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Tuesday 16th May
This morning we left Tinehir on what was to be the hottest day of our tour. It hit 48° this afternoon and it was really unbearable. When we arrived at Ouarzazate it dropped to 42, but no way could we get comfy even with the air con struggling to get below 36°. Only low amp electrics here. Very plain site with only the basics. Jade had a brainwave. Get our loungers into the shade between our two motorhomes, wet our beach towels thoroughly so we could lie on them with the top corners flapped over our shoulders, with a bucket of cold water to soak our feet. Yes!!!! Just stayed there till shower time....no need to heat the water, then taxi into town to try the recommended restaurant. Nice food, pity about the awful music again, but you have to put up with it as it's their country, their music.
It's only one of "things they don't tell you when you book a holiday in Morocco", along with the extremely loud call to prayer 5 times a day, the first being at 4.45am, which sets all the neighbourhood dogs off barking for a good half an hour which upsets your sleeping somewhat.
Ear plugs essential if you're a light sleeper.
Up early and off at 8am before it gets hot.
Arrived at Camping Ferdaous, on the outskirts of Marrakech by 2pm. High 30's-low 40's again. The electric supply here is pathetic, Jade & Steve need a large amp supply to get their air con running consistently and need to use their own generator as well....here was really difficult, and ours was nowhere near up to the job, so it was hell ish this afternoon. Barb and John have a new Carthago, which has very efficient air con and only needs a low supply. Dave has no air con at all in his caravan, so has been sitting, whenever we've been stationary, in with Barb and John. When we've had no electric hook up at all, Jade and Steve have used a splitter, to feed us and John's mhomes from their generator for short periods.
It was a very long and hard drive today, the roads have been in the High Atlas Mountains, including the notoriously nicknamed Underpants Pass!!! Beautiful and stunning scenery, but nasty twisting and bumpy roads.
The campsite itself is ok....a reception area with cold drinks fridge and basic supplies. Lovely garden border with several cats roaming around along with 3 female and 4 male peacocks who have displayed beautifully for us.
In return we've fed them and the cats!! It was wet towel job again for me and Jade, while the men sat in reception and drank 2 litres of homemade fabulous cherry wine that Ray was supposed to be taking home for his wife!!! They deserved it after our long hard drive today.
8pm, Jade made a Bolognese which was enjoyed by all. The heat has got to us and we're all more tired and irritable than usual.
Minibus collected us all at 9 am, drive into the city. Our first stop was at a lovely garden dedicated to Yves St Laurent, we had a stroll around in the beautiful cool grounds, enjoyed the ponds with lilies and terrapins.
Next stop was unbelievable, and not in a good way. A guide appeared and took us, outside in the 38°+ heat, on a short walk to the outside of the tallest mosque in Marrakech. We stood with no shade for 15 minutes while he rambled on. Barb and I weren't the only ones annoyed, we thought we'd be going somewhere interesting, but no, we walked for another few minutes to a park, stood listening to him for another 5 minutes on steps by a fountain before walking back to the minibus. That was that then. A short drive then to the old Palace, which WAS very interesting and we were able to get into the shade in between walks in the open. Beautiful mosaics and an insight into the ancient way of life here.
Then another short drive, we thought, to the famous Square of the Dead and Souk (market). Our guide walked us thru the square, which we all found totally horrific, really upsetting, poor monkeys doing tricks, and snake "charmers" using Cobras with their jaws pinned....oh that was stomach turning. Lots of stalls but I really didn't see anything else just wanted to get out....then we were marched thru the Souk at breakneck speed, in the midday sun. Honestly we should have had extra insurance as there were men leading loaded donkeys, men pulling carts, men on motorbikes, men on motorised carts, men on bikes all going in different directions all trying to squeeze past pedestrians and jam packed stalls of immeasurable quantities of junk. It seemed ages till we got to where we were going....a pharmacy that made and sold argan oil. Yeah. Really need that. You can buy in Lidl at home easily and cheaply. We had to battle our way thru crowds of people in this store up stairs only to be faced with white coated sales staff determined to make us part with our money. No way....We'd all had enough, went straight out and demanded a cuppie. So he took us to a small cafe where we thankfully, after more than an hour of this nonsense, collapsed at the tables, happy to people watch for a good half hour while we recovered. Dave's knee was really troubling him, Barb was exhausted, rest of us fed up, extremely hot and disappointed. We were supposed to have free time to explore the souk, but none of us could face it after that.
Home for a large G&T, very late lunch and a rest.
We stayed in and had another early night. Steve and Jade ventured out with Hammed for a meal at a European hotel in the city.
Minibus at 9am took us into another part of the city to a huge sort of department store. After the Souk experience it was a refreshing change. We found a few things we were looking for so happily wandered around for a couple of hours before going home for lunch and a rest.
That evening we went with Steve and Jade back to the same hotel, but a different restaurant, and wow, did that make up for yesterday. It was like going from a world of chaos and despair to paradise in two steps and less than two seconds The street outside was as I've described earlier. Horrendous. The large glass doors of the hotel opened into the interior which was a luxurious foyer which in turn led to a palm tree surrounded beautiful swimming pool, with a grass border, around which were arranged sumptuous leather sofas and chairs, perfect to sink into and relax, with our drinks. (I had a pina colada, which was the best ever, with a red rose and slice of lime perched on the side....heaven).
There were four restaurants, we chose Indian, which was on the rooftop terrace. The lift opened into another swimming pool area surrounded by gorgeous wooden floor and expensive looking sun loungers....past this under archways, into the open air restaurant with beautifully decorated tables, impeccably dressed waiters, and perfect complimentary lighting.
Add excellent service, food, unique wine.....well, we'd never heard of it - in between rose and white - called a "grey" wine. Very nice.
Please can someone pick this hotel up, re-position it in Duquesa and make it half the price? No? Maybe a good thing cos I'd be even fatter and lazier. Imagine....lounging around in such soft luxurious leather sofas all day, taking a dip in the pool now and then, wining and dining in sumptuous surroundings, being called Madame all the time....
Nooooo, soon get fed up of that!
Back to reality, our minibus picked us up and we'd spent our last evening in Marrakech, on a vastly different note to the previous day.