Morocco 05 – Chilling in Morocco

Chronicle of a peaceful Moroccan day. 168 miles of asphalt with few difficulties in driving, but a marvellous landscape to gaze at. This is the other face of such an amazing land: the relaxing one

 

It was supposed to be just an easy transfer on asphalt!!

The computer sound alert informs me that there is mail. I check it, and like every night, I find Pape’s mail anticipating the photos of the day. With a laconic comment: “for today’s stage we’re heading north, along the Ziz Valley, 168 miles of solid asphalt, the destination is Midelt”.
I take a look at the photos and begin to worry: there’s just sand here, no asphalt to speak of. What if he made a mistake, by sending me yesterday’s photos? No, the date is right.
I rack my brains, until at last Alberto’s text arrives. A text where he starts talking about the duties of early morning.
“Before loading the bikes we cleaned and lubricated the chains, which were in terrible conditions after yesterday. All wasted work for Nunzio, who after half an hour trudged on the sand of the great dune behind the hotel. We had thought about going there just to take a picture. But he just couldn’t resist: he immediately had to slip into it, where he got immediately stuck. And we had no other option than to push him out of it in the early morning “.

The day of Pape, Fabio and Nunzio begin shortly after, when they leave behind the Merzouga dunes, pointing towards the North: the destination is Midelt. The purpose of today’s stage is just to get from a place to another: 168 miles on a solid and comfortable strip of asphalt. What it takes after a hard day like yesterday.

Erfoud market (Photo courtesy of Joaoleitao)

Our three friends avoid the main road, opting for a secondary road, that goes straight to Erfoud, a beautiful and lively town, where they stop to fill up the bikes and to change currency. They are in the Ziz Gorge, with the landscape changing from an immense and barren plain to a very wide valley, with an infinite palm grove that runs along the river.
The road crosses a myriad of Ksar, small castles or fortified constructions. Along the valley is also found Er-Rachidia, a city first founded by the French Foreign Legion. But our friends prefer to get out of it to find the right place to eat. Once they left the city they stop in a little bar. The host offers them an excellent tajine, a typical stewed meat dish, accompanied by omelettes and vegetables.
Time to move on, with the landscape changing once again. Now the trio is close to the mountains of the Middle Atlas: what a show! The road meanders to the right and to the left. They cross the Zabaal Tunnel, still manned to this day by two soldiers. And shortly thereafter the patrol of three motorcycles crosses the pass at 6256 ft of altitude. Up there the cold is biting, and their hands are almost frozen.
The north side, however, unlike the climb, allows you to descend in a few miles. In short, you can warm up quickly.
At the horizon, you can already glimpse the town of Midelt, where the night stop is scheduled.
“The first hotel we meet seems good, and after having contracted, as usual, we unload the bikes”.

It was a beautiful day.

 

Previous chapters here
Morocco 01 – Alberto’s Mal d’Afrique, when saudade crosses the ocean
Morocco 02 – Pape, Fabio and Nunzio in Morocco!
Morocco 03 – The African way of life
Morocco 04 – Following the footsteps of the real “Paris-Dakar”

Next chapter here
Morocco 06 – Yup, they were here

 

Ziz Gorge (photo courtesy of Hiroki Ogawa)

 

Ksar are typical Moroccan houses (photo courtesy of Asram)

 

Were you expecting a street full of potholes?

 

 

From left to right, Alberto Pape, Fabio, Nunzio

 

 

 

 

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