Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The last route in Morocco - High Atlas Dec 2014 (by Polka)

The end of our trip to Morocco was approaching fast which also meant the end of our four months touring around Europe and slightly beyond. This is our last route in Morocco - going through High Atlas. We first planned to follow the route after our stay in Marrakesh but at the time we couldn't get to the start of it due to road closures followed by the heavy rains we'd mentioned so many times. Since we had to change our plans we approached this route from what was supposed to be the end of it had we done it from Marrakesh. 

Once the rain was over we had sunny days and blue clear sky every day. Temperatures were reaching 26 degrees C. Very pleasant weather, just right for touring around, however days became shorter and by that time it got dark around 5:30 p.m. It limited how far we could go in a day since we didn't want to drive in the dark for simply we didn't want to miss out on beautiful views. Also some routes were too difficult to drive on after the sun set.

Still on a sealed road leading to the start of the track.

Snow isn't uncommon at this time of year. We actually expected even more snow on some of our routes.

                                              And we are off road! Well, kind of.

Now we are definitely off road!

Hey, there was no supposed to be a road like this in here!

It wasn't a surprise to us to find our route covered in snow. It isn't unusual for this time of the year. In fact it was the second time in Morocco that we'd come across snow in the Atlas mountain. However, it was on a much bigger scale than the first time. Also, this time we had the mountains to one side and a sheer drop to the other. Furthermore, we hadn't had a chance to test the car properly on snow yet. Having all that in mind we made a decision not to proceed and instead look for an alternative route.

Out of the snow

A shop on wheels

Our last lunch stop. We thoroughly enjoyed having our meals alfresco. The decision was made to give away any equipment that we couldn't take to New Zealand instead of dumping it in the UK. I was willing to stop at the very first village to give the cooker and other items away.

And here's the group of girls whom we came across soon after lunch and who were very happy with everything we had to give away. In return we were invited to their house for a tea. Unfortunately with huge regret as we would have loved to see how those girls lived we had to decline their invitation for it was getting late and we still had a long way across the mountains and to Marrakesh afterwards.  

A very difficult piece of track - deep ruts in some places and some parts of it washed away

This was not supposed to be a sealed road yet! So it's over! Out of the dirt track, back on a sealed road, heading for Marrakesh for the last night in Morocco.

In Marrakesh

Last minute shopping in the medina. It turned out Aaron cannot haggle!

We booked a late ferry from Tangier so we were going to spend a short night at a hotel there and then head for our ferry. Having arrived really late in Tangier and had difficulties finding a hotel to spend the few hours at we simply drove to the ferry port and parked there for a quick nap before our ferry. We were spotted by a man who run up quickly to our car asking where we were going and then hurried Aaron to the check in. He also helped Aaron with completing some documents. At first I thought he worked for the ferry company but Aaron explained it was quite normal to find men like him at ports in Morocco who 'help' passengers in return for a tip. Having that in mind as well as learnt our lesson in tipping in Morocco we weren't too generous I guess as the man wasn't happy with the amount we gave him. The truth is we didn't really need his help and the only good that came out of it was getting on an earlier ferry than the one we originally booked.

On the ferry Tangier - Gibraltar

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