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Morocco Trip Pictures (Page 1 of 2) from June 18 to July 14, 2008

To proceed to Morocco Pictures Page 2 or Morocco Journal.

Our Route through MOROCCO. Covered approx. 5,200km on the motorcycles.

June 18, 2008. We cross into Morocco from Mauritania at the Al-Gargara. 2300km this Milestone indicates.

The WESTERN SAHARA has lots of land mines...

...and therefore it is important to keep to the main route.

After one of our longest border crossings of (3) hours we are finally in Morocco.

327km later we arrive in Dakhla. To windy to set up the tent we stay in this hut at the Centre Surf Extreme.

June 19, 2008. We mount the motorcycles early to get as many miles behind us as possible.

The never ending desert, sand and wind were starting to get to us just a little bit.

Dakhla to El-Aaium, also called Laayoune, is 542km of nothingness,...

...expect the occasional check-stop.

The skeleton of a ship on the Western Sahara Coast line.

This deserted beach might look appealing, but the Atlantic Wind is hauling and very cold.

In Laayoune we take a room & the motorcycles are parked in here.

June 20, 2008. We detour to Tarfaya to see the DAR MAR, a 200 years plus old castle.

Here we say Good-Bye to the Western Sahara, cheap gasoline ($0.75CDN/litre) & military/police check stops.

We continue northwards to Tan Tan, Guelmim & after 700km arrive in Taroudannt.

The view from our room ($6.00CDN/night).

The motorcycles are parked in the open square below,...

...which is surrounded by cafes and men drinking coffee.

June 21, 2008. The old town of TAROUDANNT is encircled by a 7km long wall.

The wall and towers are one of the best preserved in Morocco.

We decide to walk the circumference of the 7km wall.

The Walls are in poor repair away from the main area.

Locals have dug holes into the side walls to create a short cut for pedestrians & scooters.

A white mosque. The haze is too thick & we can only see the outline of the High Atlas Mountains.

Here the wall has completely collapsed.

A tower is cracking.

A Moroccan on his way to the market with his fresh produce.

Through Morocco is quite modern, donkeys & carts are still a common sight.

Another gate into the walled town.

The walls around the main entrance (touristy area)...

...are in very good shape.

June 22, 2008. We back track from Taroudannt to Agadir & follow the coast on the P8 to Essaouira.

In ESSAOUIRA the sun burns off the mist & fog to give-way to a beautiful fortified town.

Colorful carpets are displayed in the medina within the walled town.

A spice souk were we buy some Argon.

Argon oil is made from the nuts of the Argon tree.

I guess we could always get a motorcycle built here, if ours fail.

Olives and more olives...

...we can not resist buying some.

Blue doors, a trademark of Morocco.

The minerat of a mosque.

Morocco has amazing food for very cheap.

Doesn't this look very healthy and fresh?

Argon Oil and nuts.

Only 500m from the Bab Doukkala (Gate) we find a very nice hotel for less then $30.00CDN/night.

June 23, 2008. We enter the walled town of Essaouira, before most tourists and locals are awake...

...and head straight for the south-eastern point and the port.

The sqalas, also called sea bastion mark the harbour entrance.

Small fishing boats line the harbour.

Calm waters and perfect reflections.

We watch at the dock as the fishermen...

...return with their morning catch.

It is a large harbour and several fishing boats are pulled out of the water for maintenance.

Try finding your boat in the midst of all these similar looking ones.

A second sqala (bastian) is only a couple of hundred meters from the first.

The medina is full of small streets ...

...and alleyways.

The outer ramparts can be climbed ...

...and has canons facing the sea. This one is dated 1758.

The town was founded in the 7th Century BC.

Most of the current fortifications seen today are due to the Portuguese influence...

...followed by the naval base set up of Mohammed II.

Essaouira is known for its wood work.

Different wood like ebony & citrus are used for inlays of thuya made boxes, sold here.

Ruby gets traditional Henna painted on both her legs.

Berber women paint Henna patterns to give protection against supernatural forces.

Besides keeping evil spirits away, they are supposed to purify & beautify the wearer.

The afternoon is the best time to get a picture of the outer walls of Essaouira.

Fish and other sea food is being cleaned here, hence the large amount of birds.

The Moroccans haul food and other items in and out of the walled town.

It is a hard job.

June 24, 2008. The road P10 from Essaouira east to Marrakech is uneventful. We set up camp at the Le Relais.

The campgrounds highlight is its beautiful swimming pool...

...with lawn chairs. A nice facility for less then $10.00CDN/night.

June 25, 2008. In the morning we look for a motorcycle shop and tires in MARRAKECH.

No luck on tires. Late afternoon, with Babs & Helmut in tow, we take a taxi into Marrakech.

Our first walk by is the Koutaoubia Mosque. The minaret at night time.

The foundation of a former mosque can still be seen.

Continuing onwards to the Bab er Robb (Gate), we enter the SAADIAN TOMBS.

It displays some of the finest Islamic Architecture in Morocco.

These tombs date from the 16th to 18th century.

The mihrab is decorated with stalactites...

...and framed by a horseshoe arch supported by grey marble pilasters.

The two (2) main mausoleums are of Ahmed el-Mansour and...

...his mother Lalla Messaouda.

Details of the mausoleum.

Morocco has the best fresh squeezed orange juice.

Past the Place Jemaa el-Fna lies the souk.

The Rahba Kedima "Old Square" was quite interesting as different type of fetishes were on display.

Some would be difficult to take back into the western countries,...

Not surprising the Moroccan souks are mostly geared to tourism.

Beautiful carpets are everywhere.

Another highlight is the Brass, Silver & Gold Souk.

Thanks to our DK Guidebook we were able to navigate...

...our way quite well through different areas of the souk.

This Moroccan was amazing with both his hands and feet...

...he would create amazing ornaments...

...out of wood.

Wool or silk, freshly dyed are for sale.

A variety of nuts and fruits are on display.

We return to the famous PLACE JEMAA EL-FNA.

The best view of the square is from one of the roof top restaurants.

It comes to life after sunset. Due to its unique display of Heritage & Culture it has been added to the UNESCO list.

Small open-air restaurants emerge in the midst of the square.

More dates and nuts for sale.

Spectators, performers & locals start to fill the area. Cobra snakes move in trance to the music of the snake charmers.

Water sellers in Marrakech... traditional dress.

Locals shopping.

The sun is setting over Marrakech.

A huge pot of snails can be seen here.

As the last trace of day light disappears,...

...the open air-restaurants light up.

Smoke from cooking illuminates the sky above... the area a mystic atmosphere.

It is time for us to join the masses...

...and try different Moroccan food.

Babs & Helmut stop off at the snail booth... get a couple of bowls of snails. Sorry we could not do it.

Doesn't this look like heaven?

Starving, we try out everything that looks like it is not seafood.

It is all prepared right in front of you.

The waiter gets friendly with Mike.

We dig in whole heartedly into the mixed meat and bastilla.

Moroccan food at its best...

...and a great place to take in Moroccan culture.

Okay some food we did not try.

Another adventurer from Germany, who has been in Morocco for (3) months. Check out his load.

June 26 & 27, 2008. From Marrakech we head to CASABLANCA. Around 28km south of Casablanca...

...on the coastal road we set up camp at the Hawai Campsite. Locals took pity on us...

...and brought us food. Muslim hospitality as always wonderful.

The picture in the campbook looks nothing like this. The campsite definitely has seen better days.

June 28, 2008. We return to Casablanca & after only an hour and with the help of a friendly taxi driver...

...we find the motorcycle parts shop. Moto Plus has everything for the GS & is English speaking.

We get (2) sets of front & rear Metzler Tourance installed in 1 1/2 hrs...

...while we hang out at the cafe across from the shop. Civilization yeah.

In the afternoon we park the motorcycles in front of the MOSQUE OF HASSAN II.

The 200m high Minaret rises up impressively...

...with a back drop of the Atlantic Ocean and deep blue sky.

Marble in combination with granite and onyx is used on doorways.

One of (2) beautiful fountains. Decorated with Zellij tilework & framed with marble arches & columns.

Nothing has been spared on its grandness. Many doors are clad in incised bronze.

The minaret is 25m wide.

Entrance to the amazing mosque is 120DH/person ($16.00CDN/person).

Guided tours are the only way one can see the inside of the mosque.

The mosque is the 3rd largest religious building in the world after the mosques in Mecca & Medina.

Its highlight is the Prayer Hall,...

...which can accommodate 25,000 people.

The Women's Gallery.

The central part of the roof made out of painted cedar can be opened to the sky.

Decorative lighting.

Below the prayer hall is the hammam (bath)...

...and a swimming pool.

For (4) nights in a row we eat at this restaurant on the coastal road.

Beef Tajine our favourite Moroccan dish.

June 29, 2008. Only 80km south of our campsite lies EL-JADIDA.

A town settled by the Portuguese in 1502.

Our main reason for visiting the coastal town was to see the...

...Portuguese cistern (former armoury) built underground around 1514.

A well allows daylight to enter.

It is a great place to visit and wonderful for taking spooky pictures.

Certain scenes of Orson Welles film Othello was filmed here.

The water mirrors the vaults...

...and (25) pillars.

We finish our tour of the town by walking along the ramparts...

...and on top of the remaining bastions.

The fog & mist comes in from the Atlantic in waves covering the blue sky.

The outer wall. The ditch once used to hold sea water.

Portuguese architecture can still be found today...

...requiring some maintenance. It reminded us of Angola.

June 30, 2008. From Casablanca we headed via back roads to Berrechid, through Fleih Ben Salah...

...into the Middle Atlas Mountains and CASCADES D'OUYOUD.

It is truly amazing, no fencing & water tumbles down from a 100m cliff...

...into the canyon below into Wadi el-Abid.

A well kept path leads to a viewpoint...

...opposite the waterfall. There are several natural pools along the way and...

...we take the opportunity to cool off in the swimming hole called Africa.

On the return we walk up the steep steps and...

...take a break to enjoy freshly squeezed orange juice and a great view.

By chance we are able to visit a mill only a couple of meters from the cliff.

The water moves a gear connected to a grindstone on which corn or barley is ground to flour.

July 01, 2008. We back track on the twisty 1811 to the P21.

The 35km stretch of paved road is super twisty and it takes us (1) hour.

A by-pass road allows us to avoid entering Marrakech & ...

...we continue on P31 toward the High Atlas Mountains.

We are entering Berber country. We had been looking forward to this part of Morocco.

An amazing road with (2) passes leads from Marrakech to Ait Benhaddou, our final destination.

The first pass is 1470m called the Tizi-n-Ait Imger and is followed by the TIZI-N-TICHKA PASS.

At 2,260m it is the highest paved road in Morocco. The top has a nice view,...

...even though it is pretty hazy, we are able to see the full scale of the HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS.

Temperature at this altitude is pleasant. A sign at the pass.

2km past Ait Benhaddou we set up camp at the Defat Kasbah Campsite.

July 02, 2008. We ride into AIT BENHADDOU at sunrise to capture the perfect light.

The ksar was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site and ...

...used, due to its uniqueness, for film sets.

Behind the kasbahs stand plain earth houses.

Wadi Mellah, currently dry, has to be crossed to get to the village.

The Kasbahs'crenellated towers are decorated with ...

...blind arches geometric designs in negative relief.

Today only a few families inhabit the ancient village.

There is no official road to the village & donkeys are the only way of transporting goods.

A few walls remain on top of the hill, evidence of where a fortress once stood.

We wander around the small alleyways,...

...between earth houses to the top of the hill.

The main path is in good condition.

A peek into a still occupied house.

As with most cultures, animals live on the base floor.

Wooden doors.

The view from the top of the hill...

...across Wadi Mellah...

...and its banks.

Later we are able to visit one of these Kasbahs.

Potteries line the roof top...

...of this Kasbah.

Across Wadi Mellah lies the new Ait Benhaddou.

For 10DH ($1.35) we climb the towers of this Kasbah.

Another unique wooden door.

A less traveled pathway.

Small alleyways.

Another beautiful Kabash with well preserved designs.

From the top of the Kabash we see a local feed his stock.

The stairway we had just come up.

A closer look at the inside of a Kabash.

Animals within the courtyard.

An ancient lock.

A small mud bridge to get across a stream.