Crossing the Atlas

Atlas Travel Blog

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Leaving Fez is a relief. I will write about it later as my diary is in the hotel and im in a shabby net caf at the edge of the sahara.

Fez is some 480 hard km north. We were desperate to leave and choose to ignore the fact that we were both ill. I reasoned that as soon as i would be on my bike the diarroreha would stop and the sickness would improve with fresh air. But it didnt. The ride too Azruu - a little mountain town 80 km into the Atlas was hell! I vomited my breakfast up at an embarressing roadside stop and puued out whatever was left. Hungry as i was, i couldnt eat and for lunch i slept  under an appletree. By now my legs were hurting so much that the only way i could relax was lying down! 20 km from our  goal i sat down and cried by the roadside out of shear frustration and by the time we finally did arrive i was shaking with fever! No sane man would wish himself into Darens place on that ride!

All good now though. Healthy again we set of th cross the back end of the high atlas. Climbing up through ceder forrests we saw wild monkeys and after that the high valleys offered fantastic scenery. As we sat at the pass eating lunch a sheppard came past us with about a million sheep. All peacfull until a herd of donkeys came thundering down the hill with a woman and 4 children trying to catch them.  Shep everywhere, shepperd shouting and the woman cursing children and donkeys in turn.  The real sinner was a persistent male donkey not takingt the rejection from a poor pregnant female donkey too well...

After crossing several high platos we crossed a pass opening up into a seemingly desolate valley sourounded by stunning peaks. A single berber tent sat lonely on one of the slopes and we chose to set of into the vastness on the other side of the road. Trying to find a campspot at dusk is difficult for us as I am unnerved (to say the least) by solitude and darkness. The earrie emptiness of this place scarred me immensly and at first i hated our spot. Torrential rainfalls and storms have been battering this area and left tracks of water streaming down the mountainsides. As the light was disappearing and the winds picking up i visualised flashfloods, swamps and no help for miles and miles...

But when our tent is up, sleepingmats ready and the stove is bubbeling away even the most desolate places become home... Once my fears have subsided the things that scare me,  become immensly beautifull. Stars illuminate the vast sky and the silence is mindnumming ... or the opposite...? Those fearfull moments turn into the same moments that make this trip worth the hassle. 

  

  

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photo by: Miranda-Maas