Simon and a couple of his mates flew into Malaga and picked their bikes up from a friend’s apartment basement garage in Cabopino, which is near Marbella. They had already ridden the bikes down from France last summer, but when they arrived, the battery on Simons’s bike was flat, so they had to buy another one for it as jump-starting didn’t work either.
Day 1, the next day, they rode to Algeciras, where they got the ferry across to Tangier and spent the first night in Chefchaeuon, which is a city in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco. It’s known for the striking, blue-washed buildings of its old town and leather and weaving workshops line its steep cobbled lanes.
Day 2, they rode to Fes and had a tour of the Medina, an ancient walled city with narrow, car-free streets, ornamented entryway, and a lively market square. Souk vendors specialize in perfumes, spices, lamps, and leather, and dining choices range from street kebabs to stylish gourmet restaurants.
Day 3, they left in the rain & went up into the mountains of Ifrane at an elevation of 1,665m, the Middle Atlas Mountains, where it was 0 degrees and snowing, but when they arrived in Errachidia 150 miles & 5 hours later it was 22 degrees with glorious sunshine.
Day 4, they decided to explore another mountain route. The locals said that they could not make the trip because of the snow, and they were right! Both Pauls fell off their bikes at slow speed, so they ended up at a small mountain village in the Gorges du Dades and stayed at the Hotel New Mars Dades, which was stunning for the area. https://hotel-newmars-dades.com/#h!/388/0/0/0/1/0/0
Day 5, what a difference a day makes! Merzouga, Sahara Desert, near the Algerian border. It’s known as the gateway to Erg Chebbi, a huge expanse of sand dunes north of town. West of Merzouga is Dayet Srji, a seasonal Salt Lake often dry in summer. When full, it attracts a wide range of migratory and desert birds, including desert warblers, Egyptian nightjars and, occasionally, flamingos.
Day 6, a guide led them through the desert pistes to Zagora, which is a town located in the Draa River valley, at the base of the Zagora mountain, the remains of an Almoravid fortress can still be seen. Simon came off his bike in the sand, which would have been ok if it hadn’t landed on his leg and trapped him underneath it, so by the time they arrived at the hotel, he was in agony.
Day 7, he was still in a lot of pain with his ankle & knee, so they decided to have a rest day and relax by the pool at the delightful Riad Dar Sofian hotel.
Day 8, back on the tarmac today and a long ride to Taroudant, which is a city in the Sous Valley of southwestern Morocco. It is situated east of Agadir on the road to Ouarzazate, the Sahara Desert, and south of Marrakesh. Simon had put the wrong destination in his satnav, and they should have been further south at Tafraoute, 3 hours away!
Day 9, they rode south to Tafraoute, where they should have been yesterday, a town in the Souss-Massa region in the central part of the Anti-Atlas Mountains.
Day 10, after a 5 ½ hour ride on narrow winding mountain roads, they arrived at the small village of Tizi n’Test near Mouldikht at an elevation of 2,100m and enjoyed chicken tagine in the small hotel restaurant.
Day 11, another long day, 6 ½ hours to reach Essaouira which is a port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. 18th-century seafront ramparts protect its medina (old town) called the Skala de la Kasbah, designed by European engineers. Old brass cannons line the walls, and there are ocean views. Strong “Alizée” trade winds make the city’s crescent beach popular for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Day 12, they decided to have a day off & give Simon’s leg a rest as he was still in a lot of pain.
Day 13, the final leg of the tour along the coast 700km/440mile 7 ½ hours to Tangier, where they had a late crossing, so they arrived back at the apartment in Cabopino at midnight.
Day 14, they wanted a proper breakfast, so they went to Harmons, the Irish bar down the road, for a full English, then spent the afternoon on the beach (or in the beach bar!), and in the evening, they went for a meal at Da Bruno’s
Day 15, Paul, who lives in France, had an early flight back whilst Simon & Pauls were later in the evening, so they went to the port to watch the United game before going to the airport.
So to sum up the trip……….
Rain, snow, sun
Mountains, desert, swimming pools, beaches
Injury’s & sunburnt faces
Camels in the desert & goats up trees in the mountains
Tagines, tagines & more tagines!