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Old 01-27-2014, 04:38 AM   #1
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Morocco on VFR 1200 FD. A dream come true.

Morocco. A dream come true.

29 days, 11 525 km .

Moscow (Russia)- Ljubljana (Slovenia) - Piran (Slovenia) - Genoa ( Italy) - Tangier (Morocco ) - Rabat (Morocco) - Casablanca ( Morocco) - El Jadida ( Morocco) - Safi ( Morocco) - Essaouira (Morocco) - Marrakech ( Morocco) – Ait-Ben-Haddou ( Morocco) - Ouarzazate ( Morocco) - Merzouga ( Morocco) - Meknes ( Morocco) - Tangier ( Morocco) - Algeciras (Spain) - Malaga (Spain) - Granada (Spain) - Almeria ( Spain) - Cartagena (Spain) - Alicante (Spain ) - Valencia (Spain) - Barcelona (Spain) - Nimes (France) - Piacenza (Italy) - Passes Gavia, Stelvio, Sella ( Italy) - Moscow.
Morocco. Since childhood, this country seemed to me something mysterious, elusive and exotic. And stories of my father, and huge tangerines and oranges, which he brought back from business trips - only fostered a strong desire to visit the country sometime. And if you have a dream - it is necessary to put into practice, what we have begun with my husband Robert in the last day of August 2013, of course, with our Honda VFR 1200 FD.

First Photo - paid 10 $. We found it in our mailbox upon returning home.

We started our trip in Moscow (Russia) and on the second day we arrived to Ljubljana (Slovenia), and we have established a small personal record: on the first day, we drove 1510 km during 14 hour 30 min., including border passage of Belarus-Poland.

I think we come to Ljubljana more often than in our country house and it's all because of our friend Sebastian (Seba), also a motorcyclist, who at that time could not go with us on a big trip, but was glad to spend with us 2 days on the sea.

The next day, Seba drove us thru the forest, winding roads to Piran – nice Slovenian Mediterranean town, where we spend great 2 days together with Seba, his friend Damir (he is GS driver like Seba) and two bottles of home made vodka.

Time on the sea passed quickly, so we said goodbye to Seba in italian Trieste and traveled to Genoa - the ferry to Tangier (Morocco) went the next morning. We had not been in Genoa two years and immediately felt the changes: military conflicts in the countries of northern Africa significantly increased the number of refugees from the continent and walking on the evening, and especially the night streets of the old town has become even more dangerous - only lighted avenues along the waterfront.

In the morning, 4 hours prior to departure (as we later understood, you can come for an hour), we came to boot on the ferry. For motorcycles allocated special, tent sheltered waiting place, and all the other cars stand behind. And this we have never seen: on the roofs of most cars were huge bales of things, as if they were collected from all nearest garbage dumps (or stolen?). Old bikes, sprawling wooden and plastic tables and chairs from cafe stores - all these Moroccans bring to home. Then, deep in Morocco we saw an open-air market in which all these are being sold, including there was huge mountain of old shoes, in which potential buyers were trying to find paired shoes.

We had to spend 2 days on the ferry , with stop for a couple of hours in Barcelona. We met Helge - a German who lives in Italy for a long time. He's on BMW R1150RT also planned to conquest of Morocco, so we decided to join together, the more all bikers, came on the ferry in Genoa, went out in Barcelona and in the hold were only two our motorcycles - well, God ordered. )))

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Old 01-27-2014, 04:40 AM   #2
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At the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, the ferry sails between the famous Pillars of Hercules - the Rock of Gibraltar in Europe (Gibraltar) and the rock Jebel Musa in Africa (Morocco). Feelings are overwhelming when you see from different sides of the ferry the two continents at once.

We went to the port of Tangier all the necessary formalities and changed euro into local currency - Dirham. Immediately large amount, because currency exchange can not be found anywhere and on Saturdays banks are closed. Dirhams can not be exported out of the country, so at the end of travel remaining dirhams can be changed back to its original course, upon presentation of the receipt.
We did not stop in Tangier, and went to the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco - Rabat.

The first impression of the country - a big garbage. On both sides of the highway. periodically we saw huge fields of garbage, in the cities too - much garbage and dirt. Near the walls, that surround the medina (old town), the locals made not only small, but also a great need in front of everyone, everywhere smells bad. Traffic on urban roads are chaotic, rules are not followed, on the roads of cities drive not only cars, but also mopeds, bicycles, carts with donkeys and horses, walking people, and very often they go and go in the opposite way, or dive under your wheels.

So, Rabat. This is our first Moroccan city, the capital . We checked into a nice hotel in the medina and went for a walk. And immediately been caught by one of the local "catcher of fools". We read a lot about it, and so it seemed that we had already not fooled. But he did it very intelligently and unobtrusively …. We just went away from the hotel for 100 meters and stood, staring at the balcony of a house, when well-dressed Arabian man, on good English asked if we knew what kind of house? And so it began .... "Come, I'll show you an interesting ancient gate ... and here, sister, look at this ancient carved passage between homes, brother - you have to take a picture into this keyhole (and indeed there has a very interesting hallways houses). My brothers, my sister, you want to see a real palace, I'll show it to you now! ". Soon, we began to realize that it is not just hospitality, and we would have to pay money. But arabian man is really very interesting told and showed us places, that in single mode we would have never seen: for example an awesome old riad (traditional Moroccan house-palace with an interior garden), which is currently under restoration. As a result, we gave 15 euros per person to riad worker (certainly a good friend of our guide) and our guide at the end of few hour excursion, asked us 30 euros from person! It is VERY expensive for Morocco! Helge gave him the money at once, but we were not happy with Robert about prospect of losing another 60 euros, in addition to already given earlier 30 euros in Riad. Half an hour of coaxing, listening the stories about 4 hungry children - we were able to bring down the price to 40 euros only. But in any case we do not regret - it was really very interesting and informative time.

In the morning we had to try to get out of the hotel "parking".

Casablanca. In the town is nothing to do, but we came because of the mosque Hassan II, which is one of the biggest in the world, with the tallest minaret - 200 meters. Unfortunately, right in front of us the mosque was closed for excursions, so we were satisfied just by visual inspection.

From Casablanca, we went on the highway to El Jadida, but Helge afraid to break the speed limit, and Robert could not stand to go on a great highway at 130 km. /hr, so Helge first behind us, and then we lost him from the view. Robert and I came to El Jadida and waited Helge, and periodically try to call him. Robert even decided to freshen up quickly - the first swimming in the ocean.

Finally, we phoned Helge. He decided to catch up to us and while overtaking a truck was caught on police radar at 150 km. /hr. Accordingly, next police patrol had to stop him, as most of road police working in couple - first one policeman catches you on the radar, and after a few kilometers his partner tries to pull you out of traffic. Helge, hiding behind cars, slipped a second policeman, accelerated, and on emotions drove past the turn to El Jadida. We decided to meet with him after 150 km. in Safi, where we went on a scenic road along the ocean.

Safi. I do not even know how to write more tolerant .... We met Helge and decided to stop for the night in this city, we put bikes to the secure underground parking next to the hotel and went for a walk. The town has no beach, there is a crap promenade with hashish smoke-filled people, one of them even wanted to snatch the bank with Fanta out of my hands, but from a terrible roar of Robert he stopped. In the morning we discovered that someone had stolen the cover from our motorcycle and cut down toy "angry bird" from topcase lattice. The security guard was trying to say that he does not understand anything, but Helge knowing little French, started yelling at him, so that even I was ready to give all our money Helge. The guard gave 200 dirham (about 20 euros) and we left this "pretty" city.

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Old 01-27-2014, 04:43 AM   #3
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We drove again along the ocean, beautiful road, except awful smell of phosphate factory near Safi.

I would like to say a few words about the tagine - stewed in a special dish meat / fish and vegetables. The most delicious and cheap tagines we found at the gas stations. Helge even said that thanks to us with Robert, he discovered such an option as a lunch at the gas station, which he never did before.

Beautiful Essaouira with long, sandy beaches, seemed to us like a paradise on earth, after a terrible Safi, and the first line glamorous hotel with swimming pool, finally convinced us to relax on the beach . Besides the colorful medina, there is a fishing port in Essaouira. Very interesting to watch the fishermen which unloading boats, salted the fish, periodically throwing part of the catch to seagulls and cats, traded with customers, weave new networks. The port lives their own special life. But in Essaouira and we found a small spoon fly in the ointment: the first (and last) time we gave our things in the laundry at the hotel. As a result, on my motorcycle pants, in one location, appeared the spots as if discolored acid!
Of course, the pants are not new, but in any case - very unpleasant. It was useless to make trouble, so we did not pay for the laundry. The phrase which became the slogan in Morocco, and which Helge even learned to pronounce with a sigh, in russian language, without an accent: "Eto norma, eto Afrika!" (This is the norm, this is Africa!)

Argan Biosphere Reserve. Morocco - the only place in the world where argan trees grow, the fruit of which makes valuable argan oil. Argan nut covered hard shell, and to avoid damaging the kernel during the splitting, since ancient times used natural cleaning method: local goats love argan nuts and passing them through the digestive tract - give valuable shelled nut kernel.
The most interesting thing in this story and why we went to look for these goats - that's how they collect argan fruit. Goats grazing in the trees!

It was the last day on the ocean, so we had a small photo session and went deep into the country - in Marrakech.

On the road to Marrakech we met this little tornado. It crossed the road in front of us, and I made video.

The closer we drove to Marrakesh, the hotter it became, and in the city our board computer showed 40 degrees. We began to look for a hotel in the medina, but mindful about the "protected" parking in Safilot - more meticulously examined place for our motorcycles .
In the end, soaked through with sweat, quarreled with the police, who would not let us to drove to the hotel in the pedestrian zone (switched off and push heavy moto, although there were a lot of different driving mopeds), we left the medina and found near it the modern hotel with parking. Prior to entering the hotel garage, motorcycle Helge issued an explosive sound and switched off.
Somehow we switched on it and drove into the garage where on closer inspection found that in the area of the injector the petrol slightly sprinkles outside. It became clear that some pipe is torn and motorcycle needs service. Helge had formalized agreement about Assistance, by which it was possible to arrange a free evacuation, but only to the official service of BMW. And here we were very surprised by the vaunted "BMW owners support around the world" when Helge dial by phone at BMW Motorrad Marrakesh and outlining the problem, got the answer that now (tuesday) they are very busy with other orders and will be able to see (just see!!!) motorcycle only next monday!... Long time Helge tried to explain to them that he is a foreign traveler and that he need to go on the ferry the next day, eventually representatives of BMW Motorrad Marrakesh agreed to see the bike after 3 days, on Friday! We informed the Assistance company about refusing from official representative of BMW, and started to wait any other offers.
Honestly, Marrakech was not impressed, maybe because of the daytime heat and tiredness, and maybe because of the strongest gas concentration (in Moroccan cars missing a catalyst, somehow). We even wanted to spend the evening at the hotel, but gathered his strength, and went to the evening Jemaa el Fna Square, declared by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage. And did not regret! It is a theater, restaurant and open-air market, absolutely awesome place like nothing on earth, and that we will remember for a long time.

Robert and I had a limited amount of days in Morocco, while Helge had more days, because he was returning to Italy by ferry, and we were supposed to go on the ground. So we decided that we will solve the problem with the service for Helge and then continue our trip separate. In the morning Robert and Helge on our VFR went to explore a moto-service, which advised in our hotel, but Assistance company call and reported that they found moto-service and Helge`s bike will be transfer there free. Tow truck was supposed to arrive in 2 hours, so we said goodbye to Helge and went through the outstanding beauty of the High Atlas mountain pass to town Ouarzazate.

Atlas mountains now have a special place in our hearts, because such a variety of colors we have not seen before: red, yellow, brown, gray. A mud houses of local villages very organically fit into the surrounding landscape - they are the same color as the surrounding mountains. But there is one major disadvantage of the high mountain passes of the Atlas: ride on them not only cars and motorcycles, but also trucks! We constantly had to make overtaking slow driving and smoking black smoke laden trucks on mountain serpentines.

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Old 01-27-2014, 04:46 AM   #4
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Not far from the Ouarzazate there is another UNESCO World Heritage Site - Ksar (fortified town) Ait-Ben-Haddou. In this picturesque Berber village removed a lot of Hollywood movies, and after filming all the artificially constructed decorations disassembled and Ksar gets its original appearance.

Ouarzazate town famous for film studio Atlas, built specifically for the convenience of film production in Moroccan beauties, as well as Ksar on the outskirts, but not so beautiful as Ait-Ben-Haddou. It was getting dark, so we looked for a hotel. Found a cheap hotel for 9 euros per room - is the cheapest hotel in all our travels. Though there is no shower, toiletries and towels, but there were three beds with linens, and we put the bike right in the hotel lobby, prying off for this part of paving slabs.
During all these days we are so accustomed to Helge that have already begun to miss him. We wrote him a message asking where he is, how is he? And in response got a very strange sms, meaning that we do not understand with Robert: "Look near a motorcycle, I have a nose for friends!". A few minutes later we walked out of the room and saw Helge BMW near our VFR! There was a stormy friends meeting))) It turns out that in Marrakech Helge quickly sorted with damage (some pipe jumped off), and remembering that we went to Ouarzazate, very quickly drove on the high mountain pass. Helge exactly has a nose for friends, find the same hotel as we are, it was very surprising!

In the morning, once again we parted with Helge, because he rode through the valley of Draa to watch Tinfu dunes, and we were going to the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, with starting on a fantastic beauty and Dades Gorges and Todra Gorges.

The road to the dunes of Erg Chebbi.

In the small village of Merzouga, we settled for 2 days in an authentic hotel on the edge of a sand dune. Took an excursion - walk a camel to meet sunrise in the Sahara. Berber man came at 5 a.m. and immersing us on 2 camels and led us into the desert. I do not understand, how in the old days, people for several months traveled through the desert on camels - horrible shakes, swings, camel periodically slides on the slopes, not the most pleasant experience! After 40 minutes, our guide stopped and said that further to the top of the biggest sand dune, we'll walk. Oh God, it was the most difficult climb in our lives! On a height of 250 meters we climbed within 1 hour, and in the end even tried to crawl)).
Unfortunately, this day was pretty cloudy, so sunrise we have not seen, but in any case, the view is awesome!

Closer to the evening of the second day started sandstorm - the breath of Sahara. Strong wind with tiny specks of sand, and to be outside in this weather is not quite possible. The storm was all night, so early in the morning when we saw a small gap, we hurriedly packed up and drove through the Atlas mountains to the Meknes town. In conclusion we done staging photo with specially captured camel:

To be continued.........
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:43 AM   #5
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The road through the pass was difficult, because there was a strong rainfall, then the rain stopped and the wind blew so strong, that we could travel at speeds not over 40 km. /hr, and periodically, we were little blown away from the road.

And not far from the town of Ifrane we met a charming locals (at first we thought it was a hallucination). It is good, that we had not eaten package with dried fruit, that just in case we took from Moscow!

The rain started, so having driven in Meknes, with blurred dirty roads, familiar smells of the medina, traffic jams of cars, people and donkeys, our mood has deteriorated significantly, and we decided to go further, in the direction of Tangier.

Last night in Morocco and in the middle of the day we were already in the port of Tangier. We gave our last dirhams for helper in the port, went through huge scanners (Morocco - the world leader in hashish production) and loaded onto the hydrofoil ferry, that an hour of strong pitching took us to the Spanish Algeciras.

Goodbye Africa, hello Europe!

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Old 01-27-2014, 08:45 AM   #6
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We read many different reports about travel in Morocco, so we were mentally prepared for this country and did not wait the European sleeky, clarity and accuracy. It's like another planet with its own culture, rules and way of life. Yes, there is a lot of dirt, garbage, sanitation, medinas filled with flavor of excrement, a lot of the poor people, all the time someone is trying to get your money. But on the other hand, there is absolutely stunning nature, architecture, delicious food, and people turn out to be very friendly and interesting to talk to. After a few days, you start to understand some details of existence in this Arab country, and it becomes much easier. But personally, we could not stand there for more than 9 days, too much contrast and want back to civilization. But after some time, realizing all experienced and seen, you understand that you want to return to Morocco once or twice ...

So, civilized Spain. We spent the night in resort Malaga and early in the morning went to Granada. A beautiful city with delicious cakes piononos, friendly police and the Alhambra - a famous Moorish palace-fortress with magnificent gardens.

Most of the next day we spent on the mountain serpentines of the National Park of Sierra Nevada.

And the remainder of the day - in resort Almeria.

The next day we went to Cape Cabo de Gato, belongs to the natural reserve of the same name. We decided to drive to the sea and make a staged photo. After the below video, the time for fitness came for us, during 1 hour .....

There was desolate countryside, and a few gentle Spaniards, which we stopped, simply refused to help us: cyclists referred to the fact that in their super cool sneakers can not walk on the sand, and the car driver said that in his snow-white shirt can not engage in any physical labor. I think, during the whole hour that we dug / pushed our FVR, the whole Spanish nation strongly hiccuped!

But the beauty of Cape Cabo de Gato radically changed our bad mood.

Cartagena. This ancient port town is famous for its ancient archaeological sites, maritime museum and fine examples of urban architecture. We really liked how in Cartagena retain the appearance of the old town: the old, ramshackle house demolished, leaving only one front wall and then build out to it a new home. Honest, we saw this for the first time.

In Alicante we stopped for an hour, seeing famous seafront Esplanade with a mosaic pavement, had lunch and drove on.

From the motorway we saw a huge monument of human stupidity: in Benidorm town built 47 storey house, which is the tallest residential building in Europe, but they forgot to make an elevator! Construction had to be completed in December 2013, but they say that only 35% apartments were sold. Perhaps, the buyers of apartments composed in a Society of Spanish climbers.

Valencia met us heat, traffic jams and the lack available places in the five hotels located in the center. Also, discharged battery in the foto-camera. We decided to look for accommodation outside the city.

In a small, quiet town we had a two day stay at the beach.

Last day in Spain we decided to spend in Barcelona, ​​which we liked so much on last year's trip. As usual, Barcelona boils fun, festival-concert-tourist life.

After such a contrast Morocco, where the landscape is constantly changing, the shape of houses and the materials from which they are constructed, the clothes ofpeople (especially women), the road through the south of Spain seemed to us quite boring, not so rich colors like in Morocco. The only thing that the more we removed from the African continent towards France, the more everything becomes green around.
We got through France for the day, with a stops for sightseeing in Nξmes

and Eze.

We spent the night in Cannes and in the morning went to the Italian Piacenza, to visit Helge, who has already returned from Morocco. How we were happy to see him! And we had a great time at his home.

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Old 01-27-2014, 08:46 AM   #7
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In the morning, the third time in the last 2 weeks, we tearfully said goodbye to Helge and went to our loved Alps, where we spent two days. I will not even attempt to describe the usual words all of beauty that we have seen, some of them not the first time. You'll see all the photographs.

Gavia Pass.

Stelvio Pass.

We spent the night in a comfortable hotel with very hospitable hosts, which fed us delicious free breakfast.

Dolomites. Sella Pass.


Pass Forcella Lavardet, on which drive is prohibited, as though .... We were able to pass only the most impressive part, further was impassable gravel road for our VFR.

Here's how it looks from above. Photo from

We've traveled enough in the Alps, before the long Russian winter, and without going to Ljubljana (Seba went in a small Motorcycle tours through Croatia with friends ), we went home, and it get 3 days instead of 2, as usual. It was pretty cold, from +9 in Poland, to +5 in Russia, so we had to go very slowly, with frequent coffee stops at gas stations.
That ended our greatest journey, a dream come true! Motorcycle wintering in the garage, and we stand at the wall map ... look at Tunisia. Eto norma, eto Africa!

All fotos here
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:48 AM   #8
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And finally - a short video

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Old 01-27-2014, 08:57 AM   #9
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Bloody hell guys, l've never seen so many photos posted onto one page on ADVRider before, & every one of your photos was interesting & well taken!!
Thanks for sharing your trip, & I look forward to hearing more of your travels!!!
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:25 AM   #10
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Fantastic RR! Love seeing that VFR1200 in those settings - in full adventure mode!
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:28 AM   #11
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Thank you for that. Your photos are fantastic.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:05 AM   #12
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Great RR!! Fantastic photos!! Great seeing the VFR in a RR!! The VFR is a GREAT ride!
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:36 AM   #13
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Wow ...

Thanks for sharing
those pictures look AWESOME
Nice VFR
My is 6th Gen
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:48 PM   #14
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Nice RR! And the pictures were excellent.

You should come ride in the Western United State one day; it's a perfect playground for the VFR1200!

A VFR rider
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:09 PM   #15
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Excellent ride report! I also enjoyed your video very much. Thank you for posting them! Interesting to see a report on Morocco featuring road bikes!

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