Friday, 19 February 2016

Stage 1 to the Blue City

Day 8: Fes – Ain Dorij
Time: 5:19:45
Distance: 95.5km
Average Speed: 17.9km/h

After a serious lack of sleep on the bus to Meknes I collapsed at about 10PM last night. I slept very easily and didn't hear any of the other people in the hostel dorm enter the room when they were going to their bunks. The hostel breakfast was solid and I topped up with some more food from the bakery up the street. I was on the road a little later than normal today which I was ok with since yesterday was tough.

Escaping the clutches of Fes took about 30 or 40 minutes and more than a few wrong turns. It's always the way with the bigger cities. Eventually I was on the R501 and the climbing began. I made very few kilometres for the first few hours because of the climbing but eventually the road flattened out. The North of Morocco is a lot colder than the South and the land is also a lot greener. Today I was passed through a lot of farmland. The first major town on the map came after about 60km but Karia Ba Mohamed is a charmless place and since it was only 4pm I decided to keep on going.

About 50km from Ouezzane I saw a sign for a Gite (guesthouse) up the road. This was the first sign that I'd seen for any accommodation all day so I made that my target. On the way I stopped in a bakery in Ain Dorij to check if the Gite existed. The owner spoke a bit of English and said that there were rooms in the Roma Cafe up the street. Staying here would save me 10km today and another 10km tomorrow since the Gite was off the main road that I was taking.

The room is cold, there's no shower (just a warm water tap) and all toilets in the building are squatters but the place served up one of the best dinners that I've had in Morocco. I had barbecued turkey and kofta with mint tea before and after. Fiorentina and Spurs were playing on the TV. Every night there's football on TV in Morocco. In the cafe I chatted with one of the few Moroccans on the trip who spoke great English but didn't want to sell me anything. Looking at the amount of metres climbed last week on Strava I came to the following realisation:

Kilometres Climbed in the week: 8,637m
Mount Everest: 8,848m

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