A solo tour mostly around the Atlas Mountains
Jill Lundmark – solo woman cyclist – 728 km (452 miles) over 64 days
I was excited about going to Morocco and hoped some people would speak English. I’d felt isolated in Spain. Outside my hotel the market was going full blast. The fruit and vegetables looked superb arranged in piles, just a riot of colour. I got some bread and bananas then went looking for the tourist information. They directed me to the ferry ticket offices. The fare to Tangier was 32 euro for me and the same for the bike one way. I’d been carrying my bike up to my room in the hotels and was well versed in manouvering it so I did’nt think it was odd to get a lift up to the waiting room for foot passengers when of course it was a vehicle and belonged with the cars. I didn’t realise until I handed my ticket to the officer and he said ‘Where’s your bike?’ ‘Here.’ He led me to the window and said I had to hurry to get it in line with the cars.
There were about five different ferries all with lines of vehicles and it wasn’t clear where I had to go. In a frenzy while the foot passengers were boarding I got the bike down in the lift and into the car park. Heart thumping I rode round and round looking for my ferry terrified I’d miss it. I found the queue lining up with two English men on massive BMW motorbikes with huge panniers, tent rolls etc. They were nice.
They’d been to Morocco the previous year and assured me I’d be safe. They suggested I rode down the coast to Asilah first and then take the train to Fez. They seemed to think I’d get really hassled in Tangier but would love the rest of the country.
When we arrived there was no fuss. I rode straight out of the port to lots of ‘Ca va’s and ‘Good trip.’ Some one actually clapped their hands as I passed. The sun was out, the people looked exotic, the road was wide with hardly any traffic and I felt on top of the world. I was enjoying the cycling so much that I went straight past the hotel I meant to stay at and got lost. Lots of people helped me but it was hard to understand their French. I stayed at L’Marsa where a guy helped me with my bike, then I wandered round town. The men were wearing long nightshirt like garments of pyjama design with hoods and peaks. They reminded me of pictures in a child’s story book. as if we were in the land of nod. For dinner I had Moroccan soup and yogourt.
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