Monday, April 25, 2011

Morocco Bike 5 - Imlil to Ansi : Wet Feet and Fresh OJ

Last full day of biking in Morocco we arrange with the guy running our hostel to have our bags sent out of the Mountains via taxi to Ansi, we climb up over the pass to the east of Imlil and out the next valley. The climb was highlighted by the kid who held onto Alex's bike for 15minutes uphill I had to bribe him with a pen to get him to leave and even then we had to ride like hell to escape. An hour and a half and 600 vertical meters later we had reached the pass enjoying great views all the way up but not before being stopped by a guy on a motor bike who sold this tired sucker a necklace for the Mrs.

This kid would not let go of Alex's Bike. We had to bribe him with a pen.
You can follow our route around the valley

There was tour group on a hike at the pass, they looked miserable, every tour group we passed we told each other that we were glad we were not part of it! The route for this day bassically jumped one valley over and had us descend out of the mountains via a piste (dirt road / track) rather than the main road into Imlil. The descent had barely begun when we saw a great place to top for Tagines (delicious Moroccan staple stew) and freshly squeeze OJ.
Two of the best things about Morocco, freshly squeezed OJ and Tajines (photo right , Moroccan Stew)
A little Saharan dust still on the bike
We crossed to the other side of the Valley, Alex deciding to dunk his feet in the river so that they would be clean for the rest of the day an continued through towns who didn't look to get any tourist traffic at all. Although this day was a last minute addition, it was one of the most rewarding. The authenticity and isolation (although there was a road, no cars seemed to take it)  of the towns of the towns and the scale of the mountains that we were biking through was really amazing. Throughout the trip kids had run beside us and asked for money in the towns that we had passed through, this day was no different, on one occasion the kids actually linked arms across the road in an attempt to block us from going through! The day ended out of the mountains in Asni where we met up a with a taxi driver that had our bags and headed back to Marrakech.
It had been rainy for a few days so I suppose everyone was hanging laundry at the same time...
Note switchbacks in the background, we did, and avoided them. 
Negotiating our passage from local kids, only one pen left and it went to the girl closest to camera, she ran directly to her mother to show her, it was adorable. (great shot Alex)
Terraced fields, note mosque with loud speaker in every small town with loud speaker for the call to prayer. 
Riding into town (great photo Alex!)

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