Ait Ben Haddou to Marrakesh | October 25 | 141 Miles |
From one UNESCO world heritage site to another (this tour is full of them, visiting 6 of the 9 in the country!) today was a ton of fun.. and history.
The day started with a climb out of the saharan desert, pass towns reminiscent of Colorado mountain towns, clinging to the vertical ochre landscape… winding and beautiful. This however, was where the road goes completely away and we ride nearly 10 miles off-road… often slick with mud, always bumpy. Ironically, the dirt section was smoother than the paved sections! Then it goes up and over the High Atlas mountain… over the Tizi N Tichka pass… our high point on the tour if it wasn’t on day 2 or 3 when we crossed the same range but farther East.
The barrier wall climb was fun for me, riding my Heritage like a GS, but not everyone saw it that way… I’ve got the word adventure tattooed on my soul.
Our coffee and tea stop was met with local almonds and walking tour of a remote village kasbah. It’s amazing to see some intricate and ornate artistry hidden inside a literal pile of dirt and straw. A true castle built from the earth around it. After that, we can see the top of the mountains were lost to the sky, covered in what appear to be cold damp clouds… rain gear on.
If you ever wanted to buy a geode while stopped at a stop sign, you can do it in Morocco. All while climbing through olive orchards replete with hunting parties gripped with fresh caught rabbit and something winged, there was someone around trying to sell us brightly colored and crystalloid stones… its the souvenir of the Col du Tichka and available at any price… You want to pay more for less, you can get that there! Hard bargaining is a must, think of it as a primer for tomorrow in the Marrakash markets.
After lunch, we roll though the foothills, all the way into the city… At one point Cole and the tail end of the group got stopped by the police after I was seen passing a lorry in the village, sorry guys!
Frustratingly, and again, right at the moment we get to the wild and crazy traffic… zipping in all directions at once, through ancient archways and numerous dynasties’ walls, my onboard camera batteries die out. And if I stop to swap now, I lose the group and am on my own to find the hotel… possible with my SIM but not easy. Very frustrating. And it’s times like this that I vow never to tour with a group again… then I realize its for an image that I can live without.. a vision that I can enjoy in person and let go. If only!
The hotel tonight is so American in style and scale, we almost forget where we are.. the super-sized cos cos platter and mega tajine on the buffet line keep us in check. I of course eat about 3 oz of food, a new local beer named Flag (basic lager, nothing special for me) and call it a night. There’s laundry, writing and sleep to catch up on if I’m going to survive a the souks tomorrow.