I had not slept well. We were up early, showered and away by 8.30am. We’d had a couple of cakes and yoghurt for breakfast and had stopped at a café for tea. I felt extremely sick after the cakes. We left the Djnaa El Fnaa, at last, and headed through the crowded, smoky medina and out onto the road towards Ouzazerte.
The first 30kms were rather dull and flat with lots of kids pestering us, as usual. After this, we entered the foothills of the High Atlas, the road winding steeply up through small farms. Half way up, we bumped into two cyclists, Brian and Sarah from Christchurch, New Zealand. They had stopped under a tree. I pulled up and said hello. They, too, had cycled from England but had taken the train from Tangiers to Marrakech.
Dan was quite far behind and had been complaining of feeling stiff and achy. He pulled and put his bike down before lying down. He did not feel well. Poor sod. Brian and Sarah went on. I cooked up some rice, sardines and tomatoes for lunch. Dan was feeling awful. I packed some of Dan’s stuff away for him and gave a pot of yoghurt to a hungry looking boy who had been lingering nearby.
We carried on up the steep road, Dan gradually dropping back. We came to the top of this first hill and whizzed down to the bottom of the next hill. The road came into more arid looking terrain with grey, brown and green colours in the earth and rocks. We went through small villages with snotty-nosed children shouting “Monsieur, Monsieur! Donnez-moi un stylo, dirham, bonbon!”
“No! Bugger off!” was my usual reply or, occasionally, a boot up the back side if the angle and speed was right [We were not particularly tolerant of these kids, as you have probably gathered].
An ‘overland expedition’ truck came past, the trippers waving and smiling at us. Fleets of Land Rovers stuffed full of tourists would come past us that day in each direction. Dan was weakening severely and kept stopping to knock back ‘Lemsips’ to keep himself going.
Eventually, as the light was going at about 1800, we came into Taddert, a one-horse town, if there ever was one. Ahead, I saw Brian and Sarah walking up the street. They saw me and started to imitate the children we had seen on the way up. I laughed. They told us where to find the hotel and we moved on.
It was ‘Auberge de Noyer’, the only hotel in town which meant they had a monopoly which was reflected in the price. It was 70 dirhams for two with no showers and with electricity between 6pm and 10pm. Brian and Sarah helped us get the bags and bikes in.
We had a coffee at the bar because it was quite cold. Dan went straight to bed. I stayed on and ate a tajine with the Kiwis. We talked about Morocco and their travels. They had been travelling for six months with another six months to go. I paid my bill and went to bed feeling quite tired, but had a shave before hitting the sack.
Distance 93.45 kms Average Speed 9.9 kmh Time 9 hrs 21 mins
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family, works in a technology company in London and does as many micro-adventures as he can.
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