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Morocco - 5 Weeks in another century

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tomcat9, May 3, 2021.

  1. tomcat9

    tomcat9 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    El Paso, Tx


    Shortly before noon we continued towards Tata. As you can see from the sign above, it was still 140 km (86 mi) to drive. If you didn't could read this right away, remember to read from right to left…. :deal or use the signpost below….:rofl

    Fortunately, all the signs were in Latin script, otherwise we would have had to use a compass.

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    This time there were no big mountains that we had to cross. The desert came closer and closer to us and the landscape was pretty barren the whole time. The mountain ranges looked more like sand dunes. Now and then there was a curve that was warned about way in advance.

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    The street was going straight a lot. Nevertheless, this landscape was also interesting to us because of the difference to our landscape. In Germany everything is green, wherever you look, and so the view is so different that it's beautiful to us.

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    School is over shortly after noon. As you can see from the girls in the foreground, the younger ones also make sure not to show too much of their face. What impressed me is how clean the young people's clothes were. You think everything is full of dirt and dust here when you look around but the people all wear clean clothes. As you can see, jeans is here common too.

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    We arrived in Tata early and looked for something to eat again. Here we were on the main street in a snack bar directly opposite the Al Otaiba mosque. We unpacked our travel guides, ordered drinks and food and looked for a room in Tata. You could sit outside, enjoy your meal and chat….. until the muezzin asks the worshippers to pray.

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    It sounds like this, this time with a reasonably good video ... :-)




    We found a nice hotel with a pool that we could use as we were there relatively early. The stay in the pool area was very pleasant. It's also vacation after all.:jkam


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    In the evening there was a special surprise. First we noticed the beautifully laid table. We are used to having a tablecloth and cloth napkins when we go out to eat in Germany and also that the table is set so nicely. We haven't had it here before.:dukegirl

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    And then there was also wine with dinner ... We could have stayed longer there. And yes, the food was very good too. We were particularly surprised because this beautifully set table was in the pool area and we were the only guests.

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    We planned the tour for the next few days by the pool and enjoyed the evening ...
    #61
    DavidM1, scudo, Saso and 3 others like this.
  2. tomcat9

    tomcat9 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    El Paso, Tx
    I can imagine that. I would have missed the motorcycle too. But you must have had a lot of different impressions than we had as tourists. And you can come back with your motorcycle…. Just saying…:hide

    And btw thanks for doing the medical humanitarian mission. I love to hear that people helping others…
    #62
  3. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,054
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I was hoping to go again next month but the trip would've been ~ 1 month, which is more time than I can take away from my practice.
    #63
  4. zaxrex

    zaxrex Lost in the Ergosphere

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2018
    Oddometer:
    745
    Location:
    Frederick, MD, USA
    Great RR so far, thanks for sharing. I like all the colors, architecture and landscapes. Probably a great exercise to remember all this from 4 years ago, yes?

    I wish it was feasible for me to take 5 weeks away from my profession. I haven't actually taken time off in 3 years :(. I will live through you!
    #64
  5. tomcat9

    tomcat9 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    El Paso, Tx
    It happened to me so often on this site. I read a ride report and plan the tour in my head and then realize that I don't have the time :-) But there are so many beautiful tours that you can do in the USA. And Colorado is motorcycle heaven. And there is retirement sometime….

    Oh, I just realized that you probable talking about a humanitarian mission again... That's sad. I hope you can go sometime later....

    Thanks for the positive feedback.
    I can't imagine to work 3 years without a vacation. With me at work, I am hardly missed. You notice that I am not there when there is coffee left in the evening:imaposer. And I get paid also when I am not there….

    Yes, it's a bit difficult to remember the details.
    But for that I relive the tour again by working out the details and choosing the photos. That's a bonus ...

    I saw that you are from Maryland. In two weeks I will start my summer tour. Nine weeks from El Paso to Maryland and back to El Paso via Sturgis ... Can't wait ...:happay
    #65
  6. tomcat9

    tomcat9 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    El Paso, Tx
    30. September

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    We set off shortly before 10:00 a.m. The small road P1805 to the north leads us into the western anti-Atlas. We drove this beautiful palm avenue out of Tata. After that, the country became a desert again. The landscape became barren and the road changed from a mountain road to a road through the desert and then back to a mountain road. The section through the lowlands sent the thermometer in the direction of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

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    After the lowlands, the road meandered through the gorges again and one view was more beautiful than the other. If there was no oasis there, then there were only these small shrub-like trees.

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    And sometimes you see a Bedouin tent somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

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    There weren't many villages between the larger cities. Here and there you can see a few ruins, at least we thought they were ruins. The landscape could hardly have been more beautiful.

    A motorcyclist's dream.

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    The Anti Atlas has a lot to offer.

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    The barren land makes the oases even more beautiful. Suddenly everything glows in a rich green.

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    People live simple lives. If you don't have a mule or donkey, then you carry the material yourself. We're not very far from the next village here, but I don't want to have to walk with that ballast on my back.

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    Donkeys as a means of transport can be seen here all the time. As you can see in the previous picture, this is a bit of a luxury. One of my favorite pictures ...

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    We then arrived in Ighrem around noon.

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    Now first a break in one of the many coffee bars and of course the tea should not be missing. I'm actually the absolute coffee drinker, both for breakfast and in the afternoon. But I always drank my mint tea here in the afternoon. Now we have taken our two travel guides out of our suitcases and discussed the further route. I don't remember when we decided to see the Agadir Tasguent, but we didn't find it by accident. From here we will take the R106 south and then after about 30 miles we have to turn onto the P1723. We will find it ...

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    The Municipalité Ighrem…


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    We only took a short tea break and about 45 minutes later we are on our way towards the highlight of the day, Agadir Tasguent.
    #66
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  7. tomcat9

    tomcat9 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    El Paso, Tx

    Shortly after noon we continued south on the R106. I wasn't even aware of what a great experience was ahead of me. Tom and Heike have found many of the travel destinations. And this destination was one of them.

    But first we were allowed to enjoy the great views and winding roads. The route was never boring.

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    It can happen that there is a herd of goats on the pass road ...

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    Now we were already on the turnoff to Agadir Tasguent

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    Only 400 yards of gravel and we can walk up the hill.

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    And there is the Agadir Tasguent enthroned. Looks like an oversized stone from below. Agadir is translated as a storage fortress.

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    Imposing, large and defensive would come to my mind as terms.

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    From the elevation of the entrance one can see one of the old villages that this Agadir served. Habitable and crumbling houses go hand in hand here ...

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    The small notches (windows) are exactly what you imagine. They were used to defend the agadir. The storage fortress is high.

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    This is the only access to the Agadir Tasguent. When you are through there it goes up again properly. There was an elderly man who gave us a tour. He explained a lot to us and it wouldn't have been so great without him. There is a lot that we could not have explained to ourselves or would never have found out.

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    He has to come through this hollow alley…. and you are in the heart of the Agadir

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    and you are in the heart of the Agadir

    The Agadir Tasguent has about 350 chambers. Goods, food, valuables and documents were kept in it. These storage castles date from the time when the Berber tribes were not yet fully settled and when they were on the move, the hard-earned food had to be safely stored.

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    some of the doors are still in their original condition. Unfortunately, many of the great doors were sold in antique markets. But a few originals are still there. The signs on the doors are supposed to keep bad luck, diseases and similar away.

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    It is difficult to say exactly how old the Agadir Tasguent is. It is assumed that it will be over 800 years. The way of building has hardly changed over many centuries and various areas have been repaired in the meantime, so the age cannot be precisely determined. It was built simply with stones and simple clay, without mortar.

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    At first, none of this is so trustworthy, but once you've found some trust, you can still go up there. And I'm a lightweight. But they saved on the banister.

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    The doors also had some kind of key. As you can see here it is simply a piece of wood with tenons that should fit into the holes. When you can see it, you think I can always open it.

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    Here you can see the man who let us in and gave us the tour.

    He's just explaining to us how that works with the key.

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    If you did it right, the arm was too short to reach the door latch and you had to use the wooden key. But that was only possible if the pegs also fit into the holes ... I think we are a little further today with the safety technology.

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    If you had one of the upper chambers, then you should be free from giddiness. This Agadir is not as straightforward as the others. The special thing is that this storage fortress was adapted to the site and you can see that inside the storage fortress. Tasguent is very nested and asymmetrical.

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    The chambers also had a table of contents and one is still well preserved here. Everything was written on a round piece of wood. When reading, remember that you have to read from right to left.

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    Yes, that's so high ...

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    In the end we were right at the top of the storage fortress . We also saw a couple of chickens and two children here. It gave the impression that the man lives up here. We were the only ones on the Agadir the whole time.

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    What a great experience. It all looks like something out of a movie, but it is not a backdrop but real authentic walls, doors and walls.
    We were in the fortress for about an hour and a half and soaked up the impressions.



    After that we should have a great ride through the Ammeln valley to Ammelne.
    #67
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  8. tomcat9

    tomcat9 Been here awhile Supporter

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    El Paso, Tx

    We saddled our motorcycle and drove our way back onto the R106. We have about 35 miles to our accommodation, which we have not yet booked. We were also a little hungry and are already looking for something to eat.

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    Almost a normal view now.

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    Just before we found something to eat. It was a winding route until we got to a small town to look for something.

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    Here we had to wait a bit until we found a place. The Afassy Cafe-Restaurant.

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    Fluid balance replenished and a bite to eat, we went on towards Ammelne. The scenery became even more beautiful, mile by mile.

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    The Anti Atlas leaves nothing to be desired ...

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    Tom and Heike are already through the curve ...

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    Now we are about to drive into the valley of the Ammeln and we will have the mountain range on the right side for the last few miles.

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    Just before 6:00 p.m. we found a nice place to stay. The pool is literally in front of my door. The tent on the roof is for dinner and breakfast.

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    From the roof terrace ...

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    In the evening there was again a tajine with peaches, plums, nuts and meat. Delicious.

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    And yet another exciting day was over….
    #68
  9. tomcat9

    tomcat9 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    El Paso, Tx
    01. October

    We are now in the third week. Time just flies by.

    The day started well again. The first glance after getting up and walking outside is the beautiful pool. I went in quietly so as not to wake up the other guests and only because I had the opportunity to do so. It was quite refreshing.

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    Then we went to the terrace with a great breakfast.
    We have not booked any luxury accommodation or luxury food. But we were mostly positively surprised. This breakfast table was again well set.

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    After breakfast we drove to the colored stones. A Belgian artist (Jean Vérame) took 18 tons of paint in 1984 and painted the stones. You can even see the blue stones using Google Maps in satellite mode. Jean Vérame has done several art installations all over the world. Also one in Amarillo Texas.


    We had to drive about 4 miles dirt road from the R104 until we reached the blue stones. It was a beautiful landscape, but I wasn't particularly impressed by the art. I would have preferred the stones without color. Maybe I'm an art banause, but I thought someone had spoiled the beautiful landscape….


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    After a few pictures we went back to the paved road at 10:15 am and continued towards Tiznit. That's about 70 miles to drive.

    We drove the western part of the Anti-Atlas to the end until we got to the lowlands. It went from one valley to the next valley and up and down mountains. Just as we want it as motorcyclists. It was entertaining and by noon we were already in the fortress town of Tiznit, which was founded in 1881 by an Alaouite sultan.

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    We parked the motorcycle in Tiznit and strolled through the city. The city is at about 750 ft altitude and we felt that in the temperature. It was really hot. The old town is enclosed by an approx. 4 mile long city wall which has eight city gates and 36 small towers. It is the largest economic center south of Agadir and has about 80 thousand inhabitants.

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    One of the eight city gates

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    If we got it right, they collected money for the school…

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    At around 2 p.m. we set off again and drove towards Taroudannt and Oulad Berhil. For this it was first on the N1 towards Agadir. Then it went northwest on the parallel road to the N10. There were about 120 miles to go in the afternoon. The route was flat and not that twisty, so we made good progress. It was still very hot. We hardly took any photos.

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    Around 4 p.m. we stopped again and had a bite to eat. We used the break and looked for accommodation from one of the travel guides.

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    The day that started so nicely and had the great route to Tiznit was all in all a day of driving. We were on the way to Marrakech with the stopover at Aït-Ben-Haddou.
    #69
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  10. GTMan

    GTMan Adventurer Supporter

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    Wakanda
    #70
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  11. tomcat9

    tomcat9 Been here awhile Supporter

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    El Paso, Tx
    Thanks for the nice comment.

    Yes, these are the memories that are best remembered. Even if you don't really like it at that moment that you are being ripped off.:dirtdog

    But 20% of the cost of the entire trip??? Wow... He was good...
    #71
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  12. tomcat9

    tomcat9 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    El Paso, Tx
    02.October


    Today we have about 140 miles to conquer. We are going back to the Anti-Atlas, away from the Atlantic and then towards the north. The goal is Aït Ben Haddou.

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    I have no memory of our accommodation. Neither negative nor positive. I think it was just a stopover in the direction of Aït Ben Haddou. We enjoyed the scenery and landscape. Long straight stretches with the mountains always in the background. The small villages with the minaret of the mosque can be seen from afar.

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    Here we have just crossed the county line. You seldom forget that you are in an oriental country. But that's what makes it so special.

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    The N10 is a big road with little traffic and you can be silly. No one to be seen anywhere. It was hot again too, we were back in the steppe before we went back to the mountains.

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    That must be Tazpakht. We needed something to eat and drink.

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    We didn't want to be late to the Ksar (fortified village) so that we still had enough time to see it. So we didn't stay too long and drove on quickly.

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    We found the UNESCO World Heritage Site Aït Ben Haddou quickly.

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    And then the Ksar could already be seen. Below you can see the gate to the Ksar and you can also see the weir system quite well. In front of the Ksar, the Ounila River (Asif Ounila) can be seen(almost).

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    We looked for a hotel and went straight to the facility to see this village / fortress from up close.

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    So first cross the raging river. Fortunately, there are already helpers who can help you cross the river for a voluntary fee. Here you understand from a young age who you can earn / get money with.:deal

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    Here we have already passed the gate to the Ksar and are working our way up the hill. There are small, narrow, winding streets. All walls are made of tamped earth with straw. The Ksar is from the 11th century, but the current houses are from the 17th century. Much has been rebuilt in modern times, thanks in part to the film industry, which has used this setting in more than 20 movies.

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    Among the movies are well-known such as "Sodom and Gomorrah (1963)", "The Man Who Would Be King (1975)", "Jesus of Nazareth (1977)", "Marco Polo (1982)", "The Jewel of the Nile (1985) "," The Mummy (1999) "," Gladiator (2000) "," Prince of Persia (2010) ", and so on. These are only the movies I know. Also parts of the series "Game of Thrones" (I never saw one episode) are filmed there.

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    It's perfect to take a lot of pictures. We weren't there alone, the site is rather well visited.

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    We were lucky enough to see the weir from the inside. I don't remember exactly how we got there, but it was more of a coincidence. This time not for a tip but simply because someone was nice to us. We could go up to the roof of this facility and look at the weir structure. The view of the valley was accordingly good.

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    Between 5 and 6 p.m. we left for the hotel to have dinner. There we had another (kefta = meatballs) tajine which was very tasty.

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    So we had a nice day and after all the impressions we were excited to see what Marrakech has to offer. We booked a riad in advance for Marrakech that evening. It will be exciting to find the location the next day. It was a nice surprise but about that in the next post ...

    #72
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  13. tomcat9

    tomcat9 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
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    Location:
    El Paso, Tx
    03. October

    Today we drive from Aït Ben Haddou to Marrakech. We decided not to take the small road but to drive back a little bit on the P1506 to take the N9 north through the High Atlas. I don't remember why we didn't take the small road. Usually we avoid the bigger roads.

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    We got up early and went to breakfast in our motorcycle clothes. As almost always, breakfast was served outdoors. Today with the film set Aït Ben Haddou in the background.

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    We set out and the route offered what we had hoped for. The High Atlas offers a lot of great views. The temperatures become bearable as soon as we had gained a bit of altitude.

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    The road has been rebuilt and is therefore in really good condition. Unfortunately, you have to constantly watch out for oil traces across the country. There is almost no road on which the oil trail is not distributed in a serpentine line. Especially on the slopes in the mountains but also everywhere else in Morocco. As a result, you actually never take the line you would take on a clean road. We were therefore much slower and we leaned in the curves less than usual. It was just not possible to calculate where the oil was.

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    All kinds of jewelry and the like are sold at this pass. We took a short break, photographed cute dogs and great views and drove on to the next village to have a bite to eat.

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    Here it is made clear that there will definitely be tajines. So we went in, through the shop and onto the terrace in the backyard.

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    We opted for meat skewers which were also good. Add a little bread and water and you're full again.

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    Heike has meanwhile found the kitchen and after taking a few photos of the cook, she persuaded the cook to take a few photos of her while she is holding up a lid of a tajine. Here you can see that each tajine is simmering on its own flame.

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    Strengthened it went back on the road towards Marrakesh. At this construction site it has built up a lot to the rear. We could only drive at walking pace. Fortunately, after the construction site, you are quickly past the other vehicles and you can cool down with the airstream.

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    Here we were only about 1 hour away from Marrakesh. Busy town with a lot of people on the street.

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    Arrival in Marrakesh. Now the search started. We had booked the Riad Berenssi the evening before and entered the address in the GPS. But when you are inside the old city walls in Marrakesh, finding your accommodation becomes more difficult than you think. We approached the accommodation and parked the motorbikes inside the city wall.

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    We also found someone who will take care of the motorcycles for the entire period. The photo was taken later when we were walking towards the city center in the evening.

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    Now we just had to find the riad. It looked really great in the pictures, so we'll see…. we thought….

    Then, for once, we asked someone for directions. Usually you have more helpers here than you would like, but this time we took the initiative. It was a whole new experience :D

    It was a teenager who got us in the right direction and in the end said it was here. We had to go through this alley and knock on a door that we would never have recognized for the door to the riad.

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    The metal bars on the right is the entrance to the riad. When we knocked a woman opened a small window in the door and when it was clear that we were the guests, she opened the door and closed it again immediately behind us. We were still a little tense about the look of the entrance area.

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    And here you can now see the stark difference between the outside entrance and the inside entrance.

    The left part of the picture below is really right after you've passed the entrance. We were more than surprised. Suddenly an oasis of well-being, as we have seen in the pictures on the Internet, but after the outside view we had considerable doubts.

    The brown bay window on the right picture is the bay window in my room. Heike and Tom had the same room on the other side.

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    This is what the hallway looks like on the second floor, my room is straight ahead.

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    The obligatory roof terrace for breakfast is above our rooms. These riads are all laid out in this style. Not always with a pool in the middle but with an enclosed inner courtyard. It was also interesting how the homeowners behaved when letting us in. Always a bit like Fort Knox.

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    We used the pool in the afternoon and enjoyed it before we went into the hustle and bustle. Marrakesh is like a giant anthill. But about that in the next post….
    #73
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