01.03.2017, Morocco (Part 2/4)
Because the page-size is near the limit, i had to split the news and pictures of Morocco in multiple parts... to be continued.
After the first weeks in Morocco, I started to understand their way of live and realized their rich varying landscape. They help each other, are proud people and take the live as it is. I had a lot invitations for food, small talk or for a tea.
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 %|
01.03.2017, Day 45, Skoura: Palms and Pancakes
This morning I used my frying pan the first time to make some pancakes. It was not easy to guess the amount of each ingredient but in the end, it was just a bit too salty. As nice it was to eat fresh and warm cakes in the morning, the worse it was to wash all the pan and bowls where I’ve prepared the dough. The next time I will ask the dealer to pack the flour in a few 200g units instead of one big 1kg pack. That will make it easier to guessing the weight.
In the afternoon, I reached the next Oasis. The one in Skoura. In the area here were placed many old castles and buildings, peoples still use to live. So some of them are in a very good condition. Anyway, I found my place a little outside the palm oasis with a beautiful view to them and the snow covered Atlas mountains. I relaxed till the sunset in my hammock and read.
02.03.2017, Day 46, Skoura: Film set #1 – Hanna (2011)
In the morning I rolled cozy on the small ways between the palms and visited two castles. First the “Kasbah Aït Abou Ali “ where I had some breakfast and later the “Kasbah Amerhidil”. On my way to the second one I’ve met a couples from Latin America which were searching the same place. So I showed them the way. It was no problem for me to orient with the GPS and the cords of the goal. There we took a tour guide which explained us everything and I was surprised to hear that this place was the film set for the movie Hanna. Because I had a list with about 5 film sets I want to visit and this wan wasn’t on my list. So now I have seen already one more than I expected.
03.03.2017, Day 47, Ouarzazate: Hollywood of Morocco
On my way, a buggy with a swiss flag attracted my attention. I had a nice
conversation with Daniela from Switzerland, she has opened last year her
business and organizes off-road tours. If you’re looking for an adventure in
morocco, check out her page:
Finished the nice talk in my mother tongue, I moved on. But the wind was so strong at the evening that I couldn’t ride against it. While I made a pause in a wind protected area, when an older man on his bike crossed me. He was between 50 and 55 years old and told me that he’s doing cycling tours since 30 years and gave me some tips. After trying to cycle again against the wind for one hour, I gave up. I built up my tent and went to sleep.
04.03.2017, Day 48, Aït Benhaddou: Film set #2 – The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Finally here… on the American Gas Station from the movie “The hills have eyes”. The lovely security man Hassad has invited me for a tea and explained me everything… some other tourists came and left again and I still had a talk with him. Unfortunately I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I will watch it the next days and keep this place in memory while watching it.
Looking for a nice place to stay I remembered there were many restaurants and hotels in Aït Benhaddou. So I made it till there, but this time I want to spend some more time here and watch some movies, they have produced here and rest after cycling 6 days. I chose the hotel “La Baraka”, because here it’s possible to camp on the terrace with a nice view.
05.03.2017, Day 49, Aït Benhaddou: Film set #3 (The 2nd Time)
In the afternoon I walked through the whole city and searched the place with the nicest views of the Ksar Aït Benhaddou. I’ve found it on the terrace of the Hotel “La Fibule D’Or”. And the price for the dinner menu was also one of the bests. So I reserved the menu and went back with my Laptop to watch the movie The Gladiator, with the views of the place they’ve filmed it. As the waiter has recognized that I’m whatching the movie, he also told me some stories from this time. The arena in the desert from the movie, they used to do the gladiators fights, was built in 5 month of work and just after the movie they removed it. Himself was involved in the background of the set in the crew of security mans to guard the tiger.
06.03.2017, Day 50, Aït Benhaddou: Leveling my melee shaman
Later the day, I just spent some hours playing my favorite MMORPG. Not somewhere… On the roof terrace of the Hostel with a big pot of fruit salad. Yes, I like computer games. And I probably just destroyed your illusion gamers are sitting in a dark cellar all the time. Well the sun made it nearly impossible to see anything on the screen so after a while I went in the shadow of a bamboo roof.
07.03.2017, Day 51, Tizgui N’Barda: Moroccan art
From the hostel I get the tip, that it should have some very nice villages some more kilometers to the north at the street. So I drove there and found a lot old buildings which were built in the landscape. The mountains next to the streets get bigger and bigger as more I drove uphill along the river.
In a corner I had to drive, a man lied in the shadow of his painting and started talking to me. He was the artist of a garage full of beautiful paintings. After a small talk and a visit at his art, he invited me to a tea at his house (Maison du Peintre) which is a hotel as well. As nice as the paintings were, as nice was the hotel decorated. A lot of colors were combined and they still harmonized together. I instead felt comfortable. He told me about his job and that he had exhibited his paintings in Paris as well. After three glass of tea and some snacks, the guests arrived which he expected and in this moment we let us follow our jobs.
08.03.2017, Day 52, Ouarzazate: Film set #3 – Kingdom of heaven (2005)
Today I cycled back and reached downhill the entry of Ouarzazate very fast. Here was the CLA studio placed and behind the studios were the next two filmsets on my list. I drove on a small path next to the studio building to reach the first one. Unfortunately I needed a ticket to get inside which I should have bayed in the studio building. So I just visited the big cast from outside. The security man told me that there is not so much left of the other filmset and because I already had enough of visiting all these fake buildings, I moved on to the south. In the last minute before the sun sets, I found a really lovely place.
09.03.2017, Day 53, Agdz: Oasis next the street
This morning I woke up in a nice, sandy oasis with two ponds and many palms and other trees. I lighting the fire again, I’ve done yesterday evening, boiled some water for a tea and prepared the dough for a bread. The dough was wrapped around a stroke and putted over the fire. That’s a nice way to start in the morning I thought. But there was one thing in this I didn’t expected. The water of the ponds wasn’t moving, so it was the home of many insects. Mosquitos, flies, scarabs, ants …! After two hours, I couldn’t enjoy it anymore and I started my cycling day.
After the next village Agdz, the street follows a river. I cycled for hours with a beautiful view. Green gardens and palms and some mountains in the background to the left, a newly asphalted black street in front of me and many old brown clay buildings to the right. Just the many old and small pimped cars which came contrary to me, were made me wondering what’s going on.
10.03.2017, Day 54, Zagora: Panda Raid
In this morning I found the source of all the small funny cars. On a big gravel place, tents and flags signed that it was something organized. Also the Police and Military was there with a helicopter and some cars to rules the traffic. As I reached the place, all the cars already left but I was able to speak a few words with the organizers. He explained that they organize a raid for one week every year in a country. There are only the Fiat Pandas allowed to take part in it and the mostly used is the 4x4 from 1991. This year were about 300 participants, most of them from Spain or Italy and today was the last day.
11.03.2017, Day 55, M’Hamid: The Desert
Yesterday evening I decided to leave the main road. I was getting tired of all this traffic and for my opinion it was a bit too touristic. I toked a parallel road, which I regretted after the first kilometers. It was just a rocky track and I had about half of the speed, I had on the main road. The next 30 kilometers I cursed the road and my decision. But I had this quiet place in the middle of nowhere to sleep.
It was getting hotter each mountain chain I crossed. At 12:00 I started looking for a good place to cook and eat lunch. After nearly one more hour riding, I decided to use the shadow of a water pipe of a construction site. A nice wind was blowing inside the pipe where I fried some french fries and read in my book. After one more mountain I reached the desert. It was made clear with many big signs next the street.
«ATTENTION DESERT - Water is a treasure here. Use it with moderation and respect.» I made it! Reached M’Hamid in the afternoon and the first thing I did was searching a store to fill my stomach with water and chocolate.
The last two days I had an eye on my water consumption. I want exactly to
know how much water I need for the case cycle trough uninhabited areas. 48 hours
and 150 kilometers ago, in the evening in Agdz, I drunk and filled up all my
bottles I worn with me. 11 liters… or extra 11 kilograms I worn with me. Most of
the water was used to drink and a bit for washing hands and cooking
- 6 liters water for each cycling day should be enough, that means 100km on good road.
12.03.2017, Day 56, M’Hamid: 4x4 Tour to Chegaga dunes
Yesterday night I was sitting in the last café of the town with a view to the endless desert. Eating my “Omelet Berber” and drinking my strongly sweeten mint-tea they call here “Whisky Berber”. While slinging down my food it didn’t felt normal. I realized that I haven’t eaten on a table with a chair for the last six days and I’ve already gotten used to it. After I satisfied the hunger, I opened my mind from my food to the world again. The wind blown some German words to me from the other side of the terrace. I located the two men which were speaking, took my glass of Tea and greet them while sitting to them. Father Jack and son Andreas from Austria with their 4x4 Toyota. I could expire them to visit some tourist hot-spots in the desert. Today morning we started our Trip.
After the first three kilometers, we deviate from the way in a dried river.
After the sand was getting softer and softer we totally stuck. We had to let out
deflate some air from the tires, put some plants underneath the tires and got
some help from two more peoples to push the car out the sand again. But after
this failed start we had a nice drive for the next six hours to the big dunes
Chegaga and the Sacrée Oasis in middle of nowhere. Three men, a 4x4 car, a big
playground, a swiss pocket knife, some cans of tuna, breads and vegetables… This
is how freedom feels.
Because I didn’t want to stay one more night in this hotel, I had prepared my backpack with the most important stuff, said goodbye to the Austrian guys and started walking to camp in the dunes.
13.03.2017, Day 57, M’Hamid: Before it gets boring
The morning I get surprised by many scarabs enjoying the rests of my oranges I had to breakfast. On my way back from the desert to the town I joined two other German girls and we continued our way. They told me about the Rainbow Gathering their coming from and the local music festival which will start on the 16 of March. We eat breakfast on the street with some other Rainbowers and promised to visit them. After visiting the weekly market, they went to Hamman and I got interested by the stage material which was spread on the big square.
The thought to just wait three days till the festival starts made me bored already. To help these peoples building up the stage was a perfect activity to not get bored. First they absolutely didn’t understand what I want… After I placed my backpack next to their private stuff, rolled up my sleeves and started to build up the framework of the stage they accepted my help. Four hours and a lunch later I promised them to help them again and went back to the hotel to get a shower.
14.03.2017, Day 58, M’Hamid: Rainbow Gathering
During the day I enjoyed to stay at the garden of the hotel, read my book and eat some self-cooked meals. Late I decided to start walking in the old part of the town and to camp in the desert again. The old part of the town was free of any tourists. With my walking speed I had many children around my begging for pencils or candies… some older men grumbled to the children and the cloud around me dissolve instantly.
As it was getting dark I changed the direction to get to the Rainbow
Gathering. I didn’t know exactly where it was, just that it was a 50 minutes’
walk in the north-west of the Town. With this I could estimate the area where it
had to be. After a while passing dunes in the darkness I found a lonely house
with a fire and some people around it. As soon they’ve seen me I got invited to
Tea. After spending an hour on the fire and speaking I asked for the direction
to continue my way. The owner of the house clothed in a blue Dschellaba and a
big Turban lifted his hand and pointed to the stars: “Listen my friend, the
stars will guide you. Follow the small triangle you see, left to the big
triangle. In 15 minutes you should reach your goal.”
I did what he instructed and started walking. After the walk with my heavy backpack and shoes full of sand, I arrived. I had no idea what to expect on this place. It was the first time I’ve even heard about a Rainbow Gahtering. I lovely get welcomed and instructed by Cestmir from Netherlands. After the 50 peoples gathered around the fire for the dinner, we did an angle walk and played some music. It was a lovely gathering from different subcultures around the world. The gathering nonhierarchical and the focus is on peace, love and freedom from new moon till new moon.
15.03.2017, Day 59, M’Hamid: Back in town
Back at festival we installed the lights, mics, speakers and mixer. The first sound checks could be done and everything seems to work fine. At my first day I was very sceptic. Everything was going on with no plan and many things had to be improvised because of defective or missing material. For dinner I get invited again by the workers and even to sleep under the stage. Curious as I am, I would not miss this opportunity.
16.03.2017, Day 60, M’Hamid: 14. Festival des Nomades, let’s go
I had a good and quiet sleep under the stage. The last hours before the first acts will perform, we built up some Berber tents next to the stage for some VIP’s. The school is on the other street of the stage. The last days we had many curios kids inspecting the stage. Some other seemed to be nervous of the imminent test and learned till the last minute’s before school started. They found a comfortable place in the shadow of a wall, next to a waste heap.
To see a band dressed up in their traditional clothes and hitting their e-guitar or drums was unusual for me. They did very well and the guests where singing and dancing. The music was played from 20:00 to 01:00 the next day by these acts:
Danse Guédra Oued Noun
Dudy Skrzypce, traditionel music from Poland
Dikand, world music from Poland
Said Charaf, hassani music
Jeunes Nomades de M’hamid, blues du desert
17.03.2017, Day 61, M’Hamid: 14. Festival des Nomades, 2nd day
After the concert I grabbed my backpack to start walking. I wanted to enjoy the nature and walked in the sandy dunes, outside the city. The morning I was woken up by a very strong sandstorm whipped my face which wasn’t covered by my sleeping bag. Quickly I started packing everything, but it was not that easy with the strong wind. The tent went into a sail and everywhere was sand. And I mean really everywhere! I went back to the Hotels garden and did some office work.
During the day where a parade and other ceremonies I skipped. Only the demonstration of a dromedary race I couldn’t miss. It looked very funny how these big animals tried to run fast and the riders where shaken on their backs. Unfortunately is was so short that I didn’t had the chance to shot a picture. So I went back to the stage for the next acts during the night:
Ahwach Ouarzazate, traditional dancer
Ajal M’hamid, blues of desert
Terakraft, blues of touareg from Mali
Mouloud jaaba Hassani music
18.03.2017, Day 62, M’Hamid: 14. Festival des Nomades, Sleepless night
I went to breakfast with the crew from sigma events. On a normal store the employee prepared some bread with cheese, egg and sausage. To drink it was usually to mix milk with syrup. Sounds funny, tastes good. It was the last day of the Festival, this night the acts where just keep playing till 02:30 and the visitor area was all time filled.
Jbara, moroccain rock
Magda Navarrete, Flamenco Poland
Bombino, Touareg rock from Niger
Nass El Ghiwane, Chanson maroccain
My family will visit me in a few days. Because I stayed to long here, there wasn’t enough time to cycle back, so I decided to take the bus back to Marrakesh. In the morning I had to be on the bus station at 5:30. It definitely didn’t worth to go sleep for less than 3 hours. I helped again my new friends to dismantling the stage, said goodbye, grabbed my stuff and went to the bus station.
19.03.2017, Day 63, Marrakesh: 1. Rainy day
My seat neighbor in the bus was a Moroccan guy in my age. He traveled from Casablanca all the way to the desert to see the music festival, what took him about 15 hours. Unbelievable to drive such a long time to stay 3 days on the festival. In Europe, you would cross about three countries if you ride the same time. The people here must have another sense of time. In our 10 hours’ drive to Marrakesh he told me about special Moroccan food, the dangerous nightlife in Casablanca and some actual things that going on at the border of Mauretania.
As soon our bus crossed the Atlas Mountains, we were in another climate zone. Dark clouds covered the sky, rain hits the window of the bus and flashlights brighten up the surroundings. After two month, it was my first rainy day! Before I started cycling I wear my rain clothes and started cycling to the Hostel Dream Kasbah. I’ve chosen this one because I’ve meet a lot of people stayed there and were happy with it.
20.03.2017, Day 64, Marrakesh: Hotel comparison
Today I spent all the time to explore different hotels, to find the best offer. It was very interesting to see all the different kinds of facility and prices in the city. Specialy there are some small places you would never guess that behind this door would be a beautiful Riad or Hotel. I had visited about twelve different opportunities and fortunately I visited one more place on my list. The Hotel Enija. At the welcome with the manager Björn, we recognized that we’re both from Switzerland and we got in a long conversation. After everything was shown to me and a long conversation I knew that I won’t find any better place.
21.03.2017, Day 65, Marrakesh: Police Station
For visitors from Switzerland or Europe it’s allowed to stay 90 days at a time in Morocco. This also applies to cyclists. Because a friend will join my cycling for a month and needs to get easy back to the airport, we decided to stay around Marrakesh instead of cycling through the Western Sahara. But this way I would exceed my 90-day-visa. I heard some people in the desert, which were close to extend it, unfortunately they were not prepared enough. For this reason I went to the police station in Marrakesh. But they told me It’s only possible with an important reason and they propose to cross the border to Spain and return. This way I could stay another 90 days.
22.03.2017, Day 66, Marrakesh: Bahia Palace & Saadian Tombs
At breakfast, I met Alba again and Jon and Zach joined us. We decided to view two other tourist attractions. First we went to the Bahia Palace. A renovated Riad with some nice details. But after all the luxury hotels I’ve visited yesterday, this palace didn’t impress me anymore. On the way we stopped on my favorite street restaurant to eat a chicken Tajine.
23.03.2017, Day 67, Marrakesh: Family reunion
This morning my family arrived at the airport. I went there by bus and they arrived on time. It was very nice to be reunited with my parents and sister. But we only had five days and I want to show them a bit the way of my way to travel! So we directly started walking to the Menara garden. Later we had a Tajine and went to our Hotel.
24.03.2017, Day 68, Marrakesh: Medina excursion
Today I sent my family in the Bahia Palace, I’ve been yesterday. I used the time to bring my bicycle and all my stuff to the hotel were we would stay the last nights before my family will leave again. So they could enjoy the palace. I also switched their luggage from the last hotel to the second one. It was a Riad which was a big bigger than the last one. At lunchtime we met again to explore the markets and some terraces to drink tea and enjoy the view.
25.03.2017, Day 69, Marrakesh: Atlas cruise
Marrakesh is completely different to the rest of morocco. To give my family a insight of the live outside the city I rented a car. We started early in the morning and drove about three hours along the Atlas Mountains. As soon we were out of the city we were surrounded by olive trees, farmers, sheep, shepherds, fields and hills. We drove till Imi-n-ifri where the nature bridge is. We went down the stairs and have seen that it’s possible to walk underneath along the river. It was impressive to see what work the water has done. On the other side we could climb up again and get back to the road.
The next goal was to visit Abdelaziz. He and his family treated me so nice and lovely that I want do visit him again. It was also a good opportunity for my family to get an idea how the people outside the city lives. And again we were welcomed very friendly by the whole village. A lot of tea’s, olives, and questions later we had to leave again to be back on time to bring the car back. It was a very varied day. Back in Marrakesh we went to our third and last hotel.
26.03.2017, Day 70, Marrakesh: Rest day
27.03.2017, Day 71, Marrakesh: Say goodbye to the Family
For lunch, we choose a burger restaurant near the market. To some old school beats we’ve shared the last stories and updates. We went to the airport where we had to say goodbye already. It was nice to spend the last five days with my family! Hopefully I could’ve minimized their worry about me after they’ve seen how friendly most people are. After they went in the entry of the Airport I went to the train station to get the night train to Tanger.
28.03.2017, Day 72, Tanger: Refreshing the Visa
The train during the night was very hard. It was very loud what made it difficult to fell in sleep or even to listen to some music. I arrived early in the morning in Tanger, walked to the port and took the ferry to Tarifa in Spain. At the market I bought some sausages. Cheese and whine for Björn form Hotel Enija, because he was taking care of my luggage while I was going to Spain. When I got these things I relaxed at the beach thill the next ferry went back. It was nice to spent time there because nobody wanted me to buy anything but on the other hand I already started getting boring after this short time there.
Thinking about how to spend the days till a friend from Switzerland arrived, I decided to went to Chefchaouene, what I unfortunately did not when I cycled from Tanger to Fes. I only heard good things about this place. I went to the hostel Melting Pot, where I’ve met some other peoples which planned to go there tomorrow.
29.03.2017, Day 73, Chefchaouene: The lovely blue city
Felix (Sweeden & German), Rayder (Noorway) and me went to the local bus to Chefchaouene. It was my first time I didn’t took one of the CTM busses which is the biggest company. The local bus was a bit cheaper but it was in much worse conditions. After a three hour drive through the hilly landscape near the Rif mountains, we arrived in Chefchaouene. We walked through the old town of it and were surrounded by blue painted buildings. In the blue color should be some additive against mosquitos someone told us.
Because the hostel didn’t had enough rooms for all three of us we had to continue our search. In my travel guide book they mention a youth hostel outside the town. We decided to try this one because we both haven’t stayed in one of these in morocco yet. It was a long and hard walk up the hill but it was very quiet and we had a room just for ourselves.
30.03.2017, Day 74, Akchour: 25km hike to a nature bridge
Today Felix and me started a hike to Akchour. It’s a small village in the mountains which is a great starting point for some hiking along the river to some waterfalls and a nature bridge. A lot of people take the Taxi to this village but to walk was much more interesting and beautiful. A great mix of colors, villages, forests and mountains.
As we reached the village we continued our hike directly to the closer attraction without knowing which one it was. Unfortunately it was the nature bridge which was not that interesting. The one near Imi-n-Ifri where we could walked underneath it was much better. Back in Akchour in the Taxe we took back we got told that the waterfall is another three hour walk from here. This would have been to hard for us after we walked the route to Akchour already.
31.03.2017, Day 75, Chefchaouene: Rest day
After that long and hard walk we both had sore muscles in our legs. We decided to relax a bit today. We went to the river near the city, read in our books, visited some soccer game and went up the Spanish mosque to see the sunset. There we’ve met many tourists again, we’ve known from the Hostel in Tanger.
The city is much more relaxed than all the other cities I’ve been. A lot of morocco people come to this city as a tourist as well so the shop and restaurant owner know how to treat costumers. The only thing that really starts to nerves was that a lot of people tries to sell some dope to you. Only a few of the catch speaks they do: “Hey men you need a taxi? – No? – Maybe some Hash?”, “Oooh Ali Baba how are you? You want something to smoke?” or “First time here? I have a farm only ten minutes from here. You can make your own hash!” Fortunately in my two month morocco I learned to ignore all these offers, for Felix who was here the first week it was harder to handle.
01.04.2017, Day 76, Chefchaouene: I’m blue da ba dee da ba daa
Today Felix and I spent again most of the time in the city. It was Saturday and there were about twice as much tourists as usual. There were more Moroccan tourists then foreign. Back at the Hostel we’ve met Omar. He had a broken shoulder so we helped him to pack his stuff. In conversations we found out that he cycled with his self-made bike from Morocco to Togo. He was happy to hear that I’m cycle as well and invited us to his hostel in Essaouira where he rents sport equipment. After a while he was picked up by his brothers.
Tonight, Felix and I went to the local Hamman. The water was heated up by a big oven and a lot of firewood next to the entrance. For a low price and some rent for the towels we get into. Inside we get some buckets. Actually, we both had no idea what to do with them… in the steam bath a Moroccan man has seen our confusion and showed us where to fill the buckets and how to wash ourselves with the hot water. After a while we get used to this place and could started to relax the warm and steamy air.
02.04.2017, Day 77, Chefchaouene: Hiking 2100 meters above sea
We got up early in the morning. Our ways gone apart now. Felix went to the bus station to get to Rabat and I went to a meeting point to join a group for a hike. With Garry I knew already from Tanger and three other Germans we started our wandering. The goal was the biggest mountain around the city what should be a 10 hours’ tour. It was a good start but a bit to slow for my opinion. After four hours we still wasn’t even close to the top. The Germans given up to continue because they didn’t risk that they have to walk back in the darkness. After this only Garry and my where left.
We tried to hiked and climbed up small paths but often the paths disappeared and we had to walk through forests and some dangerous areas with loose rocks. After two more hours, we were on the top. Unfortunately, not the highest one. So climbed down and tried to get closer to it. But after we climbed the third top and it was still not the highest, we were too tired to try it again. We had a very nice view from our top as well. We could see hundreds of kilometers till Tanger, the mid sea and even some mountains in Spain and on the backside of the mountain there was still a thick snow layer.
03.04.2017, Day 78, Marrakesh: Back to Marrakesh
04.04.2017, Day 79, Marrakesh: Preparation
05.04.2017, Day 80, Marrakesh: Arrival of a friend
The day I spent to update the page. At night, I drove to the airport to pick up my friend Valentino from Switzerland. He joins me for the next month with his bike. Around 01:00 AM we had built his bike together and were ready to go to the hostel.