Sunday, March 27, 2016

Morroco - Marrakech, Andy's Odes & Top Tips

Morocco March 2016 - The Map

Do Geography!

Some Photos from Marrakech

The alleys - dodging donkeys, bikes, carts, motorbikes, other bikes and people - the hostel (& their famous breakfasts) the Bazzar & markets - the bike sorting from their travelling boxes







Supplementary Section - Andy's Odes 

(Musings that are sometimes poetic and sometimes not)



Ode to the Sac Plastique (Plastic Bag)

You are light
You are convenient
So easily disposed
You are everywhere
Sac Plastique

Caught on the many brambles
Caught in the sandy hollows
Kilometer after kilometer
Into the distance
Sac Plastique
  
You cover the barren lands
At the Entry
At the Exit
At most Villages and Towns
Oh Sac Plastique

In Blue
In White
In Green
What would these roads look like if it wasn’t for the

Sac Plastique?

What could we do 
Differently
Rather than use 
The
Sac Plastique?





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Caution: The following section contains a few quick tips specifically for Cycle Touring

– Do not read: if you’re after a good story accompanying a good beverage –  Do read: if you’re thinking of going Cycle Touring in Morroco


Top Tips with Andy – Cycle Touring in Morroco

  1. Don’t bother with trains & bike boxes/bikes in Morroco – use the CTM busses. (We tried & after the ticket guy telling us it was fine we were stopped at the door & then spent the next hour getting different answers on luggage, lugging our bike boxes around & getting the tickets refunded)
  2. Buses:  Be specific about going to the CTM Bus Depot, rather than the Gare Routiere (We ended up at the Gare Routiere on the Taxi, despite thinking we’d emphasised the CTM sufficiently well.  This was a completely different experience to CTM. The Gare Routiere is a local station, crowded, loud, very busy and sometimes daunting!)
  3. Knowing French is a really good time in Morroco – Some people known a little English, but everyone seems to know French.
  4. Flying into Morroco:  If starting in Marrakech fly directly in / out of Marrakesh airport if possible to save a day of travel logistics etc.  We had to fly into Casablanca with Emirates, but could have flown out to Holland with Air Maroc from Marrakech.
  5. Bike boxes with Air Maroc – NB:  They cost about 550D ($80NZD) each with these guys – so factor that it.  You will need to pay this when checking in.
  6. The Moroccan Expectation of Payment:  Always be cautious with offers of help with baggage!  Only ask for help from women or shop keepers re directions.  Agree on prices of taxis etc & write it down on paper to avoid any uncertainty.
    Accepting an offer of help:  If someone does offer to help and you accept have a clear start/end point to the help, even if they seem genuine & want to help you buy your tickets etc…. They often are after some extra coin & will try and sell you a sob story to get some.  10 D seemed to be the min accepted here.
  7. Toilets:  Most times you could use a local caf√© or petrol station toilet for free if you asked.  Keep some 1 D coins on you for the bus toilet areas etc
  8. Cooker Fuels:  Don’t rely on gas or other cooker fuels.  Petrol seemed to be the only solution or we did find some puncture only gas cartridges at some supermarkets.
  9. Finding Bike Boxes in Morroco:  Bike boxes are apparently a real pain to find in Casa – leave yours somewhere if you can.  We understand a lot of bikes are arriving in plastic bags now.
  10. Clothing & Sleeping Bags in Feb/March– It can be really cold in March – we’d suggest taking your good winter bags for this end of the season and warm clothes.
  11. Tenting:  40-50D ($10 NZD, 2016) seemed to be fairly standards at campgrounds fr two people and a tent, with 10D sometimes for a shower and most places having WiFi.
  12. Food:  We found couscous/veges and either Tuna or eggs the best meal options for quick and nutritious.  Dates & almonds from the markets were a winner (especially if you’re prepared to buy a 1kg packet of dates (25D).  Rolled oats from the Supi with yoghurt was a good change from bread.
  13. Advice:  Ask a number of people something, don’t always rely on one piece of advice (like the time Yousef told us there was a really good link road from near his guesthouse to where we were going & there definitely wasn’t)
  14. Ave Spending:  For us in 2016 = 240D/Day = $36 NZD for both of us (Nb: including mixture of tenting (80%) and hostels, cooking for ourselves 70% of the time and including taxis at either end/buses/hostel at Marrakech at either end)



3 comments:

  1. Hi guys, I have just read through your blogs from the beginning of your travels. Awesome blog, newsy, very interesting and well written. Fantastic photos. Felt like I was riding along with you, not that I can ride a bike!! I am looking forward to your European section, having been to that part of the world many years ago. enjoy your travels. Marg Bartlett

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    1. Marg! We just realised we never replied to you! Thanks so much for your feedback and kind words almost a month ago. Hope you are well and you and Bob are able to get out in the Caravan a bit before winter hits. We're just in Croatia & about to journey towards Greece. A&M

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  2. Just like Turkey, people are very keen to help you with your bags and then...;)

    Amazing route, beautiful country (I'm sure), great adventure. Ka pai!

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