Wojtek and I met at a hotel on the 12th at Fatima’s hotel. She’s nice and I understand that diner and breakfast are included for 150DH. She asks me what I want for dinner and I say “crepes.” After I eat, she tries to charge me 50DH for the dinner. She tells me that dinner is not included, only breakfast. I tell her that if that’s the case I just ate breakfast and I refuse to pay. My mistake? I give her the benefit of the doubt. Here’s Fatima and I with her cat.
Wojtek is from Poland and is riding a Polish made recumbent and pulling a Polish made trailer. His rig has given him lots of breakdowns. It’s a pleasant change to cycle with someone, so I go slower than usual and move at Wojtek’s pace.
We are riding in the high desert between the two Atlas Mountain ranges. The few towns are mostly mud brick. But the cycling is beautiful, cruising along in the vast empty spaces on flat straight roads. We are gradually climbing, and soon are over a mile high.
In Tinurad we find a Casbah called “The Petite Nomad” and knock on the iron gate. Soon people pop out from neighboring houses, and someone calls the owner. We are the only guests tonight, and we negotiate the price down from 400Dh each to 100DH each. We are very pleased, such a lovely place with an educated and thoughtful young owner. Here is the inner patio.
Along the road. Washday.
On the 13th close to Bourmalne we find another bargain, the “Panorama,” and we are the only guests. This time we get a room and dinner and breakfast for 80dh each.
Interior of the Panorama Albergue:
View from the Panorama:
The reason there are so many hotels here is because of the Dades Gorge. Today I leave Wojtek resting at the hotel and cycle into the Gorge. The Gorge is used for agriculture everywhere it widens out enough to plant crops.
Crops and trees.
Most everything is made of mud brick. Uncared for, it erodes, and there are many eroded buildings.
Switchbacks on the Gorge.
Hotels along the Gorge.
Unusual rock formations:
Unusual rock formations:
I ride 35km into the Gorge and turn around and ride back. It is really more of a valley than a gorge. I am a little disappointed because it is not more dramatic. I am tired of looking at mud brick buildings, just like I got tired of looking at grey amd green in Ireland.
Traveling has become more like a job than an adventure. My blog feels flat to me. I am developing that jadedness that I have observed in people that have been traveling a long time. It really has to be amazing to get me excited now.
Traveling is certainly work, riding a bicycle more so. There are so many little struggles. I just returned from paying for tonight, and the hotel owner tried to charge me extra for the tea he served with dinner last night. “Tea is never included” he says. “Then you should have told me and not just served it” I reply. I refuse to pay, and he eventually gives in. No fluids with dinner tonight. Hardly a day goes by without a struggle like this.
It was not possible for me to foresee that traveling thus would feel routine.
I have read a dozen books now on this adventure and just finished David Copperfield. What a great heartwarming story. I was eager today to get back to the hotel so I could finish the book! My patterns are seeking a new balance.