It ain’t half hot mum…

Posted by on 14, May 2015 in 2015 - Iberia and Morocco, Morocco, North Africa, Taffy

It ain’t half hot mum…

‎We’ve managed to see most of Morocco with Goldilocks weather not too hot, not too cold but arriving in Marakesh we stepped out of the van into a wall of heat. We left the coast in a pleasant 21C (nice for you heathen Yanks) and got out in Marakesh at 39C (darn hot for my American cousins). Fortunately Taffy was hooked up with the aircon on at a lovely camp site about 12km north of the city so remained cool ish.  

We got a taxi in for the evening and found that multi tasking is a taxi driver art form, in fact the driver really needed a co-driver so that at least someone other than us could be looking out of the windscreen and holding on to the steering wheel. I’m sure they do it to impress you but thought the optional extra of removing the seat belts was going too far. And on the bright side he didn’t go at 100kph like a Russian one did with us in it once (so fast he couldn’t  hear us scream) 

Marakesh is a wonderfully noisy city, the narrow Medina streets, generally the width of a footpath, are filled with people, motorbikes, bikes, donkeys and the odd Tandem and there’s hardly room to swing a cat (which may well be a competitive sport here judging how they treat there animals) and the main square is an enormous plaza ablaze with fires cooking meals in market stalls, juice bars, bands, hawkers and tourists. We sat in a bar overlooking the action as the sun set before adjourning to a beautiful restaurant tiled from floor to ceiling in Islamic patterned ceramics and with lamps to die for Linda said (which probably means me doing the dieing if I saw the price) and a glass of wine!‎ Heaven. 

We’d resolved to cycle in the next day and as the temperature was going to be 40 just after lunch planned to set off early. As many will know our definition of early is very very loose, add that to getting chatting to a lovely South African couple in a 4×4 beast en route to Mauritania, and you can guess we left at 1pm. The hottest part of the day. It was slightly uphill as well, so slight that on any other day we’d not have noticed it, but for us it was like climbing Mount Everest.   We’ve rarely had such a hard short cycle and we had to stop in a children’s playground half way for a cool down and a drink.

Once we arrived at the city gates we dived straight into the Medina weaving our way through streets like true locals. We must be the only tourists ever to cycle on a tandem via all the monuments we wanted to see. It’s a great way to see the city as the traders can’t try and sell you anything as you wiz past and you’re forever accompanied by a chorus of “Nice Bike”. It’s also surprisingly refreshingly cool‎.

We’d cycled in on a protected cycle lanes for a good distance and when we’d finished our cycle tour headed to the “Velo Parking Garage”‎ just off the main square. (it was almost like Holland!)  This was a ramshackle falling down building where every inch of floor space had a moped crammed into it.   To get Tilly in crates, bikes and people were all moved and Tilly slid in to her spot safe and sound. 66p for the night.

A stop at a Veggie friendly cafe and dinner overlooking the square on a roof top terrace as night fell was a great end to the day before heading home back through the Medina on Tilly in a cloud of smoke to a multitude of smells. BBQ’s were alight on virtually every street and the smell from these may have been a way of covering up the cheesy feet smell from the mosques at prayer time or the drains and sewers which in places were extremely ripe.

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