this that we’d see that defied explanation. Worse was that it’s not like you could stop and ask a local what the story was. Intrigued yet again and left wondering more and more.
So, onwards and on to the boreen of a road that now led us away from Butlins of the Desert. Nuff for now / more later.