|LA GITE DE PALMERAI|
SOUTH FROM FEZ FOR EIGHT DAYS
16th NOVEMBER 2013We listened to the considered advice of friends who had travelled in Morocco. They said 'Do an organised tour. It's too hard, too far, too much to hire a car and organise it yourself.' Being contrary types, we thought about it a moment then gave it a go, hired a car and organised it ourselves for the next eight days.
Those first few moments driving out of Fez were the worst. You give way when you are ON the roundabout to certain traffic. I have no idea what the rule is. My rule is don't ding the hire car, that's the rule that counts and we managed to keep to that rule while weaving with the local throngs. I think the lane markings are meant as a guide only. The other important rule is start tooting the moment you see that your lights are green.
We did our research, formulated a rough itinerary and headed south out of Fez. As chance would have it, we met an Australian/English woman two nights earlier at an art gallery opening in Fez who ran a guest house/artist retreat on the edge of the Sahara desert. We told her we would come so that gave us a destination to head for.
First stop was La Gite de Palmerai. The only snag was it was a good distance away and involved night driving in Morocco, that was the interesting part. It is perfectly legal in Morocco to have no headlights or tailights on a vehicle at night if it doesn't go over 20 miles an hour. Most cyclists don't have lights either, which means it is pretty stressy peering into the dim edge of the headlights all the time to spot a cyclist or donkey dray before you hit them at speed and there were planty of them on the road after dark.
We made it ok to La Gite de Palmerai, in fact we didn't put a foot wrong despite almost driving straight past it in the dark. They were building, the place was a dimly lit construction site from the road which we almost dismissed as any sort of accommodation. Anne did a great job again of dead reckoning navigation, measuring off kilometres, all without a GPS! I think we surprised ourselves at what a talented crew we were on the close of day one driving in Morocco.
La Gite De Palmerai was an excellent choice. As ever, it's the people that make a place special. It was top value too with a delicious three course tagine meal and pomegranate dessert for five euros each. We were very impressed. In the morning after breakfast, Laschen, the amiable host who runs the place, took us for an informative tour of the Palmerai or date palm forest oasis. Although he only spoke French, Anne followed him perfectly and I wasn't far behind. Moroccan French is much simpler to understand then Parisian French, I'm just jealous that Anne can converse so well!
|THE HILL TOWN OF IFRANE WITH IT'S SWISS STYLE CHALETS FOR MOROCCAN SKIERS|
|MONKEYS ON APPROACH TO THE CEDAR FORESTS OF THE MIDDLE ATLAS MOUNTAINS|
|HIGH PLAINS SHEEP FLOCK|
|MOROCCAN HAY STACKING EXPERTISE|
|UBIQUITOUS PLASTIC BAGS OF THE PLANET GLINTING IN THE SUN|
|THE DACIA, MADE IN TANGIERS, MOROCCO IN THE RENAULT FACTORY|
|A HIGH PASS ON DAY ONE|
|SOMEWHERE ON THE WAY TO THE PALMERAI|
|BACK DOWN FROM THE PASS|
|OUR MORNING WALK THROUGH THE PALMERAI WITH OUR HOST LASCHEN|
|VERY FRESH PICKED DELICIOUS DATES|
|ANNE OF THE PALMERAI|
|A SUNNY ROOM IN THE PALMERAI|
|WE DUSTED OFF THESE PLENTIFUL DATES ON THE GROUND AND ATE THEM!|
|LUCERNE, MAIZE, CURRANTS, DATES, OLIVES, WHITE FIGS, BLACK FIGS IN ONE PICTURE|
|LOOKING DOWN TO OUR GITE AND THE OASIS THAT IS THE PALMERAI|