18.01.2017, Morocco (Part 1/4)
Early January 2017 I arrived in Tanger, a harbor city in the north of Morocco. From here I travel through the country to the south via Fés, Marrakech, over the Hight Atlas, Ouarzazate, Agadir, Tan-Tan and Dakhla.
Most people here are Islamic and its my first time traveling in a Islamic country, but I’m unprejudiced and wondering what experience I will make.
Cost (133 Days, 18.01.2017 - 31.05.2017)
|1||Food||686.25 €||5.36 €||27 %|
|2||Lodging||851.68 €||6.65 €||34 %|
|3||Transport||176.91 €||1.38 €||7 %|
|4||Miscellaneous||139.50 €||1.09 €||6 %|
|5||Tourist attraction||578.55 €||4.52 €||23 %|
|6||Equipment||72.75 €||0.57 €||3 %|
|8||Totally||2505.65 €||19.58 €||100 %|
18.01.2017, Day 3, Tanger med.: Arrival in Marocco
My feeling for the time left after the second night on the Ferry. I had no window in my room and that really made me tired. The ferry arrived at 21:00. Unfortunately I didn’t knew that the Tanger med. port is so far away from Tanger itself.
Because I slept a lot in the afternoon I felt very awake and decided to start cycling during the night to reach the city Tanger in the morning. It was a hilly area along the sea and I’ve seen a lot of police officers securing the border.
19.01.2017, Day 4, Tanger: Hostel Medina
I arrived at 5:00 in Tanger. A small restaurant was still open and I ate something there. As I decided to go to a hotel a young boy joined me at my way. He showed me the way to the hotel and helped me to get my bike up to the hill. As we arrived the hotel he wanted some money for his service. I was a bit scared of the situation and gave him some Euros. Unfortunately the hotel was full and the boy showed me another place to stay. This time for free. Seems like I had gave him enough money the first time… We arrived at the Hostel Medina witch is very hard to find. I had my own room and it was much cheaper than the hotel I’ve chosen first.
20.01.2017, Day 5, Tanger: Start cycling
21.01.2017, Day 6, Bghaghza: First fire
The second day of cycling was again very short. But I found a nice place near the street to build up my tent and cook the first time on the fire. Because of the winter the sun rises about 8:00 and sets about 18:00. To be active the whole day, the long darkness and cold nights made very tired. I was mostly very early in my sleeping bag. The normal day looks like this:
22.01.2017, Day 7, Hza: Sunday market
It was my third day on the bicycle without crossing any restaurant and started to miss some good cooked food. After passing some more hills, I found myself in a big market in the middle of nowhere full with local peoples. Just at the beginning of the market was one guy cooking some meat over the fire. The dead body of the animal was right behind him, where another one cot out the meat. Perfect! I tried to order food for me (1 Person) unfortunately he understood 1kg of meat! It was served with onions and bread. I never had so fresh and juicy meat. It was fantastic! After eating about 3/4 of it, I was completely stuffed. I gave the rest of the plate to the table next to me where a father with his kids was sitting.
I bought some more fruits and vegetables at the marked and strengthened I cycled some more hills in the afternoon. In this area are a lot of sheep and goats shepherd. I’ve also crossed a group of free living horses which decided to cross the road.
23.01.2017, Day 8, Ain Bida: Invitation from Mohammed
It was raining in the night. I planned to take the shortest way and not to spent too much time on the national-roads. Unfortunately my way was more hard soil than a road. The rain from last night made some parts of the soil very soft and sometimes there was only one big mud. After a while there was so much dirt between the wheel and the frame that it completely blocked. I had to clean it twice this day and it was still not easy to cycle. At the evening someone helped me to cross a river, where no bridge was. He had a Pick-up and it was his job to skip things from one side of the river to the other. He was already on his way home and didn’t want any money for this.
After I continued my ride for a short time, the next guy stopped me. Because it was getting dark he invited me to sleep in his salon. It was Mohammed, an Olive-farmer. After I had a shower we drank some tea and his wife brought us something to eat.
Doesn’t he look cool in his pink sandals?
24.01.2017, Day 9, Ain Bida: Cleaning the bike
He was very interested and happy to have a visitor, so he asked me to stay one more night. That sounded great to me. I spent nearly five hours to clean the bike from all the mud. All I had where a big and a small bucket of water, some rags, robes and a brush.
In the Arabic culture, it’s normal that the living room (called “salon”) has a couch around the wall and the flor is covert with carpets. It’s the place where family, friends and visitors come together to drink tea, to eat. The time I was at his place we have eaten some olives or olive oil to every meal. But it was always combined with something else that it won’t get boring.
Always take the shoes off before you enter the carpet!
25.01.2017, Day 10, Ouazzane: National road
I started early in the morning. This time my way was on a national road. It was a long straight way. No hills or mountains where I had to push the bicycle up. It was the first day I’ve done more than 50km, but just as I reached them my left knee began to hurt again. Since I had an accident last October, I have some pain when I move my knee. Probably it came on again that strong, because I was cycling the whole day.
After I pushed it a while, I decided to go to sleep. Today I’ve seen 7 dead dogs lying next to the national road and at the evening I slept on a place near the skeleton of a cow.
26.01.2017, Day 11, Mkansa: Push the bike
The knee is still hurting very strong. I couldn’t even bend it to pick up something from the ground. That’s why I had to walk. As long I didn’t bent it, I came forward. It will be a 100km walk, to get to the next City Fés. So I pushed the bicycle… At the best opportunity, I went off the national road and toke a smaller road country road. It was a pure area and a lot of kids where begging for some money or candies. With my speed I was exposed to the begging children.
27.01.2017, Day 12, Fés: Goal achieved!
Today I woke up very early, packed my stuff and continued my way to Fés by feet in the darkness of the morning. I reached it in the afternoon and walked straight to a hostel I’ve selected before. In front of the hostel the “Manager” of the hostel came to me and told me that there is only one small room left, but he will bring me to his other hotel. I was very tired, believed and followed him. I found myself in a five-bed room with my own shower and toilet. I definitely payed him to many but now I thought know all the tricks and will not do be tricked again. I relaxed the rest of the day in my room and fortunately the Wi-Fi was good enough to stream some movies. Only went out to get something to eat.
28.01.2017, Day 13, Fés: Labyrinth of the medina
In my travel guide book about Morocco I had a tip for a very cool place to eat and chill. It’s the “Café Clock” in the medina (old town) of Fés. I went there to eat some cereal and pancakes for breakfast and the pancakes were absolutely amazing! The fruits and the pancakes itself where so delicious and fresh! After this I rode a bit in my book and enjoyed the sun until noon.
At the afternoon, I went deeper into the labyrinth of the medina. The alleys are that small it makes sometimes impossible to walk side by side. My phone didn’t get a GPS-signal so it was difficult to orient. Here it felt like the time turned back about hundreds of years. Most of the transport is made by donkeys or pushcarts, if you want some chicken meat you can buy them alive, a lot of things are handmade directly in the alleys and the buildings have all this old charm.
29.01.2017, Day 14, Fés: Organize the public transport
After two days resting in Fés, my knee still hurts very much. I was close to thinking about going home and rest there until it’s better… Because I didn’t’ want to stay too long in Fés I checked other opportunities to move forward. So I took the bus to get to the train main station in Fés. I want to ask if it’s possible to take the bike and all the other stuff with me in the train to Marrakech.
Unfortunately it wasn’t and the men from the information told me I should try the bus agency CTM. An hour later I had my ticket for the 31 of January in the morning. I’ve chosen the bus which is driving during the day to see something more of the country.
I took the taxi back to the hostel. A 10-minute drive (some other peoples was picked up as well) for about 1€… I was wondering about the cheap price! Back in the medina again, I went in a private museum which was a very beautifully restored riad.
30.01.2017, Day 15, Fés: Rest day
Today I want it a bit cozier. I brought me a meat sandwich for less than 1€. The guy next to the camel head cooked on the streets and made my way out of the medina to the observation deck. The hectic and quaint life in the oldtown is just separated by the old city wall from the quiet and modern life.
Here I relaxed a bit in the sun and enjoyed the view, the sun and my meat sandwich. Which one was very fresh and delicious. It was just a mix of all different kind of meats and sausages just fried a bit on the grill.
31.01.2017, Day 16, Marrakech: The coach
Today I drove by a CTM bus from Fés to Marrakech. I planned to take the bus
during the day to see something of the country, but it was not that interesting
at all. So, I just watched some Movies at my Phone. The next time I would choose
the bus during the night.
I arrived at Marrakech and went to the hostel Rouge. I was received friendly and could referring my room which I had to share with three other peoples.
In the lobby, I’ve met Markus and his friends. I joined them to eating dinner at the big square Jemaa el-Fna and get scammed with the price of the dinner. The waiter told us the vegetables and fries are included in the price of the meat, but in the end they weren’t. we discussed about 15 minutes and gave nearly as much as they want.
01.02.2017, Day 17, Marrakech: Explore the old town
With Markus, a friend of him and Hannes (a German cyclist) we have made a of the medina of Marrakech. We’ve spent the whole day together and have visited this Places:
Jemaa el-Fna (square and market place)
Koutoubia mosque (largest mosque)
Secret garden (home of many sultans)
Medersa Ben Yussef (koranic school)
Jardin Majorelle (botanic garden by Yves Saint Laurent)
Cyber park (park)
The favorite place of all of us was the secret garden. It was the place of quietness and peace in the very hectic medina.
02.02.2017, Day 18, Marrakech: GoPro-Microphone Adapter
Today I would like to build an adapter for my GoPro-Camera, that the Microphone is placed in the right direction. So searched up the ironing district. I had to spend about half an hour explaining what I was planning to do. As they understood it, I got hammer, raw material and a small space on the floor next to the anvil and began to work. Just started, I was the attraction for all the workers and local people. The It amused them that a tourist sits with them on the ground and does the same work as the do.
Because I’m missing the very delicious and cheap sandwiches from Fés, I asked the manager from the hostel where to find food like this in Marrakech. He gave me a tip, where I should find it. Later in the lobby I’ve met Hannah and her friend from Austria. Together with Raphael, my roommate from Germany we went out to eat some dinner at the place the manager told me. It was a restaurant just at the street with only local peoples. But the Tajine we got for the price was just amazing and very delicious!
03.02.2017, Day 19, Marrakech: Home work
Today I Planned to do some home work like delete blurry pictures, check my E-Mails, answer some friends etc. I just took my notebook to the roof terrace and done this at about 23°C in the sun.
In the afternoon, I couldn’t sit any longer there and the unstable internet-connection starts to annoying me, so I went out to the king’s palace. Back at the hostel e met a Turkish guy who invited me to join a group which want to go to Aït Benhaddou. Later we went out for dinner with Hannah and her friend again at the same place as the day before.
04.02.2017, Day 20, Marrakech: 8h taxi to Aït Benhaddou
Today I went with the Turkish guy to the point, where we’ve met the other three guys. Together with Mr. price breaker Paris, the lost Luigi, drunken Cole and the Turkish Wifi-Man we tried to rent a car at the Airport. Unfortunately there were some problems with the credit-card and it was not possible to rent the reserved car. Therefore we decided to go there by taxi. Our price breaker dealed de price down that each of us had to pay less than 20€. It was a 4h drive each way and the taxi driver had to wait during we was exploring the city.
It is a beautiful spot and often used as movie backdrop such as The Mummy, Gladiator, Prince of Persia, Game of Thrones and many more. Back in Marrakech we went out in the new part of the city to eat some dinner together. It was a cool and funny trip, thank you guys!
05.02.2017, Day 21, Sidi Rahdal: Start cycling again
Today at my last breakfast in the hostel I’ve met Celine and her friend from
Switzerland. I gave them some tips and start to prepare my bike to cycle. At
this point I want to thank all the people I’ve met in the hostel Rouge in
Markus and friends from U.S.A, Hannes & Raphael from Germany, Hannah and friend from Austria, Wifi-Man from Turkey, Celine and friend from Switzerland, Andreas & Luigi from Italy and Cole from Pennsylvania. Your enthusiasm for my bike trip gave me the necessary motivation, to not give up!
My knee had a ten-day break from cycling. I hope the pain will not bigger. I started slowly and putted much more power in the right leg as in the left… there was still some pain at strain. Looking for a place to sleep I found a garage next to a potato field. I ate while waiting for the owner. After an hour he crossed me with his tractor and allowed me to sleep there, he planned anyway to drive until home.
06.02.2017, Day 22, Anzou: Invitation from Abdelaziz
The farmers here where early birds, started working before the sun raised. Not usual for Marocco! So I get up as well. Immediately I was invited to a tea and some bread for the breakfast. Instead of disappearing just right now, I want to thanks them. I helped to cut some potatoes. The guy has seen some characteristics on the potato which influenced his way of cutting them… For me these where just brown BULBS and I tried to cut it just the same size as he did. At the moment, I want to say goodbye he stopped me, because the other farmer has already organized some lunch for me. I stayed a bit longer and what else it could give to food than some potatoes! Together with olive oil, salt and bread the lunch was complete. As simple it sounds, it was very delicious!
After lunch, I definitely could start my cycling day. In this area people are
much more busy and prosperous. This was reflected by the streets, houses and the
behavior of the people. There was no yelling or begging when I cycled through a
village. It was a respectful restraint.
I tried to get to a lake on the hill and once again I had to push the bike. In the second I thought I will reach the lake in the dark, Abdelaziz spoke to me and after a small talk he invited me to his house. For dinner, they killed one of their chicken and cooked a Tajine with some potatoes, vegetables and bread.
07.02.2017, Day 23, Anzou: Hiking with Abdelaziz
For breakfast his wife Fatima has cooked some kind of pancakes and baked some fresh bread. Together with warm milk, butter, honey and olive oil this was one of the most extensively breakfasts I had in morocco. After this we started hiking some mountains and rivers around his village. He explained to me how to use the different kind of trees, how they built the watering system for the big field of olives trees and what is around the village.
As we came back he proudly showing me the next chicken for the dinner. I
spent a bit time with his son who showed me his Berber schoolbook and his French
knowledge. For dinner the next big Tajine was served by Fatima. It was the most
delicious Tajine I ever had in morocco!
Later we were talking, listening to music and dancing till late at night.
08.02.2017, Day 24, Imi-n-Ifri: Welcome to the Hight Atlas
Today was one of the most sunny and hot days. I cycled a very nice road from Anzou to Imi-n-Ifri with this fantastic view over some farmer’s fields, trees until the snowed Hight Atlas mountains. Imi-n-Ifri is a nature area with many trees where a lot of the local people from the city Demnate use to hike and make some family trips.
09.02.2017, Day 25, Bou Ifrane: Nature bridge and traces of dinosaurs
Today I crossed a very big nature bridge. The river has dug himself through
the earth and let the connection of the two hills consist. It was a deep gorge
and it was not possible to get a photo from the right angle. This situation
would just be perfect for a flying camera drone… I just could made a picture a
bit from the side.
The next thing were some traces of dinosaurs. Just a few kilometers from the bridge away. Unfortunatly there were only footprints… I hoped to see a bit more, but it was nice to imagine that this giant animals once walked over this place.
As I’ve found my place, built up my tent and lighten the fire, I was invited twice from some local peoples. The second one even brought me a duvet and a bread. I thanked him for the bread and pointed back the offered duvet. I wouldn’t need it and I didn’t want to lose too much time the next morning for search the house and bring back the duvet.
10.02.2017, Day 26, Ouzoud: Camping at hotel du france
Today I just had to cycle until the early afternoon to reach my next destination Ouzoud. I compared the Wifi-Speed and prices of the different camping-places and chosen the Hotel du France. It is also possible to camp here as well. The owner told me that it will come to rain tonight and showed me a covered place to build up my tent.
I packed my backpack and made a tour all the way down the river. The water falls here over more than 100 stairs and it has a lot places where it’s possible to swim. Along the river, it has many campgrounds and cafes but there were no employees neither tourists.
11.02.2017, Day 27, Ouzoud: Ouzoud waterfalls
Today I went to the other side of the river. From here it was a nice view to the waterfalls. Nearly each space is used to build a café or a shop at this area… the charm of nature is nearly lost and it’s just one big tourist attraction.
Later the day I relaxed in the lobby of the camping-place to write a bit on the blog and sort the pictures. Just like the monkey did…
12.02.2017, Day 28, Barrage Bin El-Ouidane: Artificial lake
Today I had to go a long distance till my next goal. So I started cycling very early. In the half of the way I were in a village and bought some vegetables. Next to me was a meat shop and I felt the desire for a big piece of meat. This was the first time I bought fresh and uncooked meet on my journey.
In time befor the darkness I reached the artificial lake and found a nice place to camp. On a fire I cooked the meat and made some potatoes. I had to stick the meat on a piece of wood and it was not easy to handle. There I recognized, I need a grill clamp.
13.02.2017, Day 29, Isseksi: Carbonhydrate please!
Be on the bike the whole day makes hungry! Normally I don’t prepare something warm for lunch but today I used my Optimus Nova stove to cook some spaghetti. Exceptionally, I had a coke today…
nothing else, just cycled.
14.02.2017, Day 30, Tagleft: Up and Down
And another day just cycling. Today I made many altitudes. Deepest point was 950m and the highest 1650m. Totally I made 2450m downhill and 2300m uphill.
It was not easy to find a place to camp in the nature. That’s why I slept just next to the street between two gravel hills. On this place the light of the passing cars wont disturb me too much.
15.02.2017, Day 31, Aït Zidekhzin: High Atlas
Day number three of cycling. On lunch time, I took a junction. Now I’m cycling straight to the high atlas. This street was rarely used, the rest of the day I just have seen about 4 cars. Civilization reduces and landscapes pure nature (with the exception of the street) opens the door.
16.02.2017, Day 32, Imilchil: Invitation from Ali
My way continued up to the High Atlas Mountains. I arrived early enough in Imilchil to spend my time for searching a hotel with a good internet connection. Unfortunately, all the promised WiFi’s are hotspots via the GSM. That would definitely be to slow to update anything on my old website.
After the fifth hotel, I continued cycling through the town. I was approached by Ali from a nondescript side street. He invited me for a Tee. Later the evening I asked him to sleep there and it seems that it was already decided for him. He lives here with his mother. His younger cousins were also there to visit. In the front yard, they have a cow, a goat family, some chickens and in the back yard a dozen apple trees and a big potato field.
17.02.2017, Day 33, Imilchil: The first time Couscous
In Imilchil was an important ceremony before lunch and some possible buyers for the cow showed up. So, Ali was busy the morning. I went with his two young cousins to the weekly market which started today. I told them that I would like to have a grill clamp and they started asking the sellers where to find one. After 10 minutes I had one of these things. Great, I was looking forward to use it the first time! I filled up my stock of fruits and vegetables for the next two days.
We arrived the same time as Ali did and I was invited to join him for lunch
with his relatives. It was served a big couscous with meat where more than eight
people could eat from. At 16:00 I was ready to leave and received some apples
and potatoes from Ali as a gift.
On my way some German motorhome drivers warn me, that in two days it will snowing. So I hurried up. I cycled till the darkness. Because I was too lazy to build up the tent and it was such a clear sky, I just prepared my mattress and sleeping bag.
18.02.2017, Day 34, Tizi-n Tirherhouzine: Atlas crossed at 2700 m
It was a very cold night. After 2 hours sleeping, I regretted that I didn’t built up the tent. I often woke up because of the coldness and hadn’t a good sleep. In the morning I stood up before the sun rise to move and got warm. Specially my feet felt frozen, as you can see on the sleeping bag and there was no more water in my bottles… Just ice!
After noon I reached the mountain pass Tizi-n-Tirherhouzine at 2709 m above the sea level. It still had a lot of snow around the street. I was happy that the rise was over. Now it goes downhill very quickly. Behind the beautiful hight plateau, I drove down the incredible Todra canyon. At the end of it I reached the camping place “Le Soleil” where I wanted to stay.
19.02.2017, Day 35, Toudgha El Oulia: Searching a new website-builder
With my old website-builder (Weebly) I had to be connected all the time with
the webserver to edit it. While traveling or with the bad internet connection as
it is in morocco, it is nearly impossible to update. So I spent the whole day to
search an easy alternative.
I choose Zeta Producer! Here I had to organize the hosting by myself. Because I wouldn’t have any attachment on my domain, I registered this as well. I had no experience on this web stuff…
20.02.2017, Day 36, Toudgha El Oulia: Climbing and grilling
My neighbor at the camping place is Richard from New Zealand. Today he showed me the prusik knop. With the right technique and two smaller ropes it makes it easy to climb up a rope. One around the hip, the other around the foot. The knobs of the two smaller ropes are tight under pressure and you have to move them up one after another.
To dinner we have grilled for hours. Zucchini, tomatoes, onions, peppers, potatoes, a giant garlic bread and a pot for cooking eggs and to boil water for tee found place over the fire. Some sliced vegetables were placed in the grill clamp and it has done his job successfully.
21.02.2017, Day 37, Toudgha El Oulia: Wash day
It was time to wash. A few days ago I had bought some wash powder for hand wash. In Switzerland we use the machine to wash all our stuff. To do nothing wrong I googled how to wash by hand correctly. These should be the steps to do: (no guarantee)
Check the etiquette
Water with the right temperature in a bucket
Insert the powder
Insert the clothing
Let the sensitive go down by themselves
Knead them carefully
Let them lying 5 to 10 minutes
Empty the water from the bucket
Flush with fresh water
22.02.2017, Day 38, Toudgha El Oulia: Updating website
23.02.2017, Day 39, Toudgha El Oulia: Updating website
24.02.2017, Day 40, Toudgha El Oulia: Veloreis.ch goes online
25.02.2017, Day 41, Toudgha El Oulia: Hiking and climbing
It has passed one week since I had my last hard cycling day. I couldn’t just sit longer on my notebook… I had to move and use my saved energy. The Todra canyons are famous for them great climbing route and with hiking you get a nice view over the palm oasis. I walked and climbed up to a mountain that was between my camping-place and the entrance of the canyons.
From there I had a very nice view in all directions. The only green space is around the Todra river. The rest of the terrain is just dried out.
26.02.2017, Day 42, Imziln: Resterant chez la famille Mabrouk
Today I planned to continue my cycling tour. I packed everything and started around lunch time. Just after a few kilometers I met Said with his two camels. He and his sister invited me to tea and lunch. After eating they played some music as well and we played some football. It was lovely and family mood.
Later we made a walk through the oasis fields and to the old Kasbah, I helped cooking and we were eating again together. Well it was kind a restaurant with a hotel and I got my own room that I will pay tomorrow. But it was worth the money.
27.02.2017, Day 43, Ait Brahm: Palm oasis along Torda
After a very big breakfast, I was ready to leave very early. I continued cycling along the river on one side, crossed it and cycled up again on the other side. The demarcation of landscape here is very clearly. If you take a look to the river, the ground is overgrown with green plants, big palms and date trees are rising in the sky and everything seems to live. If you watch to your other shoulder, there is nothing except the dry desert and the blue sky.
Later in the City I’ve finally found a shop which sold flour and baking powder and in the next town a frying pan. This makes it a lot easier to cook the vegetables, make some mirror eggs or some pancakes.
28.02.2017, Day 44, Tizi: Bike upgrade
It is always a big deal to find a place where the bike stands stable. The bike racks was about 5cm to short, so it leaned that slanting that it just tipped over the bike racks. The easiest is to lean it on a wall or another robust object. But in the cities, it’s not easy to found one of these places. Mostly there are some cars, chairs or shops. And you decently want your bike fall into another’s car.
After crossing so many metalworkers on my way, I stopped today at one to explain the problem. He understood it directly and in less than 5 minutes he extended it with a tube, welded and grinded the sharpen edges. And the bike stood very stable. Wow! They are masters in improving. Later I crossed a city where a lot of wall paintings were made in the same style. Seems like to be an artist living in this area.