208.Day: Sidi Abdallah-Marrakech

12th of December 2018:

After the failed attempt to dry the tent from the dew of the night with the help of the sun, we started our cycling day. We made good progress, like the day before and refueled in a small village. There, we ordered two soft drinks and bread filled with onions, meat and sauce. We were hungry and the food was delicious, so we ordered the same things again. The owner was impressed and wanted to do a picture together in front of his grill. Afterwards, we destroyed a milk shake at his neighbors shop with five different fruits and attacked the last 35km to Marrakesh. At the home of Cantal, who we know through the community Warmshowers, we could pitch our tent on the roof of her house and had a beautiful view over the city.

207.Day: Casablanca-Sidi Abdallah

11th of December 2018:

We left the luxury of our own room behind and started our cycling day. After we left the chaotic roads of Casablanca behind us, we soon turned to a side road. A lot of agriculture was visible on all sides and every couple of minutes we saw a carriage that had one or several donkeys pulling it. When we pedaled around 100km, the surroundings changed from a green plain to a coarse hilly landscape. Thanks to the good roads, we made good progress and cycled more than 130km in one day for the first time in a while. In a small village, we bought some food. Many children who were present gathered quickly around us and screamed fragments of sentences in minimum three languages in our direction.

205.- 206.Day: Break Days- Casablanca

9th- 10th of December 2018:

Doug showed us a few of the beautiful and most authentic corners of the number one finance center in Morocco and Africa. We especially liked the port on which we saw many fishing boats and anglers presented their catch of the day. Not far from the boats, there were three restaurants, full with locals. After we arrived, all restaurants fought to have us as a guest. There was only one menu available: Freshly grilled sardines, bread and an omelet with shrimps including tea. This all-you-can-eat dish cost around 2.50 Euros.

Besides, we visited the huge mosque again from outside and learnt that there was a green laser beam from the minaret pointing in the direction of Mecca by night. The state-of-the-art mosque is equipped with an automatically opening roof, including floor heating in the prayer hall.  

On our last evening in the city with more than 3 million inhabitants and therefore the largest city for the next few weeks, we treated ourselves with a Thai dish. Before, we enjoyed the sunset from Doug’s roof terrace with a glass of white wine.

204.Day: Rabat-Casablanca

8th of December 2018:

After saying goodbye to our amazing host Daoud, we cycled along the coastal road out of the capital. Quickly, the landscape got rural and shepherds waved energetically at us when we passed. It was a day of contrasts: A palatial king’s property guarded by dozens of soldiers and on the other side of the road, we saw destitute shepherds with their sheep and goat. In Casablanca, next to the second largest mosque in the World, there were housings in a miserable condition and people in front of them begging. The Hassan-II.-Mosque is the highest minaret and the highest religious building in the World. Building the mosque took six years and the reason was the 60th birthday of the former king Hassan II and offers space forup to 25’000 Muslims.

Douglas, an American, who works as a teacher in Casablanca, warmly welcomed us in his apartment in the city center. He offered us a glass of Moroccan wine and we had nice conversations about the live in Morocco and cycle touring.

202.- 203.Day: Break Days- Rabat

6th- 7th of December 2018:

While enjoying the sunshine, we visited the beach in vicinity to the city center and the Kasbah. Kasbah is the Arabic expression used in Maghreb-states for a fortress, which is located inside or outside of a city. In the medina, we roamed through the countless alleys, filled with small shops selling useful and useless things. In addition, we visited the Hassan-Tower, an imposing, unfinished minaret from the 12th century, which belongs to a likewise unfinished mosque. In the evening, our host cooked a Moroccan dish out of nothing and we ate it traditionally with our hands and a lot of bread.

Rabat is the capital of Morocco since 1956 and inherits the residency of the king and the seat of the government. Next to Fez, Marrakesh and Meknes, Rabat is the fourth imperial city of Morocco. Those cities were in the past all once capitals of the country and therefore magnificent.

On our last evening in Rabat, we ate with Daoud in the Medina, tried new sweets and talked about the difference in life comparing Morocco and Europe.

201.Day: Mograne-Rabat

5th of December 2018:

We only woke up after 9.30 AM, since both of us assumed the sun would wake us up. After we opened the zipper of our tent, we realized that there was thick fog all around us. The rather short day until the capital Rabat was rather uninteresting, since the view was bad and one city followed the next one. Kenitra and Salé are worth seeing, if one is looking for an authentic Moroccan town with confusing construction sites, traffic chaos, carriages in the middle of the main road and vegetable vendors where the traffic is supposed to be. In the early afternoon, we reached the large city and were warmly welcomed by our host Daoud. Together with his cousin, we discovered the Medina and tried various freshly squeezed fruit juices.

200.Day: Ouezzane-Mograne

4th of December 2018:

Today is the 200th day on our journey from Norway to South Africa, which means that already one third of the trip is over.

We definitely left the mountains and the landscapes got flat extremely quick. Tractors replaced mules and horses on the huge fields. On the road, we crossed dozens of carriages on the way to the local market, which were pulled by horses and filled with fresh vegetables. On the side of the road, many shepards with their goats, sheep or cows greeted us friendly. Generally, the locals are enthusiastic about seeing two tourists cycling through their country. Whether truck drivers with a honk or men on the side of the road with a smile. For lunch, we had lamb cutlets, which were removed directly in front of our eyes from the animal on the meat hook and directly handed to the pit master. When we had to pay, like most of the time, we had to bargain for the price and did not give up; until we had the feeling, the price was right.

199.Day: Chefchaouen-Ouezzane

3rd of December 2018:

After we crisscrossed the blue, extremely contorted alleys full of small shops, we left Chefchaouen southwards. The many cork oaks we saw during the first few kilometers do not astonish too much, since they constitute 10% of the Moroccan forest and the northern African country is the third largest exporter of cork worldwide. Quickly, the valley was getting smaller and we followed a river most of the day, which was winding through olive plantations and small villages. In the last days, we saw many people ploughing their fields only with small tools or with the help of mules. Today, we even saw men and women milling flour with the help of a donkey.

The hills surrounding us got smaller and the landscape flattened more and more. After Ouezzane, we found a nicely located spot, not far from the road.

198.Day: Akchour-Chefchaouen

2nd of December 2018:

We asked a teenager to look after our bicycles including the luggage and then walked along the river on a small trail. This trail led us up a steep hill, far above the gorge and soon after we could see the “god’s bridge”. We walked until the nature bridge and found an older men there, who was selling drinks and Hashish. Morocco is the biggest exporter of Hashish worldwide. The hemp plants are cultivated mostly in the Rif Mountains east of Chefchaouen. It is estimated that a million people in Morocco earn their livelihood from the cultivation and disposition.

According to locals, we were not able to gaze at the bridge from beneath, since the river carries to much water. However, we saw a small, very exposed trail from the bridge down to the river. We did not want to take the same way back and thought it should somehow be possible to get out of the gorge otherwise. In the beginning, the trail was easily accessible, but got more difficult and more exposed quickly. After a longer period of climbing and crossing the river without shoes, we realized that we had to go back the same way or swim downstream in the cold river. When we climbed back up, we walked back to our bicycles and pedaled on a panoramic road to Chefchaouen.

197.Day: Amsa-Akchour

1st of December 2018:

We enjoyed breakfast supported by superb sunshine and dried our wet clothes. Before we started our cycling day, Hassan tried to convince us once more to do business with him. This time, he was more emotional and even got angry. Especially, when we emphasized that we did not even think about giving him money for the overnight. With the knowledge, this could be his intention; we specifically asked twice yesterday if he wants money for his hospitality and he declined clearly. After we left the failed Moroccan businessperson and his curses behind us, we reached the stunning coastal road. The steep road led us up and down until we reached Oued Laos. Already completely in the Rif mountain range, the road was following a river deeper and deeper into the mountains. The Rif is part of the Atlas mountain range and covers more than 350km from the Mediterranean Sea until the Middle Atlas in the South.

An imposing gorge, which was surrounded by high mountains and many small trails followed, which connect the mountain villages with each other. Shortly after, we reached the “Parc National de Talassemtane” and therefore the village Akchour. The park protects the last fir forest in Morocco.