Ireland to Morocco 2013

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SuperTENERE, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. SuperTENERE

    SuperTENERE Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    IRELAND
    From Ireland to Morocco on a motorbike

    (this is my first attempt to upload a story to the internet so please be a little patiente :thumb)

    First it was just a dream that seemed so far away and now the plan is coming together.
    I always wanted to travel and explore different continents and cultures, this my first and Harry's second visit to Morocco.
    We travel from Ireland to France, then Spain, Portugal and then into Morocco.
    So you are all invited to follow us on our adventure on 2 BMWs.


    und in Deutsch;

    Von Irland nach Marokko mit dem Motorrad

    Es was seit langem mein Traum und endlich geht es los
    Ich wollte immer reisen und andere Kontinente und Kulturen entdecken.
    Dies ist meine erste Reisen nach Marokko und den Maghreb
    und Harry's zweiter Trip.
    Ihr seid nun all eingeladen und via Internet auf unserem Motorrad - Abenteuer zu begleiten.
    #1
  2. roshoe

    roshoe Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Boston
    I was last in Morocco in 1979,it is such a wonderful place with lots to see and experience. If anyone is thinking of a trip to the African Continent then crossing from Spain to Tangiers will blow your mind.

    Keep on Truckin.
    #2
  3. SuperTENERE

    SuperTENERE Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    IRELAND
    ...
    #3
  4. SuperTENERE

    SuperTENERE Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    IRELAND
    Ireland to Morocco 2013

    (this is my first attempt to upload a story to the internet so please be a little patiente :thumb)

    From Ireland to Morocco on a motorbike

    First it was just a dream that seemed so far away and now the plan is coming together.
    I always wanted to travel and explore different continents and cultures, this my first and Harry's second visit to Morocco.
    We travel from Ireland to France, then Spain, Portugal and then into Morocco.
    So you are all invited to follow us on our adventure on 2 BMWs.


    und in Deutsch;

    Von Irland nach Marokko mit dem Motorrad

    Es was seit langem mein Traum und endlich geht es los
    Ich wollte immer reisen und andere Kontinente und Kulturen entdecken.
    Dies ist meine erste Reisen nach Marokko und den Maghreb
    und Harry's zweiter Trip.
    Ihr seid nun all eingeladen und via Internet auf unserem Motorrad - Abenteuer zu begleiten.


    Below thats me, Barbara, collecting my BMW F800GS last year [​IMG]

    and thats Harry on his roadbike, a BoxerCup Replika. [​IMG]

    Oops, this will be a link to a page about our bikes


    May 16, 2013 GMT
    Meknes a real gem Meknes
    When we drove into Meknes for the first time we did not notice what a gem this place actually is as all we wanted was getting to Marrakech as quick as possible
    Its one of the places I would definitely visit again
    On the way back we unexpectedly had to extend our stay because Harry was not feeling well .
    He was feeling fine when walked up to the medina on the evening we arrived and but we think there was something in the salad that did not agree with him.
    Meknes was once the capital of Morocco under the reign the mighty Moulay Ismail in the 17th/ 18th century.

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    He built the impressive gate Bab Mansour, that leads into the medina with the palace and his mausoleum

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    Sadly, the palace and mausoleum of the Moulay were closed that day, so I decided to head for the Place
    el Hedim and visit the palace Dar Jamai

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    The place much smaller than the Djama el Fna in Marrakech but full of life and cafes were you can relax and watch the world go by
    There are all the gates that lead into the souks and unlike the markets in Marrakech there were almost no Europeans wandering around
    The atmosphere is more relaxed and when we sat there the night before the local kids were brought there by the parent for a ride on the donkeys , ponies or a spin in little electric cars .
    I dived right into the souks and a wold of colour,, the smell of spices, sweets, secret beauty potions and
    food from all corners of the country open up in front of me .

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    Fresh dates, dried apricots, figs lemon and , almonds ,large varieties of nuts, spice, herbs and huile d’Argan were sold in the lane with olives, pickled lemon and fresh herbs.

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    Butchers selling fresh cuts of lamb and goat, fish mongers and the chicken were still alive when they were sold.

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    But what really caught my attention was the large selection of sweets and pastry, I have never seen such a large amount of little artfully decorated pastry, petit fours.

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    I treated myself with a small selection of sweets and when I finally eat them they tasted delicious.

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    It was time for a break and nothing tasts bettter than 2 glases of delicious fresh orange juis, the best in the world, and a salad before I decided to visit the Palace Dar Jamai

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    It was built in 1882 as the residence of the illustrious Jamai family, which included two of Moulay el-Hassan's ministers. Later it was as a military hospital after 1912 and was converted to The Museum of Moroccan Art in 1920.

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    The museum retains the rich traditional decor of painted wood and sculpted plaster and features an exquisite Andalusian garden similar to the Badi Palace in Marrakech .. The museum is devoted to the arts and crafts of the region, including wrought ironwork, wood carving, weaving, leather-work, brass and copper-
    smithing, and other metalwork.

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    And like many other museums and sites in Morocco you can walk around freely .The infrastructure is simple and works well. No shop selling merchandising, no coffee shop. You can always hire a guide if you want some detailed information and there is loads of cafes and shops outside in the nearby souks.
    I could not see any expensive surveillance camreas and I noticed no graffiti or other traces left behind by visitors.
    In many places we visited it seems that vandalism is not common in Morocco
    Things like public parks or place might need some maintenance, might look a bit shabby , but you would not see deliberately damaged park benches, bins set on fire or littering.



    April 30, 2013 GMT
    The Todra gorge When it got time to head north again towards the Atlas mountain we had the option to visit the Dades- or the Todra gorge
    But due to the delay cause by my bike breakdown we choose the Todra gorge
    Thursday evenings are always busy in Moroccan towns, Friday is there day of rest( like Sunday in Europe) and most men head to the mosque for there evening prayer.
    The roads in Tinghir were crowded and we just got to an ATM and then out of town towards the gorge. It gets dark very quickly in North Africa, time is 2hours behind Ireland.
    So we decided to head for the nearest hotel we found on the sat nav we saw the very inviting Kasba Amazir, right beside the Todra river An oasis of peace, with a lush garden, pool and as usual tbey served the traditional very delicious evening meal
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    I never thought that my henna tattoe would be the key to so many friendly conversations with local people. Oh, you're hands look nice , were did youget this done.? Everybody in the hotel noticed it and in shops and restaurants I had a chat here and there , it seems that not many visitors get have the honour of getting a real berber tattooe
    The next morning we had you breakfast in the garden where the birds gave us an concert
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    It was time to checke the bikes and the hotel manager came out for a chat, people are very relaxed in this part of Morocco,
    they also share all the tasks in the Kasba hotels, many of tbem have only a few rooms and not a lot of staff
    Cooking, serving food and cleaning is all done mostly by men, woman work mainly in tbe background and not directly with the guests.
    The Bikes and finally ready we drove in to the Todra gorge and the narrow road was busy with cars, buses and 4x4s. The shallow river attracts not only visitors but also the local woman who come there to wash there clothes and carpets in the water.
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    April 27, 2013 GMT
    The road to Zagora I'm sure many have seen a picture of the sign that says "Timbouctou 52 jours"


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    You find it in the town of Zagora .
    For centurys the caravans started there journey across the sahara desert from here and the town was an impotant centre of trade It is mainly occupied by berbers and you can feel there is a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere than north of the Atlas mountains. The town is very modern and a park with an arena, kids playground and a big pond with geese and ducks has just been opened and invites for a stroll in the evening Zagora is built along the Draa river and on the way from Ouarzazate along the valley you can see one Kasba after another
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    A stretch of palm trees about 1mile wide grows all the way along the riverbed likea big carpet.
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    We decided to leave the main road and try a dirt track that leads along the river. It was merely wide enough for the bikes but to small for cars
    We got on very well at the start,the track ran smoothly though small towns and along palm trees, we stopped for some water and people came walking along to see the u usual visitors.
    And man invited us even to have tee in his garden
    But we were on a mission to get south so we kept going and the track started to get twisty
    Soon the smooth hard surface turned into big loose bits of gravel and we had a few brown trouser moments before we reached the to of the hill.
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    We were later told that this track is usually done on smaller lighter bikes, not heavy ones like ours. The local berbers, of course drive two up on there small 50cc mobilettes and even overtook us
    Or they use donkeys as they do forthe last 2000 years.
    Well ,we did fine and after a rest by the river it got easier again and we decided to get back to the main road
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    After this we needed a rest and spent an extra day at the pool in the lovely Fibule du Deaa hotel
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    April 20, 2013 GMT
    Miracles happen !! 17.04.2013

    Part one
    While I'm typing this I sit in the house of the beber family of Mohamed surrounded by his family and enjoy hospitality as I never did before and it started with a bike break down in the middle of nowhere......
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    After a relxing restday in La Fibule du Draa Zagora we had an early start and headen first for a quick visit to the sand dunes near Tinfou


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    A small strech of Sand dunes on the road to Mhamid, just about 100km from the Algerian border. We took some pictures with Camels included and then we took a new piste north to Tazerin
    Fantastic scenerie, no traffic a bit like a moon landscapeand now and then some bushes and all went smooth until disaster struck;

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    After a water stop the bike started normally and out of a sudden all lights started flashing and then the bike went dead. Battery was okay but as soon as we hit the start button all went dead again We checked all the electrics , the side stand switch .....still nothing.
    The sun was burning as out of nowhere a few kids appeared with a bowl of couscous Hospitality Morocccan style, I dug out some soap books and sweets and they were happy But me and the bike were not, Harry tried everything and still nothing changed.
    Towing was next, and we even got an escort from some locals until we hit the tarmac. Another 50 miles to go and it started to get dark we stopped as a guy on a motorcycle stopped and said he would know a mechanic that can fix the bike
    He invited us into his house and Mohamed' s Mother took care of me and made me sit outside the house and drink sweet and hot tea.,everybody sat along the outside wall relaxing in the warm evening air.
    Harry took off with Mohamed to get his friend the mechanic.
    The whole neighbourhood came to say hello to the crazy woman from Ireland who came all the way on a big bike.
    Mohamed and Harry finally returned after an hour with the mechanic, after crashing three times... off piste... in soft sand ... in the pitch dark ... breaking the bikes screen, luckily that was all that was broken.
    After checking all the electrics the culprit was found, the side stand switch was faulty, and the battery that I was told is okay by bmw motorrad in dublin, was also faulty, bummer!
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    I was not allowed to work on the bike , thats a man's thing I was told. I got a scrub in a mini hammam and though we did not speak the same language we understood each other. [​IMG]
    There were woman , children, men all enjoying the evening and when the muezzin called for the evening prayer the older men rolled out there carpets facing east,
    The rooms in the house have little furniture ,carpets are rolled out and pillow spread out Little tables are used for the food and man and woman eat in seperate places after the Mohamed's father as the head of the house had his dinner Couscous with vegetable and chicken and as dessert fresh oranges and bananas
    When we had all finishes the meal Aisha, the youngest sister of Mohamed went around with a washing bowl and soap so everybody could wash there hands

    Then it was bed time ,carpets and blankets were rolled out.... The family slept out sider in the courtyard and we were offered to sleep in the front room. The girls would not let me go to sleep before they covered the palms of my hands withe henna and then they were stuffes into plastic bags for the night.........
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    Part two
    Sleeping on the floor on carpets was more comfortable than we thought and it was so quiet and you could here only the sound of insects and crickets
    The next morning we got up early and berber breakfast was served. Mint tea,flat bread with a filling of cooked onions that they dip in oil when they eat it and a large dish of noodles.
    With renewed energy Harry and Mohamed groved once more to the next town to get a new battery. They returned quiet quickly with a brand new gel battery. 300 dirhams ,about 30 Euros was the price for it and it is as good as any ones they sell in Europe for more than 100 Euros
    As they went on to fit the battery the mechanic arrived again ,much to our surprise and one..
    two....three they bike was running smoothly again
    He was delighted when we sent him off for a test ride
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    While the lads worked on the bike I sat with the woman and children and more neighbours arrived to say hello .
    The tv in the back played some moroccan soap, a mixture of Indian drama and Coronaition street. The woman do not understand why I dont have children, for the berbers the family is the most valued asset and to have 4-5 children is normal and they said I could have one or two o f theres.
    While Mohamed's oldest son Yussuf went off to school ,Ibrahim and baby Sidi played with the few toys they have .Self made things like a some ribbon with a stick tied to one end and an empty PET bottle to the other and a cuddly toy that looked like a dog, I haven't seen any happier children, they get so much love and attention.,amazing..
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    The town Ait Izzou was also part of a very old ksar or castle and some of the buildings including the remains of a hamam, a public bath, are still in good condition. Aisha and her witty little friend Miriam gave me a private tour through narrow alleys and into courtyards. Some parts that are still used as stables for goats and sheep or storing goods
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    The family has a small garden in the courtyard where they grow some vegetables and herbs.
    it is amazing what can be done on smallest patch of land


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    Time passed so fast and Yussuf was back from school just as it was time for lunch A delicious tagine, bread and fruit,magic We haven' t experienced so much hospitality in a while It soon was time to pack the bikes and get back on the road towards Tazerine.
    The whole family came to say goodbye and wish us luck for the journey I was sad to leave and hope I have the chance to return.....

    April 16, 2013 GMT
    It'SVERY HOT 14.04.2013
    It' s too hot for a lot of writing , so a full report will follow soon We are in Zagora andit is 36º C in the shade ....
    So here a few pictures insteadf
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    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,598
    Enjoying your ride vicariously! :thumb

    Keep it comin' please :lurk
    #5
  6. SuperTENERE

    SuperTENERE Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    IRELAND
    Leaving Ireland, at ferry terminal at Rosslare, Wexford.
    All set for the big trip.

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    Woo-hoo!
    In France and we are on the way

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    Had to stop off at Le Mans, famous for the racing, and the maad 24 Heurs Moto Endurance race week.

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    Headed on down the west coast of France.
    While I think it may be not as scenic as other regions of the country, well... we were on a mission!
    Morocco was our aim.

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    Heading south, yippee!

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    Overnight in the Basque town of Saint Jean de Luz

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    Easter weekend and lots of Chocolate surprises!

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    Yes!
    thats Easter eggs for you, lol

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    Fuel stop, and as you may guess, we are now in Spain

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    The city of Salamanca

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    This was our first taste of Summer and warm blue skies!

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    Then on we headed, on south, over more stunning Spanish countryside

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    and lots more Magic Twisty roads

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    =============================================================

    Anyways... ...

    ...what's that they say about: "the rain in Spain, falls mainly on the plain..." ?

    Well, it seems our trip coincided with the wettest, coldest spring for both France and Spain.

    In France on our arrival from the ferry, we were told the main route from Cherbourg towards Paris was snowbound for two days, only a week before we had set off!

    In many Spanish cities and towns, floods caused havoc for many unfortunate families.

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    Not many 'Rays' for these Solar Arrays to catch:

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    Ahh, sure it must be the luck of the Irish, eh?
    Years of planning, and we hit a '100 years' storm, lol.

    =============================================================

    Now we cross yet more Spanish mountains.
    The country seems to be mainly mountains, woohoo!
    Fantastic country for biking, definitely on my list for a (longer) return visit.

    In the city of Malaga we stop to meet friends, and head off to a local tyre shop to get some TKC 80's fitted.

    Vargas Tyres in Malaga, we praise them big time.
    Great service, and held tourance tyres for return trip too.

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    Now we are all set for the Sahara!

    =============================================================
    #6
  7. SuperTENERE

    SuperTENERE Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    IRELAND
    Last supper in Spain, next dinner will be in Africa, woohoo! :clap

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    Crossing the straits of Gibralter.

    The ferry terminal is ...well, its an experience

    (maad place, lol).

    Its a short trip, just get your tickets at one of the many roadside booths.


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    Finally! We are here, Ireland to Africa. Its sure a big thing for us anyways, so Bring it on!

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    Roman ruins of Volubalis,
    near Meknes

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    "on the road again"

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    The Paysage d'Ito, a spectacular evening crossing of the mountain pass

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    Some budding bikers

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    At the Hotel Cedars in Azrou.

    Town square has just been renovated,

    but hotel still has a 1950's air (and prices too) :D


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    BMers old and new :bmwrider

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    Berber and Arabic writing on the wall of a Berber school.

    We found French was spoken in larger towns, and some Spanish.
    English in Hotels etc., and Arabic in the most Northern parts.

    But Berber is the language and the People.


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    Spring cleaning the carpets

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    Sometimes ya just have to pamper yourselves, haha.

    Above is the view from the balcony of our Kasbah near Asila.

    Time for a chill and a few :beer


    .
    I post some sandy photos later
    #7
  8. BSW

    BSW Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    109
    Location:
    Munster Ireland
    Brilliant adventure ,nice pics ,Can we see more?
    #8
  9. SuperTENERE

    SuperTENERE Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    IRELAND
    On leaving Afourer, and our 'treat' hotel Tazerkounte,

    we headed south into the mountains towards Azilal,

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    below, some local lads on the way to work

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    an artificial lake, caused by a dam on the way

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    more Grand biking roads

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    on the way towards the surprise Ba had in store for me...

    ... The Cascades d'Azoud ,

    I had not heard of it, but since it was on our way,

    sure it wouldn't be polite to pass it by, lol

    ya got to be there :-)

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    Lunch stop first !

    Then tourist sight seeing...

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    =======================================================

    If we had lots of time, we would have loved to stay in the hills and made for Demnat,

    but we didn't, so after a (hot) magic visit to the waterfalls, we rode back to the main road, the N8, towards Marrakech.

    Have to say, that section of road was sh!te.
    (I mean that part of the N8 towards Marrakech)

    Well it was late, and we were breaking the rules, ie., nowhere to stay and it was getting dark... ...

    Sooo...

    ...well we thought, ahh sure Marrakech isn't that far from here, is it ?
    emm is it?

    Stop at a crappy petrol station on the roadside?
    or just keep riding and see what happens,

    and arrive late at night in Marrakech and take our chances?

    "What can possibly go wrong?"

    :rofl
    #9