Erfoud - Fez, Contrasting MoroccoToday will be a very, very long day of driving in Morocco. We travel from the desert in the south
towards the Mediterranean in the north, leaving early and arriving late in Fez. The farther north we drive we will cross mountains away from sand dunes into greener Mediterranean climate. We are thankful to not be on the backs of camels.
|From the Desert in Lower Right to Fez on the Top|
Our guide shares some dates with us and tells us that milkshakes made from dates and almonds or avocado and oranges are specialties.
Driving upward, we crisscross over the Ziz river many times, and drive close to the mountains that border Algeria. Errachidia is a large government, university, and military city. Russ reminds me that Algeria is where Boka Haram stole so many girls for Islamist rebels. The police and some of the soldiers are armed as they walk about.
The government buildings vary in color from the rose sand to soft yellows, browns and beiges. The city is filled with green parks and grassy areas.
We glimpse military trucks behind the walls of the installations. And we glimpse gates into the old medina (old walled city).
There is a contrast between old and new.
Once we leave the modernity of the city, the land is once again arid and dry, and the villages are tattered and rural, Our guide shares some dates with us and tells us that milkshakes made from dates and almonds or avocado and oranges are specialties. Our little caravan is on a paved road today, but this is the main trading route for centuries from Timbuktu to Casablanca. Casablanca is the most modern, economically rich city in Morocco,
The terrain changes from desert to rock as we snake up the road of the Middle Atlas Mountains
|Morocco needs rain and snow|
to oak to cedar
to nomadic grazing land where we meet some local nomads
|Nomad sheep herder encampment|
|Sheep and Turkeys in the Background|
Cities change in character with tiled peaked roofs as a tourist destination for the rich.
We stop for noon noon (Moroccan coffee), afternoon snack, and a walk in the park in Afran to see the famous lion statue carved from a natural sandstone rock. It is a nice refreshment after our long ride.
We arrived in Fez about 5:30, and are staying in a very modern hotel. The city of Fez was named after the hat as this was the place where the Turkish Fez was manufactured. Both Ali and Abdul are home here in Fez.
It is Friday evening. People are out and about waiting for the sun to go down, the last call to prayer of the day, and then being with their families.
Our guide and driver look forward to going home to be with their families and going to the Mosque. We will see them again in the morning.