Back to the Sea

Sidi Ifni (Morocco), 15.04.2014

The day kicked off with a long breakfast in the riad’s courtyard and a walk through the souks of Marrakesh in the morning, when the action was still slow and the air fresh. Strolling through the alleys I admired the many wood carved decorations on plenty of buildings. Today exactly one year ago I had embarked on a journey through so many countries that did not have this level of ornamental opulence in their old towns. I appreciated what I saw a lot more then I might have done before.

To leave Marrakesh I chose a smaller road, that lead me through fields, villages and everyday countryside life. I had to take a bit of motorway, leaving it again for a countryside road towards Essaouira. In 30 degrees it didn’t feel like speeding, and there were speed limits everywhere anyway. And still, at the exit of a village some police guys stopped me with a radar control. I could swear I didn’t exceed 60km/h as I had just left a village with people and kids on the streets. They said 69km/h and wanted 300 Dh. As usual, I gave them my documents, was polite, and asked for a receipt of the fine. At that point the police officer showed me the fines book, telling me how many people he had fined already. Particularly on one he insisted, with some Dirham bills between the pages. I told him I was sure I hadn’t exceeded the limit but if he thought I had broken he law then I would pay the fine. He looked puzzled. “What is your profession?” “Marketing.” (I always say that since the police apparently can’t figure out if I’m rich or not.) “Is this your first time in Morocco?” “No, my third.” “Oh, then you know hot it works here. Here are your documents, have a safe trip.” I left with my documents and without paying the fine. The road led through an arid land, with plenty of argan oil production and sheep sitting on trees eating the leaves. Soon after I was stopped by police again, this time I was definitely not over the 60 km/h limit, but guess the speed they measured? 69km/h! When the dialogue went almost exactly like the previous one I understood there was a standard sales pitch here. Again I left without paying.

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The road went straight most of the time until I reached the bay of Essaouira, where plenty of kites and windsurfers dotted the sea. Plenty of posh restaurants lined the beach and I got hungry. At one I stopped, parked the Mini in front and got a table on the terrace, between an Italian couple and some German ladies with a quite rude slang. The Italians were complaining about the food, the Germans about the beer, and I enjoyed my fish and some white wine. Before leaving I took a walk through the old town, an UNESCO site. After the crowds and hard selling of Marrakesh it felt very relaxing, and I was just thinking about an ice cream when some birds dropped their load all over me. A friendly shopkeeper helped me clean up with some water (and then showed me his shop). I heard it brings good luck and preferred to see it that way. Back in the car I changed my t-shirt and left this beautiful little town on the beach.

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The next hours led through a dry, arid landscape where argan oil and honey production abounded. The mountains still lined the horizon and it got quite hot, I burnt my left arm today. Half an hour before Agadir the road reached the ocean again, what an amazing view! The turquoise water, littered with little white crests smashed on the huge beaches in the strong wind. I would have liked to stop, but the day was coming to an end and I was still quite far away from my target destination, Sidi Ifni. I wanted to avoid driving in the dark, but there was a natural limit to speed due to slow cars and frequent roundabouts. The sun went down, I crossed one small town after the other driving overland. As I reached Tiznit I passed by a 4-star hotel. For a moment I thought about stopping, but didn’t. The next half hour I crossed a mountain range in the darkness, and as I reached the ocean again suddenly I found a beautiful boutique hotel on the beach, with very civilised rooms, clean western bathrooms, a fantastic terrace on the beach. 1600 Dh (€150) for room, breakfast and dinner. But not tonight, since the chef had already gone home. I got into the car again, this was a joke, and drove on. No sight of a hotel until I reached Sidi Ifni. The first one discouraged even a check from afar, the second one looked less bad. The room at 350 Dh with breakfast, a kitchen still open dishing out dry meat and re-fried fries and a lot of Premier League football saved my evening.

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Trip data

– Km driven: 531

– Hours on the road: 10

– l diesel/100km: 5,0

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