Sunday, 6 January 2008

5th Jan 07

Date: 5th Jan 2008
Location: Azrou, Morocco – on edge of Mid Atlas mountain range
Weather: Clear blue skies, sunshine, @ 18:00 7°c, 4” snow on ground
Status: Ben – excellent, Colonel – excellent

Stayed in the tent in front of the Atlas Hotel, Chefchaouen and the view from my window was superb to say the least! The Rif mountains stretch from the coast at Larache to Oujda in the east on the Mediterranean coast and the campsite for the night was slap bang in the middle of them. Snow-capped from about 1200m, and our camp being around the 800m mark meant that in the distance the snow was visible but wouldn’t be effecting us unless we ascended by some distance….wait for the end of the day then!

Drove south from our accommodation across the Rif range into the Cherarada valley below and the transformation was spectacular – from olive groves producing oil using traditional presses powered by donkey, into arable fields producing winter wheat which were very well tended and stretched for miles. I was surprised by quite how green everything seemed and how self-sufficient everyone appears in this part of the world, an awesome way to live!

After a bite of lunch on the wing of the Colonel we continued south with the Mid Atlas range looming progressively larger in the distance en route to Azrou, and as we climbed the snow became more and more obvious until we hit the snow line and before we knew it there was 6” of snow on the ground from the fairly heavy falls 2 days prior, not exactly what I was expecting from Africa – the shorts will have to stay in the vehicle for another few days yet then!

Found the Panorama Hotel at the top of the hill which Azrou is sited on, a very Moroccan styled building with big roaring fires as they all seem to have at the time of the year! Jen and Col found their room and I chose my site in the car park…gonna be a cold one tonight me thinks! Had a wander down in to town and through the market area before sampling the wonders of mint tea at a really cute little street-side café. Its really good to get back into using French in everyday conversation and something I wasn’t expecting to have to do at all – just wish I’d gone to a load of classes before I left the UK!

Loving Morocco, the friendliness of the people we meet at the edges of the road, the helpfulness of the police and the sunshine!

End of day location: Azrou, Morocco.
Distance covered: 250kms.

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