Monday, 10 September 2012

Day Five - Skoura to Marrakech

We had a really relaxed night in our Kasbah guest house in Skoura and felt refreshed for the day ahead. After much contemplation we decided to take the main road to Marrakech. After checking out the mountain range the piste crossed reaching heights of nearly 3000m I decided the main road would be safer for my sanity!

We set out on the road and had a little more of the open canyon to drive through before we were back in the Atlas mountains. I could see that as the crow flies Marrakech didn't seem that far on the map but the road seemed to meander so much that the route looked at least three times as long!

We reached a huge damned in lake just before the road climbed into the mountains. As the lake was only half full we decided to drive into it - much easier then just looking from the road and it fulfilled Jamie's off roading need a little!

Our loyal friend!

We carried on and entered the mountain roads after days of flat dessert! It was crazy to look at the other vehicles on the road - vans piled high with people or animals or both. Busses with doors open and passengers hanging our for ventilation. Lorries packed so high they could hardly crawl up the hills. The locals treated these roads with no extra caution - still overtaking on blind corners and speeding onto their next destination!

Besides me clenching every muscle in my body around these hairpin bends there were some magnificent views looking all the way out to Marrakech as well as back over the mountain range.

The villages had changed again too. Gone had the golden sandy mud constructed houses of the dessert towns. Now the houses were red from the amazing rouge soil of the mountains. They all nested on the edge of the rocks quite camouflaged against their surroundings.

We drove through more villages and stopped in one for a drink in the heat!

We finally descended the mountains and entered a flat area that would eventually lead us to Marrakech!

I had printed lots of maps in preparation for finding our hotel here but after realising the Moroccans aren't a fan of street names or signs they were about as useful as a pen without paper!

We drove around for an hour debating where we though we 'might' be on the map before we realised we were starving so stopped to decide what too do and grab a roadside bite.

We turned on our mobile dater roaming and £14 later and a confirmation of our location (courtesy of google) we realised we had not been far off and now knew how to get straight to our door.

Our hotel is located just inside the medina. The street we drove to it by seemed to have lots of scrap looking cars with main elements of their structure missing which was a little worrying but we park outside our hotel never the less! We have yet to see if any of it remains!

We explored the city in the evening walking through the Medina and and back streets! It's a crazy busy place that I'm sure had lots to offer but after not seeing many tourists at all on the rest of our journey to now not being able to turn a corner without seeing a French, English or American tourist on their holidays took away a little of the adventure and magic! Meknes in my opinion was a far more exciting city a lot more reflective of the Moroccan culture. Then again I'm always more a fan of the countryside so this is just my opinion!

We are now (so long as the cars in tact) off on the road to Essaouira a fishing town on the Atlantic coast with lots of beautiful countryside surrounding it. There is also a national park with sand dunes leading to the sea which we will check out too!

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