I met up with Dan at the airport yesterday for the start of our three day trip exploring some of the Middle Atlas mountain range.
The car hiring saga continued, as in theory we had to provide a large deposit using a credit card, which neither of us had. (If we had stuck with Europcar, the company with which I had abortively tried to hire, I had been assured that debit cards would be OK). Anyhow the very nice car hire man finally found a solution: Dan had to take out more insurance and somehow this managed to unlock the problem of the deposit.
We aimed to start by driving north-eastwards, towards Taza, and then south, ending up in Azrou.
So three hours after Dan had landed, we set off along the motorway to Taza, a town 120 km from Fès. This must have been the quietest motorway I have ever been on. We were actually staying on a farm some way south Taza, and turned off into remoter, hilly country. We had no map of Morocco, so thank goodness for GPS.
We passed almost no one as the road mounted over wilder country, very like the Causse Méjean. We were met at the remote small holding by our host, Mustafa, a jolly man (made jollier, Dan suspected, by his secret stash of beer). The farm was a very simple building, set in 35 hectares of fields, with a mixed collection of sheep, cows, chickens, turkeys, and a donkey. Our bedrooms were simple but clean. The shower and loo, across the yard, were a bit more basic… My knees are getting a bit problematic for Turkish loos. Supper was a delicious tajine, cooked by his wife.
Plumbing apart this was a lovely, peaceful stay with friendly people, and the silence of the night broken only by the barking of a dog in the next farm, and Mustafa praying early in the morning.