Heading west to Marrakesh

This morning I had decided to take a day off riding after the long journey the day before. So I was relaxing in the excellent facilities of the Auberge Zebra Camp in my very comfortable room and wondered what the hell I was going to do for the day?

It didn’t take long to make up my mind to move on despite the lovely place I was staying, I’m just not ready to stop and relax yet.

So I pack up my stuff, which doesn’t take long, pay my bill and I’m on the road again. I’m heading West towards Marrakesh with the hope that I can meet with a couple of friends who just happen to be in the area, they don’t know I’m coming today but we will have to see how that pans out.

Back on the bike feels right and I soon get my goal in sight and settle in to dealing with more traffic than I have been used to over the last few days. It’s not a long journey today only about 100 miles and 2 1/2 hours, I’m not in a hurry and just stick with the main roads following the route using maps.me this time, I forgot how good this app is, I used it with great success on my ride through Albania last year, I was great then too! The good thing about maps.me is that there is a direct link through iOverlander App, so the lodgings of choice can easily be reached without difficulty, it wasn’t to be that easy in the end…

I stop a couple of times to drink coffee and to check progress, I did consider eating at one stop but when I saw the ‘less than fresh’ tagine I decided to give it a miss. You have to be disciplined in what you take on board and nothing is sometimes the better option!

On this journey I begin to see lots of larger properties with walled enclosures, beautiful flowers cascading down their perimeter walls and I wonder what’s inside, I wonder what would happen if I banged on the gate and asked to camp there? I doubt that will ever happen but it would be good to see what’s inside, lots of personal oasis I expect.

Approaching Marrakesh the traffic starts to build and all of a sudden I’m taken back to my India trips! I’m fine with the traffic but my, do you have to be careful, driving standards are a little different out here so it pays to be on the ball.

Approaching the outskirts of the medina my navigation system starts to be a little strange, I’m directed into one of the main medina squares, which incidentally is kinda pedestrianised but I ride in none the less taking care to ride slowly through the hoards of people randomly walking in all directions.

I can’t follow the sat nav, and my destination appears to randomly change, so I ask a policeman and almost immediately get picked up by some random, but very helpful local, he claims to know where I’m heading and insists on taking me there.

Given the circumstances I accept and follow the chap through the back alleys of the medina, he’s asking directions from others as we progress, he didn’t really know where we are going but in the end, and after a few back tracks we find the hotel. He waits patiently at the hotel entrance and I gratefully hand him a tip, it must have been generous as he smiles and disappears into the maze.

By this time the bike is hot and it appears that my fuel is almost boiling! The tank vent is working overtime and bubbles are rising from the bottom of the petrol tank, it doesn’t smell good either, stinking of petrol fumes, I turn the bike off and watch closely as the bike settles down, it was rather hot, I know how it feels too, phew!!

The Hotel wouldn’t have been that hard to find if only I’d have known it was so close and only just off the main square! Riding the alleyways of the medina however was another interesting experience!

I chose this hotel as I can park the bike inside the hotel courtyard (for a very affordable fee) It’s great to know that the bike is safe inside and now I can relax.

The room is affordable and comfortable so I decide to stay a couple of nights. I contact my friends and they reply and we agree to meet, it’s all coming together!!

Roelof and Anya arrive after about an hour and we spend time catching up in the hotel courtyard. I have made a new friend called Abdul, he tries to secure me for the evening, plying me with beer, that’s not fair!!, but I explain that I’m spending the evening with my friends, he gracefully accepts and backs off.

Roelof, Anjra and I walk out into the main square and choose a rooftop French restaurant for drinks, we try for red wine but to no avail. It was worth a try. Black coffee it is then!

Theres a great view of the busy square from the roof and a welcome cooling breeze, we take in the sights then walk back to the hotel. We said our goodbyes and I’m back on my own again.

i went out for food a little later and found an excellent meal, I didn’t realise that I hadn’t eaten today so the meal went down well. A little time watching the world go by and I’m back at the hotel with a fresh bottle of cold water, that’s about 3 litres I drank today, this weather and the drying wind on the bike means you have to keep up with your hydration, I think I’m doing OK but missing the red wine!

Great parking spot for the CRF tonight, apart from the roosting birds above!

Great parking spot for the CRF tonight, apart from the roosting birds above!

Meeting Anya and Roelof, thanks you guys, you made my day a whole lot better. X

Meeting Anya and Roelof, thanks you guys, you made my day a whole lot better. X

View from the French rooftop restaurant, trading and entertainment was brisk!

View from the French rooftop restaurant, trading and entertainment was brisk!

It’s truly an international thing then!

It’s truly an international thing then!

Samuel Jowett