Day 1, Arrival Feb 16

Room with a view

Room with a view

There is little to no point in describing every little detail about the travel time starting in Minneapolis MN and almost a full day later arriving in Marrakesh Morocco. A few things though for the bike fanatics among us. Although no pictures were taken of the event we did in fact wrap the bicycles in 6mil plastic bought from our local hardware store. While I employ the method of crazy tape wrapping around and around until the roll is about gone. Brian on the other hand has a much more systematic approach almost like wrapping a X-mas gift. I find this very strange, mainly because our personalities would match the opposite . Either way works just fine, both bikes arrived safely and virtually unskuffed.

Once at the airport and all the baggage collected we spent the better part of and hour(maybe 2?) adjusting our bikes back into riding form and trying to repack all our stuff from the checked airport approved duffel bags and then into our panniers. The first ride out of the airport I was totally left side heavy. We were in a bit of a hurry to get to our destination Ryad Aicha for some relaxation and adjustment for us, for the bags later. Brian had lined up a Couchsurfing host before we left home and he just happened to own that hotel.

Ryad Aicha run by Loek Hofstede is a beautiful place almost all handcrafted by local  carpenters and artisans and the designs were envisioned by Loek with Moroccan details very much in mind. I was left in awe at how wonderfully everything was put together. Unfortunately for us, though fantastic for Loek the hotel was completely over booked! Since Brian and I happened to be Couchsurfing  and not actual  paying guests that meant we would be sleeping out on the roof top. Not bad at all really, we did come prepared for this sort of thing. We have a tent, sleeping pads and sleeping bags.  So our first night in Morocco was spent on the roof top under the stars listening to the rolling drums of some distant spectacle lull us to sleep. Sleep came pretty easy too, jet lag and just plain lack of sleep from the past days travel had really done a number on the two of us. I don’t think we were all that pleasant to be around that night and even less when all the guests sat down for dinner. And probably a little smelly too!

The next morning we were awoken to the Muslim call to prayer. Not just one, or two, or three, but the entire city erupted into prayer. While both Brian and I have been in many predominantly Muslim countries and cultures before, neither of us had ever been so assaulted with sound. Most times the call to prayer can be quite calm and soothing if sung by a man who can actually sing. This time it was hard to tell what was going on at all. So instead of trying to fight to go back to sleep we opted to begin our day. This time we were much nicer people to be around.

Loek provided us with a nice light breakfast and a small walking tour that worked it’s way towards but not to the Djamaa El Fna-Market. Being a busy man with a business to run he couldn’t come much further with us. After the three of us parted we wound our way through the streets eventually reaching the Market Square. Walking a full circle around soaking up the local orange juice stalls, souvenir sellers,  and snake charmers. I did happen to see a kid screaming to get away from a performer monkey. Not that the monkey was causing any harm just that the child was truly terrified! The Djamaa El Fna is the sight to see here in Marrakesh at least that’s what everyone tells us.

Marrakesh Alley

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