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  1. #91
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2015-2016


    Our forth day in Skoura as we make a trip to Toundout

    ‘Good Morning’

    Karim mentioned that the village of Toundout had some wonderful scenery to offer as it was nestled in front of a mountain, so after finding out where it was we set off after breakfast to take a look…..

    As we head off through Skoura and good 2 lane road it wasn’t long before we were headed towards the mountains and a single track road…..



    As we pass Almond trees coming into blossom…..



    Then 18Km later we are coming into the outskirts of Toundout…..







    We park up opposite some smaller hills and head off into a small Café/Restaurant for hopefully a nice coffee….



    As we spotted this coffee machine through the entrance door!……



    Then the guy behind the counter explains that the coffee will take around 20 minutes to make, and pulls out a Gas Lighter, as we then see what is going on under the coffee machine….

    It’s Propane/Butane Gas Powered!!!.....



    As an offer of help, the other young man in the café suggests a trip up to the top of this mound and stand on the top of the square building on the left of the next picture….



    As we set off we get a sample of what we can expect to see once we are up there…..



    Made it!.....



    Then we turn through 360 Degrees without falling off as the view is just fantastic!……













    As we get back down off the building and onto the hill, we are joined by two small Goats…..





    We then go back to the Café by the ‘safe way’ of the road/track for the coffee, and after paying the bill and offering our thanks for the help with the visit to the top of the hill we are back on the road to Skoura but off to look at some old Kasbah’s close by……

    As we then pass these ladies and Donkey bringing the animal feed into Toundout…..



    First old Kasbah which along with the rest of them in the area are around 400+ Years old….





    As we then move off to have a look at another I spot this ‘Moroccan Mud Beehive’ with detachable plastic & bamboo roof!…..


    The entrance hole of the left hand side Beehive which was very active, so thankfully the camera zoom facility was made use of!....



    Moving around to the next Kasbah…..



    We see some new Mud & Straw Bricks drying out before being used for repair of a wall….



    While there are a lot of Kasbah’s along the road quite a few are nearly in ruins, but must have looked formidable a number of years ago….



    Almond trees coming into blossom close to the river bed…..



    “Hello Mr Donkey” as I try to give him some green juicy weed that I found growing close by but out of his reach, which he took and munched away, but shied away from being stroked....



    While around the next corner was the Agricultural Repair Centre and this Tractor Tyre which I have never seen a ‘Puncture Repair’ like it before…..



    The tyre was held together with a metal sleeve inside, fixed in place with metal straps across the split held in place with nuts and bolts! Not sure how or what was used to then inflate the tyre once it was re-fitted to the tractor wheel!....



    A Kasbah that was still occupied at the front…..



    With some interesting designs in the walls…..



    The Almond Trees along the riverside…..



    As we come to this wall of mats, we hear ladies voices and ‘cracking’ so go over to have a look…..



    After the greeting of ‘Salam Alikum’ was made under the wall to one of the ladies who smiled we then asked if they were in good health to which all replied that they were with more smiles.
    We then saw as we parted the two mats that there were 6 ladies all sat round in a circle with a mound of Almond Nuts alongside each lady, and a flat stone and either another small stone or piece of metal alongside as they were all cracking the Almond Nuts and getting the Almonds out.
    These were then put into a plastic bucket in the centre of the circle…..

    While they kindly let me take a picture I did make them aware that it would be just of the Almonds and not them, but one lady still put her hood up over here face and threw a cover over her feet and legs while I took the picture below…..



    As we kept waving to all the children who after getting us to wave to them had wonderful smiles on their faces, we passed our last Kasbah and headed back to ‘Flamenco Red’ for the trip back to Skoura as a number of large vans came from Skoura to get set up for the Market which takes place tomorrow…..



    Back along the single track road to Skoura....



    As we get into Skoura and pass a Kasbah Tower that is falling apart…..



    Good night!

  2. #92
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2015-2016


    Our fifth day in Skoura as we make a short trip to Ouled Merzug

    ‘Good Morning’

    After another suggestion from our friend Karim we are off to have a look at some more wonderful scenery in a place called Ouled Merzug which is not far from the campsite while being at the end of a piste road…..

    After 4 miles of tarmac on the main road we turn left and we are then on the ‘piste’….











    As we twist and turn and go up and down along the ‘piste’ which is also very dusty if you travel quickly so trying to keep going slowly as we pass people and animals along the road or in doorways looking at the strangers but waving and smiling as we wave to them!.....







    I guess if you were over 400 Years Old you might be looking a bit of the worse for wear as this Kasbah certainly was…..



    Dromedary Saddle!.....



    Then it was all out of ‘Flamenco Red’ for a few steps to see the scenery…..
    While again the view is just fantastic!……



















    We did spot the irrigation channel in the next picture a bit further back but could not get a clear picture. The interesting bit is that it is around 5 feet higher than the river, so we think that the water is being pumped from the river into it….





    As we move further along the river bank and come to the next bend….









    Now on our way back and this Kasbah has certainly had its day…..





    As around the next bend another one comes into view, while the shape and detail are fascinating to see….



    As we get back to the tarmac main road we see something that we have not seen around Skoura before Dromedaries feeding near to the road!....



    While not long after we have a nice Sunset with the changing colours of the cloud over the Mountains…..





    As the other part of the sky is lit up differently…..



    While looking behind we have a bright Moon tonight as the temperature drops away, it looks like it is going to be another cold night, so we will no doubt be down to 3C inside the ‘TinTent’ by 04:00hrs tomorrow morning!…..



    Tomorrow we are off to hopefully visit a Prison…..

    Good night!

    After a very frustrating time last night and this morning I finally got the pictures uploaded into 'Photo Bucket' for this update!

  3. #93
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2015-2016


    Our final day in Skoura and a visit to Prison!

    ‘Good Morning’

    The ‘Prison’ is 32 miles from Skoura so off we go along the nice new tarmac road that still has to have the white line painted down the middle…..





    As we passed this Pickup vehicle we did wonder if it was being introduced as a new ‘Street Sweeper’ with the length of the bamboo stems being loaded onto it…..



    As we then get to the ‘piste’ road just outside the town of El Kelaa M’gouna which is where the Prison is…..



    It had a notorious reputation as a place of torture for people opposing the Moroccan regime in times gone by.

    We understand that while there is not much information about the place, King Hassan II was incarcerated there as his ruling of the country was not good.

    Even members of the Polizario were forbidden to approach it.
    Now it has become a place of collective memory while it falls apart…..

    Then as we come to the top of the ‘piste’ there it is in front of us…..



    With a very large and high perimeter wall…..



    The only entrance through the outer perimeter wall was a single pedestrian gate and double vehicle gate both of which were locked with barbed wire across all the gates….





    Then at one corner was the large fresh water reservoir…..





    While in the ‘bunker’ were the pipes connecting the reservoir to the pumping house and then the prison.....



    Not being able to get and answer at the gates Karim who came with us and I went into the inside of the Prison through a hole in one corner to this view inside of the water tower on the left and the two rectangular blocks inside the outer perimeter wall used for holding the prisoners……



    So we set off down the right hand side looking for the entrance into one of the prisoner blocks…..



    As we went past the corner we spotted these steps and off we went up them and through the doorway at the top….



    After passing through another couple of doorways and what looked like prison guard sleeping quarters we came out on the roof of the inner rooms but had to tread carefully as some of the roofs had collapsed and others were on their way!....



    As we made our way back down we came upon this room with 2 cut off pieces of ‘I’ beam girder sticking out of the wall which we did not see anywhere else, maybe it was one of the rooms used for torture and the apparatus was fixed to the girders?….



    While outside a bit further down was this defunct light bulb holder with the date of ‘21-2-89’ scratched into the mud which was presumably used as filler after the light was fitted…..



    As we then went into and up another doorway we got onto the roof of the prisoner building again with a better view inside but once again a dodgy roof to walk on!.....

    The rectangular ‘box’ in the next picture was a water tank with another larger one underneath in the ground, which seemed to be a strange place to hold a lot of water unless once again there was torture ‘apparatus’ attached to it?…..



    Prisoner ‘Cells’…….



    Then as we made our way further along we found the ‘Entrance Gate’ which was double gated with the second gate 2 meters behind the outer gate, and prison guard rooms in between…..



    Then we were inside the small rectangular area with the prisoner cells around the outside….



    Behind the door of No 4 was a fairly large room….



    With another room behind that with toilets and washing facilities in as it seems there was more than one prisoner behind each of the numbered doors….



    While behind No 7…….



    Was this very large area…..



    Then in another part of the building we came across two solitary confinement cells….



    Behind the door was a room with no daylight coming in that was about 2 x 2 meters square and nothing else in it, as I stood at the back of the cell taking the picture I could not get all of it in it was that small!…..



    The other large rectangular block was very similar in layout while one of the windows still had its outside bars in place…..just!



    With the Guard Tower overlooking the block and chills running up and down our spines it was time to make our way back to the place we got in…..



    So with the aid of the crowbar we brought with us, we broke the lock after the door ‘clanged’ shut as we made the error of stepping into the last prisoner cell….



    And got out to stand on the hillside and breathe the fresh air as we looked out over the town…..





    Then back to ‘Flamenco Red’ while the spine still ‘tingled’…..



    Down the way we came up via the ‘piste’ as there is no road which we guess was another deterrent for anyone wishing to try and visit the place, then onto the road to this ‘Rose Tree’ on the traffic island as El Kelaa M’gouna is a town specialising in rose scented fragrances of all types…..



    Time for a nice cup of coffee and a bit of lunch at this cafe……



    To the side of the Café is this entrance gate to a small ‘Ampitheater’ with some nice murals on each side…..



    While through the entrance gate and we see that it is currently set up for 5 a side football….



    WOW! A Barbie Taxi……



    Then it was time to head back to Skoura and the campsite…..



    As we passed the LARGE rocks on top of the hill we remembered stopping and walking up between and inside them last year when we came over…..



    After for us a long stay here in Amridil Camping we are back on the road tomorrow but our stay was made very interesting by the places suggested to visit by Karim and the other places he accompanied us to and helped us get around, for which we are very grateful….

    Good night!
    Last edited by XCovlov70; 01-23-2016 at 11:57 AM.

  4. #94
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2015-2016


    Skoura - Ouarzazate

    ‘Good Morning’

    After our last night at Amridil Camping it was sad to have to finally say ‘Farewell’ to Karim and his family at the campsite as we have enjoyed the time there immensely and will hopefully be returning again next winter.

    Then it was off for the short trip to Ouarzazate for our next couple of days as we are now on the route back up to the Ferry and Spain…..

    Didn’t expect this as we rolled along to find another layer of tarmac being applied to a small section of road which was OK when we came along a week ago!…..



    As we then called into the Afriquia Garage for a diesel fill up we spot the mural on the wall of the service bays…..



    With another on the Restaurant behind the fuel pumps…..



    As my good lady gets in a close up of the mural on the wall, as I get the diesel into the tank of ‘Flamenco Red’ that worked out at £0.50/Litre (USA $0.75) ….



    As we then pass by the Royal Maroc Golf Course off to our left we can see that the water in the lake by the side is considerably higher this time….



    While the work continues on the new replacement Wadi bridge, so it might actually be finished for the next trip!.....Enshala….



    As we approach one of the entrances to the very big Solar Park which has just been constructed and visitors will be allowed to go and see it next year, we see all the different coloured flags are out as well as the Moroccan flag on the flagpoles along each side of the road, possibly because the Sister of the current King of Morocco passed this way yesterday on a visit to a school in Skoura….



    Good picture from my good lady as it looks like we are ‘Airborne’ but thankfully not, the road was firmly under the 6 wheels while the Hill looks imposing! ….



    As we came into the outskirts of Ouarzazate there was more of the ‘bunting’ out across the roads…..



    This was a Traffic Island that has a water fountain in the centre, however there is no water in the fountain, so they wrapped the Traffic Island in a length of plastic with pictures of illuminated water fountains on!....





    Then very shortly after we are at the entrance to the campsite……







    As we get set up in the same place we had last year!.....



    Then it was off to the shops to stock up on a list of items which meant 2 haversacks full of groceries as we made our way back to the campsite, passing this Sports Camp which is in the process as a ‘Project’ of being re-furbished….



    Off for a look around the city tomorrow, so till then it’s……

    Good night once again!

  5. #95
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    May 2012
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    When you said "visiting" a Prison I began to wonder if that is what they call it in Morocco and what you had done to cause a "visit".

    A prison made of mud. Who would have thought. They must have had a lot of guards to prevent any ambitious diggers.

    I may have asked this before but....
    What are the covers over the Volvo tires for? I know over here people do it to try and stop Porcupines from eating the tires.

  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
    When you said "visiting" a Prison I began to wonder if that is what they call it in Morocco and what you had done to cause a "visit".

    A prison made of mud. Who would have thought. They must have had a lot of guards to prevent any ambitious diggers.

    I may have asked this before but....
    What are the covers over the Volvo tires for? I know over here people do it to try and stop Porcupines from eating the tires.
    While we lost count of the number of rooms that had flat rectangular places on the floor to hold a bed or beds for the guards so the ratio of guards to prisoners seems to have been very high.

    To further discourage 'visitors' we also noticed a number of places around the walls on the outside where small diameter pipes came out to dispose of waste water and raw sewage as there were no holding tanks inside! Thankfully it has rained a few times but not many since the place was closed down to wash the rocks on the hillside!


    I cannot remember the question before, but the answer is to stop the Sun burning the hell out of the rubber which we have seen happen over here thanks to the heat and the fact that they are black! I think if you filled a plastic bottle and then wrapped it tightly in a black plastic bag it would not take long for the water inside to get very HOT even in Winter!!!

  7. #97
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2015-2016


    Our first day in Ouarzazate

    ‘Good Morning’

    So off we go for a walk around the city to see if anything has changed from our last visit…..
    Here we go with the ‘City Views’!......

    As a new modern art statue which will be a water fountain in the very near future is being finished off in the park…..



    The main N10 road through the city…..



    A new Wooden ‘Trellis’ being built while others in different places on the same road had been built and painted…..



    There is a dark orange coloured ‘Trellis’in the centre of the next picture ….



    As we then pass the 4 Star Hotel Fint as we see some laundry hanging over the balcony rail in the front of the hotel it makes me wonder what the hotel laundry service is like or even if it exists!......



    One of the old Kasbahs at the top of the hill……



    While next door is the one they keep in reasonable order for the tourists to pay to visit…..



    As we then walk down the other side of the hill with the good Kasbah on our left side! ….



    Then at the bottom on the corner is the Tourist Antique/Gift Shop…..



    While in the centre of this very large junction is a new Traffic Island!....



    This is also being made into a Water Fountain as we managed to take a look as we crossed the road and saw the fittings in place to build up the fountain…..



    We then head off in a slightly different direction to the city centre, passing this new building which was to have been a shopping centre, but there are no buyers for the new places……



    Up on the side of the hill as we head off to the left are small trees with coloured glass balls on made to look like leaves…..



    As we get to the top of this hill we start to pass along some upmarket Hotels of the 5 Star variety……



    With the only ‘Night Club’ we have seen in Morocco just behind the wall but in the Hotel grounds !.....



    While down this little lane is another upmarket Hotel set in very nice grounds….



    The rear grounds of another of the hotels but looking a bit shabby at the rear….



    Off we go down the other side of the hill with the massive water tower in front and the Maroc Telecom Microwave Dishes to the left, while the Wi-Fi on the campsite is extremely slow!....



    A hundred yards further on we look over the wall and this is the view as we look into the Command Centre for the Gendarmerie with a lot of new buildings that have been built recently and the footings in the process of being laid for another block to be built…….



    Then as we get back to the main road (N10) through the city we see this new Water Fountain in operation while I hope that globe on top is made of excellent Stainless Steel otherwise it won’t be shiny for very long!!!......



    Can you see in the next picture the last section of the outside Chimney and how black it is, while above the two doors is rather black as well, while all the ‘fuel’ (Wood) is in a pile on the left?
    This is the Boulangerie with the little ‘Docker 3 wheel delivery vehicle’ outside waiting for the next batch of Bagettes & ‘Hobbs’ (Moroccan round loaf) to be loaded for delivery!.......



    Carry on up the street and you come out into the large main square…..



    With entrance gates from the main road……





    Just up on the left hand side is the Central Market…..





    The back out on the streets and we make our way to a Fruit Juice Bar…..



    For…On the left a Kiwi and on the right a Mixed Fruit juice drink, while the Kiwi was quite liquid and sharp in taste the Mixed Fruit was thick and creamy and a little difficult to get up through the straw, so we moved to the long spoon, but they were very nice and also refreshing!.....



    Started to head back to the campsite and we pass along that very high wall which is still being built with the construction crew living on site in the two small buildings to the left of the concrete mixer….



    They will fill in the gap in the wall at this point while around the corner there is also a large section of the wall to be built, but when finished it should look very impressive!.....



    On the other side of the road was this Hotel Restaurant with a second entrance and a new set of doors……



    Then just a little further along we go off to the right and enter into the Old Town Quarter which has a Jewish area and Synagogue (Which we did not find) as well as a Mosque and lots of alleyways to find your way through!......





    The ‘Long & Short’ of it sleeping off a night out!!!.....





    The roof in the next picture was still being held up with sections of Palm Tree Trunks…..



    As we then saw a pair of new doors we came out very close to the campsite…



    So we then got a cooked chicken from an outlet and headed back for lunch and a lazy afternoon and evening as today has been rather hot with no breeze……

    Good night!

  8. #98
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    Calgary Alberta
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  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forkster View Post
    Thank you 'Chief of Few Words'!

    Clearly you are enjoying your place in the 'Third Seat'!

  10. #100
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    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2015-2016


    Our second full and last day in Ouarzazate

    ‘Good Morning’

    I wanted to have another look at that GIANT wall that is being constructed along the main road as I thought it was what we call a ‘Dry Stone Wall’ but seeing the Concrete Mixer on site cast some doubt, so off we went to take a look on another trip into the town .

    As we came out of the campsite and made our way to the main road we saw this Truck loaded up with new 3 Piece Suites going off somewhere, and boy can they pack a truck up over here!!!......



    As we get to the WALL we see how much is left to build as this is the front as it then goes…….



    All the way along here as well……



    So then we get in close to check it out, and see the rainwater drain pipes which are around 50mm (2inches) in diameter….



    And yes it is a Dry Stone Wall with some mud between the stones, that has dried out and set hard, while the Concrete Mixer is used to make a mix that is used on the ends of any sections of the wall….



    While this is what they hope those Water Fountains will look like on the Traffic Islands! Hmmm, it would be interesting to see the final result, which might be sometime away…..



    As we really enjoyed that Fruit Milk Shake yesterday we went back for a second one this morning which was ‘Mixed Fruit’ but the mixed fruit of yesterday was not the mixed fruit of today as the Dates were missing, but it was still very nice and refreshing…..



    As we then wandered around another part of the town we spotted this building with an even larger pile of wood outside and a dark opening and windows on the left! ….



    While inside the dark opening were these 3 large tanks all connected up with a BIG fire underneath, which the happy man is standing in front of the feeder hole where the wood goes in through!…..



    It was the Public ‘Hamman’ (Steam Bath/Bath House) and the entrance for the Men is on the left while for the Ladies it’s on the right!....



    Then after a nice lunch it was time to head back to the campsite.

    Even though there was enough room to hold 2 football games due to the number of campers who had departed this morning we arrive to find this camper alongside with just enough room to open the driver’s door of ‘Flamenco Red’!

    Makes me rather glad to be back on the road tomorrow as I don’t fancy the guy opening his window to shake hands and wish me a ‘Bonjour’!....



    Off to Talouine tomorrow…..

    Good night!

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