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MCT1503 Morocco - extending the 2015 motorcycle season

Saturday, October 31, 2015 | Angela | Africa

Day 12 from Fes to Chefchaouen

What an amazing ride back to Chefchaouen through the back country hills!
Lots of opportunities to take pictures

Day 11 rest day in Fes

On our rest day in Fes, the spiritual capital of Morocco, we leave the bikes in the parking.
Instead we visited one of the pottery places outside the medina. A most interesting place and you wouldn't believe there is still so much manual labour involved in the production of tiles or china.
This man is working the base dough for the pottery. He needs to make sure that all the tiny stones are removed and the smooth material can be used by the guy who is forming it into any type of shape on his turn table
One of the possible results are these small pieces of mosaic that you can find all over Morocco in palaces, mosques, hotels, etc.
Götz makes sure that everything goes according to plan...
Of course, you can also get a nice fountain for your garden...
The blue gate is one of the entrance portals to the old town of Fes, the Medina.

Obviously, the people from the pottery have been doing a good job here, too.

Blue from this side...
... and green from the other side. Green is the colour of the Islam, whereas blue represents the colour of Fes
By walking through the incredible maze of the souk you'll be immersed into a completely different world
The "Medersa", the coran school amidst the busy medina, sucks you right out of the busy alley for a moment and into a quiet patio
And you'll find fine artwork of wood, plaster and, of course,...
...of clay tiles
This tour, we were very lucky. We got the opportunity to take a look into an yet unfinished Riad. A riad is a house that is completely closed up to the outside, meaning that there are no windows to the outside. Whereas to the inside you can very well find windows.
The reason for that you'll only notice if you step inside such a Riad. It is absolutely quiet and relaxing. All the stress and the hectic rush stays outside. Most enjoyable
In some places we could still see what this riad must have looked like in earlier times. So parts of it will be restored and part of it will be built newly.
You have a magnificent view over the Fes medina from the roof top
View from the top into the patio
This is another riad's patio. The unfinished riad might look very similar once it is finished.
But most of the time while walking through the Fes medina, you wouldn't even recognise what beauty is hidden behind some of the walls.
The only means of transport within this 260 hectar medina.
One of the numerous mosques inside the old town...
...and more artwork

Day 10 from Erfoud to Fes

We are sad that we are supposed to leave the warm area of Erfoud again, today.
But, of course, there is more to see and we are looking forward to a wonderful ride over the Atlas mountains to Fes.
There is this type of truck... (please, notice the type of loading... )
...and there is also this type of truck (...and way of loading )
On the way...
Tagine - the typical Moroccan dish

Day 9 rest day in Erfoud

Arriving in Erfoud, the majority of the group went with tour guide Pablo into the desert to get the real feel of the Berber life. Onto the camel, into the dunes and off they went...
So this is a home of a Berber nomad. It is simple but has all you need, in fact one of the best food on tour everybody said.
The clouds in the evening made it hard to watch the stars, but the sunrise the next morning was spectacular
Franz and Rudi, our always good-humoured Austrians, soaking in the warmth of the first sun rays...
Grace on "high heels"
Andrew was renamed "Lawrence of Morocco"
The group with Pablo "sweeping"
Well, don't think that the rest of the group lazed around at the relaxing hotel pool area...
Götz displayed another exemplar of his t-shirt collection
And the next morning Angela went with Götz and Hans-Peter as far south as the paved road would take them in Morocco, which was the village of Taouz, close by the Algerian border.
A very peaceful and layed-back place. The only excitement was our big gummy-bear dealing away his little gummy-bears to the local children
One of the houses in Taouz
Well, this is the end of the paved road south of Merzouga
Well, there is not much to see out there, but this is exactly what makes this place so wonderful - no advertisement, no signs, no noises...
On our way back, of course, we went by the place where the camels are and where the group had left for the desert night the day before.
Amazing play of colours out here
Do you like the camels, Hans-Peter?

Day 8 from Boulmane Dades to Erfoud

Down here, one gorge follows another. On our way to Erfoud we went through the Gorge du Thodra. But unfortunately we couldn't ride very far. The amount of rain of the past couple of days put some damage to the road.
Götz checked it out for us.
But the Moroccans would not be Moroccans if they didn't find a way around a problem
Rain came down in various places today. For most part of the day we could watch it from the distance. Spectacular views!

Day 7 from Ait Benhaddou to Boulmane Dades

The first highlight of the next morning was the Atlas film studio. The unique Moroccan landscape and the good light made this place popular with the filming industry
This was a setting for the movie Kundun.
"real" on one side and fake on the other side
This is NO FAKE though! Götz is REALLY so STRONG!
In the afternoon we were steering our bikes through the Gorge du Dades. Grace mastered it gracefully!

Day 5 rest day in Marrakech

Our rest day in Marrakech led us through the many alleys of the Medina. Among the many impressions all around us we went into a special restaurant even before lunch...
...it was the Dar Assalam where a scene of Hichkock's movie "the man who knew to much" was shot.
This Moroccan lady showed us how a carpet is woven. Depending on the pattern she does, it will take up to 18 months until the carpet is finished, and it might even involve a second woman to assist her.
The souk inside the medina is an unbelievably huge "supermarket"
You can get almost anything there to buy. Hans-Peter and Rudi trying to make a bargain
Different types of olives and preserved lemons in jars
The "Jamma al Fnaa" the famous central place in Marrakech changes its face completely at night. It is an experience walking through the food stands and watching the musicians and all the other artists on the place.
Great choice of food!

Day 6 from Marrakech to Ait Benhaddou

The next morning, Marrakech spit us out again and we made our way over the Atlas mountains towards Ait Benhaddou. What first looked like a day full of rain turned into a wonderful sunny afternoon on the other side of the Atlas mountains.
Andrew enjoying himself to the full
What a great road, eh Jim?
None of us knew we had an "enlightened genie" amongst us until we came to the hotel in Ait Benhaddou
Pablo is following the advice on Götz' T-Shirt right away

One of the last Edelweiss tours of the 2015 motorcycle season has been starting out and is alsready on it's way since the past 4 days.

A group of 8 riders from USA, Canada, Switzerland, Austria and Germany was eager to find out about Morocco's beauty and their wonderful inhabitants, let alone about the riding.

It wasn't actually a big surprise to hear at the beginning of the tour, when some of the participants told me about the worries their friends were having back home when they heard that they would go and travel Morocco by bike. 

Same as the Sultanate of Oman in the Middle East, Morocco is a Kingdom and thus is one of the Arab countries which are very moderate, peaceful and extremely hospitable.

Already within these first couple of days all the worries were dissolved into nothingness, as soon as we got into contact with the people at the border or in Chefchaouen, our first destination.

So, we would like to take you with us and invite you to follow and explore with us this warm and colourful country of Morocco...

Day 1 from Malaga to Ceuta

The first day, however, we got a little bit "washed" by the heavy rain on the morning ride from Malaga to the port of Algeciras. Because of that we had to skip the winding mountain roads of the Andalusian mountains as well as Gibraltar. No point in going there... the rock had disappeared in clouds...
This is Franz from Austria. Look at him and keep him in mind - he is the best example of pure joy when it comes to riding a motorcycle... give him one and you can watch the smile in his face appear instantly
Here is his friend Rudolph... the two of them together are a unique mixture. You can hear them laughing, giggling and telling fun stories all day long. It never gets boring with those lads
What started out in the rain, turned into a sunny evening with a nice short ride around the peninsula of the autonomic Spanish city of Ceuta (but already on the African continent)
Here is James from the USA. One of the adventurous, ready-to-explore guys on tour. Great to have you with us, James
Andrew from the USA and Grace and Chak from Canada. How wonderful it is to get to know people and learn about their lives. Another great part of travelling
This is Götz from Northern Germany. We like his deadpan humour that he brought with him from Germany to South Spain, where he now lives. Having been riding motorcycles throughout all his live, he now just thought it would be about time to go and see Morocco...
Well then... finally, in the evening, and only from the far distance the rock of Gibraltar would give us the honour of showing up for a couple of minutes...
...before the sun would set
On the other side of the peninsula of Ceuta the view of Morocco was very promising.
Some impressions of our walk through the city of Ceuta
Ceuta's main attraction is the fortified wall from the 13./14. century

Day 2 from Ceuta to Chefchaouen

What this is, you are wondering? What a question... this is boot tee instead of boot beer Welcome to Morocco
Autumn is the time for the pommegranate! Yummy, yummy! They are so tasty and sweet... delicious
a tree full of pomegranates
Yippey, we are in! Border procedure done - surprisingly, within no time.

Well, at first, Morocco appeared to be everything else but a warm country...
...but the rain could not wipe away the smiles of any of our faces. Here are James, Grace and Rudolf withstanding the wet weather...
...so did Chak and Götz...
...and Andrew and Hans-Peter.
Hans-Peter, by the way, came all the way from Switzerland with his own bike - a trustworthy Triumph Explorer
Well, how could we not be happy, having a happy Pablo as our tour guide of the day
And very much to our surprise the skies cleared up soon after. The coastal road was just a dream to coast along.
Colourful places everywhere
The best places are usually hidden away and hard to recognise. Just like this little seafood restaurant.
These two Moroccans are the magicians in the kitchen...
...producing this delicious seafood platter
Götz is surprised about the place and likes it
In the afternoon we arrived in Chefchaouen, the famous little town in the North Moroccan mountains
Just in time for a stroll through town where we admired the eye-catching blue coloured houses
Some of us couldn't resist shopping colourful things as well. We barely managed to safe Pablo from spending his money on this model of the latest hat fashion...

Day 3 from Chefchaouen to Rabat

Next morning we were up, up, and away for Morocco's capital city of Rabat.
It is not unusual to meet any type of "traffic" on the roads here. But since Moroccan's are very calm and laid-back, scenes like this are nothing to worry about.
Hans-Peter is enjoying the backroads of the Chefchaouen foothills
Grace is astonished by the beautiful landscape up here
And Götz is relaxed and cool anyways
The roads are winding nicely through the backcountry
This is Chak from Canada, enjoying his BMW 1200 GS
Another great and sunny riding day ended with a walk through Rabat's souk. This is probably the most authentic local one you can find in a bigger Moroccan city.
Nice architecture... watch out especially for the "modern" door lamp...
Huge amounts of dried fruits and nuts in the market
Gives you a good feeling - the police is present all over the country. This is the first female police officer I met. Thumbs up!!!

Day 4 from Rabat to Marrakech

From Rabat we continued further south via Casablanca to Marrakech. In "Casa", as the locals affectionately call their commercial capital, we were visiting the worlds 4th largest Mosque. Only the ones of Mekka, Medina and in Indonesia are bigger.
However, the tower of the King Hassan Mosque here is the highest in the world, measuring 210 meters (690 ft) !

Tomorrow will be our restday here in Marrakech. Come back then to see more of Morocco...

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