Hi blog readers, just to clarify, Chris our driver is the fabulous writer of these blogs. Chris then emails them to me and I cut and paste them onto the website. This will also be the first attempt for me to put piccies on too, so I will try and see how that goes. But below first is the latest trip description from Chris and the gang.
Our first port of call after Rabat was Meknes, on route to Volubilis.
The Moroccans seem to get a perverse pleasure out of not signing anything, so consequently we drove around town in circles for two hours! We came across a truck park, and as it was quite late, used that to park up in for the night. Most slept in the truck due to rain. The following morning showed that the innocuous looking truck park was a cunningly disguised mud bath, our first bogging! In a city! Managed to get out with some strategic digging and grunt from all pushing the old girl. Left a rather large trail of destruction in our wake, and coated the tarmac in mud for a km or so. Serves ‘em right!
The road was eventually found, in no small part due to Jaap’s GPS, and we met the “flash packers” at the ruins. Volubilis are the largest and best preserved Roman ruins in Morocco, with loads of mosaics still intact. A good few hours was spent exploring. Then on to Fes.
The first night in Fes was spent relaxing at the campsite, where Paul and Stephen H whipped up a pretty good rendition of a chicken curry. Then we hit the campsite bar, with Moroccan singers and music to liven the evening. Kath managed to get two Moroccan men fighting over her and was whisked to the safety of her tent, before things heated up!
The medina of Fes el-Bali (old Fes) is the largest living medieval Islamic city in the world, and a day was spent winding through the covered bazaars, crammed with shops, restaurants, workshops and mosques. The inevitable carpet and leather shops were part of the guide’s itinerary, and some punters bought some souvenirs. The tanneries were a unanimous highlight, armed with a mint sprig under the nose to ward off the evil smell.
An early start next day and the windy, steep road into the High Atlas beckoned. A lunchtime stop at Azrou had all rugged up, the temp had plummeted. Colder to come! Just out of Azrou we stopped briefly to say hello to some Barbary apes by the roadside, then we hit the snowline. “Snow in Africa!” came the incredulous call. There was so much that we stopped for a snowball fight! Continuing onto the plateau the temp dropped further, and it was getting close to time to look for a bush camp. The snow was about two foot thick at this stage! Eventually we dropped out of the snow line, and about 20km before Rich we found a perfect bush camp behind a pile of gravel left over from road construction. Beautiful moon rise, but a very cold night, down to 2 deg. Some of the lads came under prepared and had an extremely uncomfortable night, guess who?
We are currently in Todra Gorge, so stand by for the next update.
PS Jackie has suggested we should be called African “Trials” instead of Trails. Trial by rain, mud, snow etc.
(Emily Says ‘Easy Jackie, or we’ll force feed you BEETROOT!!!)
Sooner or later the traveller must dispense with the comforts and luxuries of modern accidental methods of travel and adapt himself to those more primitive and decidedly less comfortable of the oriental.
Ernest Henry Wilson from A Naturalist in Western China