Four wheel drive adventure in the Sahara Desert, Mauritania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Chinguetti, Mauritania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Back to Morocco on January 31st.

Friday, January 13, 2023

A much better experience

Yesterday morning, a lot of the vans at the campground at Chefchaouen had moved out. By the time we got Max ready to go at 11:00am, it was half empty. Definitely, the best time to arrive at a new place is between noon and 2:00pm when you'll have the most choice of spots. 

We only had an hour and a half drive ahead of us to our next destination.

We stopped and filled up with fuel at a big Afriquia gas station. Morocco is still very much a cash society and I had read that many of the smaller stations still don't take credit cards, or they will tell you that the machine is not working or something like that. We used to get those stories occasionally in Mexico years ago too. Anyhow, we had no problem filling up Max's diesel tank at 14 dirham ($1.85 CAD, €1.28) per liter and paying for it with Visa. That's about $5.21 USD per gallon.

Saying hi to a friendly donkey.

We got on a secondary road heading south. So far, the roads have been in pretty good condition, but this one had seen better days. 

Rough road.

Making our way through Chefchaouen.

One last look back at the blue city.

A lot of people walk on the side of the road.

Scenery along the way.

You need to watch for donkeys at the side of the road as well.

Olive trees.

Farmland.



Our destination was a small rural cafe restaurant. It was only 61 kms (38 miles), but including our fuel stop it took almost an hour and a half to get there. As in Mexico, if you're not on a toll road you don't get anywhere fast. 

I had read that the owner of the cafe allows camping vans and motorhomes to park overnight at their small farm if you have something to eat. And I had read that they make a very good tajine... the typical Moroccan stew.

We have arrived,

We pulled in, and there was nobody around but the wife. She directed us to park in the yard. Very friendly, and full of smiles. We managed to communicate that we wanted to have some lunch and she brought us over to the cafe. Again, nobody around but us. Very basic place. 

She tried to ask us a question, and we didn't understand. So she got on her phone, spoke to somebody, and handed me the phone. This guy spoke some English, but not much better than my French! He managed to say "chicken tajine" to which I replied "oui". There... our order had been placed.

It was nice and sunny so we sat outside.

Ruth makes friends quickly.

Soon the dog wanted some attention as well. 
The cat doesn't look impressed.

After about 15 minutes, a scooter pulled up, and the wife went out to the guy and picked up her bread. I'm guessing the order was specifically because we had arrived.

Then the owner Fouad arrived. Again, very friendly. He introduced himself and asked if we wanted fresh mint tea, which we remembered from our visit in 2017 is very popular here.

Fresh mint tea.

The tajine is made fresh, so about an hour later our meal arrived...

Bubbling hot lemon chicken tajine.
You can't see it, but the chicken is underneath the veggies and potatoes.

With bread and olives, and oranges and mandarins for dessert.

Delicious, but it could have used some pepper or something to spice it up a bit. Total bill was 110 dirham ($14.60 CAD, $11 USD) for the two of us and we were stuffed. 

We had a rest for an hour, then went out for a walk. There was a dirt road across the highway, so we just set off that way.

We said hello to another donkey.

Scenery along the way.

We walked through a little village, and of course the children stare at us. Some say hello, and giggle. A couple of young boys say in English "hello, how are you?" and we respond "we are fine, and you?", but they really can't say much more than that.

The one boy was holding a pigeon, and Ruth asked (in French) if that was dinner, to which he responded yes. He didn't want his photo taken, but he said we could take a pic of his pigeon!

Dinner!

Further on, we met a couple of men. One walking with a loaded donkey, and the other riding a donkey. Again, very friendly. We managed to communicate that we were tourists from Canada. I took a pic of the donkey, then asked if I could take their photo...



There are a lot of small fields being plowed... by horses, just the way my grandfather used to do it almost a hundred years ago.

Horses plowing a field.

Out for a walk in rural Morocco.

Going back through the village, there was a small gathering of men and women. Obviously we stand out like a sore thumb. But I had learned how to say hello in the local language so with my best Moroccan Arabic accent I said "As-salaam Alaykum" to which they responded with big smiles and said something else in return. Nice.

We did just over 5 kms (3 miles).

Max, parked at GPS 34.877248, -5.53899

So we slept fine in the small farmyard with the chickens, sheep, and dogs. The only downside is that it's a little close to the main road, but there wasn't much traffic overnight.

A much better experience than staying in the crowded parking lot campground.

Our route since we arrived in Morocco.

Today, we are off to see the Roman ruins at Volubilis.

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Great deal on this DeWALT Mechanics Tool Set.

And in Canada...

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