Friday, 19 November 2010

10 Nov 2010 - Marrakesh to Fez

We were already well aware that the coach travel between cities takes longer here in Morocco than we were used to in Spain.   We were also aware that the 296 miles between Marrakesh to Fez would be the longest yet, and that it was over “National roads” rather than “Motorway”.   Not just any national roads, but a very winding one over the Atlas Mountains.

Given the guides warning about the length of the days travel, it was surprising that we did not have a particularly early start.  In fact it was 0900 when we left, which was the latest start yet.

Apart from one stop, the whole day was spent in the coach and any photos had to be taken through the window of the moving coach.   Which was a shame, because we passed many interesting sights, both people and scenery.   Like this family leaving an open air market in one of the villages we passed through.

The one stop we did have was at the most impressive motorway café we experienced during our tour.   It looked pretty ordinary when we pulled up outside the café, but it had this lovely rose garden at the back.  

Despite being on the edge of the Sahara Desert we only saw a few camels.  It was so unusual that our guide Hassan drew our attention to this one as we were passing.

We had been lucky with the weather so far on this holiday, but by mid afternoon it was clear that today would be wet.   Despite the weather there was a market in this little village, and despite the mud and pools of water it seemed to be well supported.

The highlight of today was to have been what Hassan called “The Switzerland of Morocco”.  The weather must have delayed us longer than expected because even though Hassan pursuaded our driver to drive through his scheduled break it was still dark when we arrived in heavy rain.   So despite a three hour drive without a single stop we still did not see "The Switzerland of Morocco".   After a visit to the café we were determined to see something of the village, but this stone lion was the best we could do.   Despite the weather it was good to get out of the coach and stretch our legs.

It was 1900 when we finally arrived at our 5 star hotel in Fez.   It has been a long ten hours, for the driver even more than for us.  He was rewarded with a round of applause when we reached the hotel – much like a pilot landing after a difficult flight.   Hassan had made much of the fact that we had been upgraded from a four star to a five star hotel.  However he did not mention that it was much further from the centre of Fez.   After a long and tiring day we were not tempted to venture out and explore.  A good meal and off to bed was the preferred option for most of us.    

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