Another really rainy day

Still sick, still tired. I followed Ashka and Thomas out into the medina for a bit, before going back to sleep for a couple of hours.
I had left my door a little bit open to get more warm air in, and suddenly I woke up by someone knocking on my door. Another bike tourer, who happened to see my biking bags through the door!
We agreed on meeting later, and I went to sleep again.
I slept a bit more, and watched a movie as I could not find Andrew, the bike tourer. After the movie, just as I was going out, he knocked at my door again. We talked about earlier adventures, and future plans, and after some talk over dinner we decided to bike together for at least a couple of days, over the pass. Nice not to have to bike alone!

Time to get sick

I woke up, feeling sick. Feverish and a little bit like a cold, without any energy in my body. Could probably be because I haven’t slept much (been watching series), and the weather doesn’t exactly help.
I went up at twelve, and ate some breakfast. I then went out with the polish guys and I found another, smaller scarf I really liked and would be more suitable for the biking part, so now I have started collecting scarfs!
They were going to the tanning colouring place, but as I felt dead, I went back to the hotel. I ate bizarra on the way as I think soup will be good against the cold.
Back at the hotel, I talked with two Germans. They were also really nice. While talking with them, I spotted a bag at the pair sitting in the corner… I went over and asked, and yupp, they were biking from France to South Africa! Really cool.
Later in the evening, sitting tucked up in the sofa with some blankets, I heard some french guys saying “BRAVO!” I really recognised the way the said it, and asked if they had been in Tetouan. I then asked if they had been at Hotel Africa, and they had! Tha Bravo guy (Nordin) really is famous!
I continued sitting and talking with the Germans, with the only movement really being when I went out to buy two breads for the awesome salad they made, and treated me. It was good to eat something else, and also something that really seemed healthy overall.
In the evening, I finally watched he ending of the series, and now I can maybe sleep more!

Circle day

I decided to stay another day, and wanted to find the military museum here. Trip advisor had a map, which apparently didn’t point out the museum, and suddenly I had wandered in a circle and I was back at the hotel.
At the hotel I met two polish people who had arrived this morning. Ashka and Thomas had a small vacation here in Morocco and was going to stay in Fes for two nights before going home.
They decided to join to the museum, and at the way up there we found a cool spot we decided to walk out on.

IMG_4185.JPG

IMG_4186.JPG
The museum was closed during mid day, so we continued walking, saw a cemetery, saw some leather drying, went back into the Medina to buy food and ended up on the hotel street again. Second time today I have been walking in a circle!

IMG_4189.JPG
After leaving some stuff at the hotel we had tea (and coffee) time before heading out again. The original plan was to go straight to the museum, but as we passed by the hotel we decided to take a pause.

IMG_4193.JPG
We went out again, and the museum was nice. It was apparently forbidden to take photos in there, but I got one at least.

IMG_4194.JPG
On the way back, the sun was close to set. The city really looked beautiful from up there!

IMG_4195.JPG
After more food, I decided to buy a scarf as my next stop is the desert. I found a red one with darker ends which I really liked. Ashka also taught me how to put it on as they do in the desert.
I ended the night with more series and some nougat!

IMG_4197.JPG

Hamam!

As I had lived here two nights, I thought I would be able haggle the price down a bit on a room. I also wanted to get inside because of the cold, and to be able to spread my stuff out.
I asked about a cheap room, and the small room were available for 50 dirham (40 for the terrace) so that felt like a no-brainer!

IMG_4180.JPG

Small, but it is a room!

During the morning I spoke in the phone for a while, and made some adventure plans with Jakob for 2015. I will probably join up on some 4×4 car-adventure through Kyrgyzstan-Kazakstan-Siberia for a couple of weeks in the summer!
I made more walking adventures, and found a good place to buy bath things for the hamam. I both “black soap”, a exfoliating glove and some argan oil.

IMG_4178.JPG
I bought some dinner at my favourite place. The guy is named Omar, and he makes sandwiches stuffed with with you choose (potato, egg, sauce and spice for me). Now, I don’t even have to order, as he knows what I want, and I just have to walk up to him and wait. We can’t speak because of the language barrier, but it is nice anyway!

IMG_4179-3.JPG
I went on more exploring and found a market really close to my hotel, where they as usual sold everything from fruit to jeans.

IMG_4183-0.JPG

IMG_4184.JPG
In the evening I went to a hamam, a Turkish bath. I paid for “all inclusive”, including massage, for a total of 70 dirham.
It started with getting to the hot room, and getting some buckets of water over me. Then, the man (I really had to do nothing by myself) gave me a sort of stretching massage. After that, I got soaped in (I still didn’t have to do anything) and sat for a few minutes before he started scrubbing my body. Tons of dead skin were scrubbed off, and after that, a few more buckets of water. Some clay shampoo in the hair, waiting some more minutes and then some more buckets of water before done. I guess it all took about 45 minutes, and the only thing I did by myself was the shampoo, as he filled the buckets and everything. It was a really nice experience (even though I guess some people can feel weird when another person is putting soap and scrubbing your body while you both are in your underwear, but it is common here).
After that, I felt really relaxed!

Sending some stuff home

IMG_4171.JPG
When I woke up, I started with ordering a tea from Roshid. Delivered to the bed is really good!
Then, it was time to wash my clothes, as you never now when you will have the chance next time!

IMG_4172.JPG
I went out, bought food and checked the rates to send things home. Later, I went out again for more food, and also got a button sewed back on my shirt!
During my random wandering, I saw a Tilley-hat! The owner was Terry, a man from Canada, here on vacation with Helen (who also owned a Tilley hat). I had a nice chat with them before continuing.
I then biked to UPS to send home some stuff. I forgot my passport so halfway there I had to get back and retrieve it.

IMG_4173.JPG
I sent home two carpets, a solar panel, one t-shirt, one pair of biking shirts, a pair of socks, three pair of underwear, one knee protector and some other small stuff. I sent it in my back pack, a total of 4.5 kilos, and in that way I freed up space on the back rack. Thanks to that, I can move back my tent, which will make the handling of the bike easier.
It was a real hassle at the UPS office though, as they had some “new procedures”. After two hours my things were more or less on the way, though!
I got a tip about a bike shop, so I went there in the way back. 70 dirham for pedals+montage (=almost nothing). Too bad they broke after 20 metres, and as I told him to change back (“No, I don’t want another pair of this crappy pedals!”) he gave me 50 back (because of “montage cost”). I guess I will stick with my plastic pedals.
I came back to the “Blue Gate” (which is actually green from the inside) and the hotel close to sunset.

IMG_4174-0.JPG

IMG_4175.JPG
I went out for dinner, and I got the offer to eat a full menu at a restaurant close to the hotel for 40 dirham instead of 70. I had talked with him a few times before as he saw me coming with the bike, and had promised me a good price, and I think the price was fair! At the restaurant I met an Italian and an English living in Barcelona which I chatted with during the dinner.
Back at the hotel, there were five more people going to live at the terrace, so I was not alone out there anymore.

IMG_4176.JPG

Restaurant kitchen to the left, sleeping corner to the right

IMG_4177.JPG

Sleeping corner to the left,
bike to the right

When the rain hurts

In the morning, we went for another tour around the city, and I took the chance to take some photos!
My bed (even though I had a blanket),

IMG_4156.JPG
My shower from last night

IMG_4157.JPG
which was now a work place,

IMG_4158.JPG
The view, with a mountain lake

IMG_4159.JPG
And me and Alemir!

IMG_4160.JPG
The school on the right

IMG_4162.JPG
and their standard help when moving stuff from A to B!

IMG_4161.JPG
After eating some breakfast I started again. The wind was really strong, and as the road went in all directions I soon had headwind. Pushing in 8 km/h while the rain hurts your face is not fun, and I seriously started thinking of hailing a taxi. I am too proud though, so I continued pushing in the 18 m/s wind, according to Internet.
Soon, I had taken 9 out of 43 kilometres, and also the road went more to the north, meaning tailwind. It started feeling doable, and so I continued pushing. It felt nice and actually went pretty good considering the weather, but suddenly the signs changed. Instead of 12 kilometres left, I suddenly had the double, 24! I didn’t let myself down of this, and the road were actually pretty flat, with the wind a little bit in my favour!
After asking my way to the Blue Gate, I started looking for a hotel. I knew the rooms would be pretty expensive, and had a hard time finding anything under 100 even for the shittiest. In the end I settled for 40 dirham for living on the terrace – at least I had a roof over my head for a cheap price!
I went out to eat, and ate more snail soup, and also bread stuffed with potato, egg and some sauce. I also met some nice people I chatted with for a while.
As I wanted tea I tried to find a good place. Most places here were 10 dirham, but I managed to find a place that I could bargain it down to 5. I spoke some more with the people at this place, before going back to the hotel and sleep on the terrace!

Random encounter

After eating bizarra for breakfast I started again.
For a few kilometres I had a race with a tractor which couldn’t surpass 25; no problem for me with a little bit of downhill, but it was faster uphill.
When I ate lunch, I was going to ate some of my dates. Too bad I found this little guy inside on one of the dates.

IMG_4149.JPG
I decided not to eat the rest.
Passing some small villages, and in one of them some children apparently tried to open my bag. I thought he was just pulling on the bike (he let go when I saw him) but I later saw that my bag was open; everything still there, though.
Also, some children who were throwing small gravel at my (it’s good with biking glasses). I braked and stepped off of my bike, and they ran away pretty fast!
In one village, a French man stopped his car and asked “What are you doing?” “Biking Sweden-Agadir.”
When I decided it was time to get a hotel or something, I spoke with a man who told me there were none. I was approached by another man, Alemir, who invited me to his home 10 kilometres away up on the mountainside. We sat down, drank tea and talked until his ride was ready.
Out of the village, another kid threw a stone. Many stone throwers today…
After five kilometres, I found Alemir on the point he had described. We started getting up the last five, him walking and me biking slowly. The last bit was really steep and as the rear wheel lost traction I started pushing the bike, with help from Alemir.

IMG_4152.JPG
I was apparently going to live in a friend of Alemir’s house. It was a french woman, named Doudou. I don’t think he told her beforehand, but she seemed OK with it!
After eating a little bit, I was going to take a shower, and they had a place with “hot” water. I and Alemir went up into the village, bought some groceries, greeted many people and drank some tea, and I also took a shower. I would describe the water as ice cold, but better than nothing! Also, it was more of a tap with a big bucket underneath it.
Also, the shower were outside, which was pretty nice.
We went back to the house to make dinner.

IMG_4151.JPG
Some sort of tagine I guess, made out of potatoes and stuff. Nice was it at least!
After eating and talking I was really tired, and by ten I was sleeping!

IMG_4150.JPG

Really non-touristic!

I woke up pretty early so I started packing some before calling to wake Veigar up.
This is what I hear a few times every day!

I went to eat some Bisarra with Veigar. I was way more awake than him!

IMG_4126.JPG

IMG_4127-0.JPG
This is the “main square” where we ate dinner, drank tea/coffee and chatted with Usama!

IMG_4125.JPG
I said a final good bye to Nordin (the second) and to Veigar, which I may meet again here in Morocco.

IMG_4128.JPG

IMG_4129.JPG
I started biking by ten, starting with some uphill before going down in high speed. I even passed a total of four cars on the straight stretches.
On the “top” I got another nice view of Chefchaouen, with the mosque up on the right small hill!

IMG_4130.JPG
Everything went pretty well during the day until my left pedal started making problems. After around 70 kilometres, which was the minimum distance planned, I found a city with a really local bike shop. There are no Shimano, no Specialized – all is about what you can find. He literally climbed around in the small 9 square meter room until he found a pack of plastic pedals. He changed the pedals, put some sort of grease on the chain and a small cleaning of the bike for 100 dirham. Good enough for me!

IMG_4143.JPG
I then started looking for a hotel. The first one wanted 100 dirham, and pointed to the medina when I wanted a lower price. I found a hotel for 50 dirham, which was good enough, even if the shower was cold and the toilet was a typical hole in the ground.
I started with cooking some dinner on the room, consisting of two eggs and bread.

IMG_4131.JPG
I then took some nice pictures up on the roof of the hotel!

IMG_4106.JPG
I did my usual walking around-exploring. I found a tea-place, even if he did it wrong and it tasted pretty bitter. I met some nice guys there, though, and with a blend of English, Spanish, French and Arabic we spoke a bit about my trip and so. Apparently there were never European tourists in this city, which I think was really nice. No hassle from people on the street, for example. The guys also treated me some cake they were eating!
After watching some series at the room I went to sleep.

Eating snails

I woke up, and the view was still really nice!
IMG_4117.JPG
I slept so-so during the night, as this rooster kept screaming every hour, about ten meters from my room.

IMG_4120.JPG
I went down and spoke with the hotel owner for some time, learning more Arabic. I also asked about a cheaper room, and got mine for 60 instead of 100. That was more in my liking!
I went out, as usual without a plan where to walk, and bought bread on the way. After being out for a while, I went back to the room to eat breakfast.
I sent a SMS to Veigar, which I later learned did not arrive. As I didn’t really have anything to do, I slept for a couple of hours.
I went out, again without a plan. When passing the square, I heard someone call my name, and it was Veigar! I joined him at the café and drank some tea. I am in love with the tea here!

IMG_4121.JPG
We then went to a place as I hadn’t lunch yet, and apparently none of my SMSes had arrived. I tried calling, and it didn’t work either.

IMG_4122.JPG

A view from the restaurant!

We tried fixing my phone, but the guy at the shop we asked couldn’t help us. We were going to a mosque a bit up of the mountain, and while waiting at my hotel for Veigar I asked Nordin for help (second hotel owned by a guy named Nordin) and he solved it! Apparently I also have 1 GB of surf, free SMS and calls for a week. Woho!
When Veigar arrived, we started walking up to the mosque. We sat up there and talked for a while, with a nice view over the city.

IMG_4123.JPG

I can see my place from here!

When we went down, we met one of Veigar’s friends, Usama. We talked with him while eating bebouch, snail soup!

IMG_4124.JPG
As I was leaving the day after, we went around and bought food. I bough a kilo of nuts (50-50 french burnt peanuts and something I think is hummus also kind of french burnt) and eggs. After leaving it on the hotel, we went to a restaurant to have dinner, bizarra. After that, more tea, and while drinking it a person came up to Veigar and started talking. The person had picked up Veigar at the bottom of the mountain as Veigar was hitch-hiking, and the person was no less than the photographer I met earlier!
After talking some more, we separated ways and I went to the hotel to sleep!

Starting with mountains

Things I forgot to mention yesterday!
*I won a small photo contest in the Bicycle Touring group on facebook. Theme: Freedom, prize: The picture will be used as cover page for one month!

IMG_3915.JPG
*My light switch didn’t really work yesterday, and while they were buying a new one, I had it like this for a time. Also, they don’t turn off the electricity while fiddleing with it (“This is Africa!”).

IMG_4107.JPG
I headed out to buy breakfast, and then packed my stuff. At 1015 I started, with the hardest thing being getting out of the city. By using my compass and asking people, I managed. GPS really simplifies things!
I started biking, and the uphill were not steep at all. I had no problems keeping 20 km/h, even though I gained altitude. I saw a photographer on the way, headed in the same direction but by car, who took some shots of me when he got the chance. I stayed and talked with him, and he told me I could get the pictures later!

IMG_4108.JPG

Walking away like a badass

I took lunch after 30 kilometres, and on the way I had taken some nice photos. I also used my home-made bicycle stand, just putting my walking pole as a stand.

IMG_4109.JPG

IMG_4110.JPG

The wind was strong, so the clouds were rolling over

I got up to 650 metres, without it being too steep. As Chefchaouen would be at 590 metres, there were two alternatives: more or less flat, or downhill with a big ass uphill in the end. You can guess which one…

IMG_4113-0.JPG

300 steep height metres

It took an hour, with really steep road, but I managed to get up. Asking around, I got in the right direction for the hotel Veigar had told me about. Close to the top I saw a man with a nice hat!

IMG_4114-0.JPG
After some steep biking in the medina, I got to the hotel. They only had the terrace rooms available for 100 dirham, but I took it. It was a nice view at least!

IMG_4116.JPG
After eating some more, I went out to discover the place.

IMG_4115.JPG

I bought pretty much of this in Tetouan

I bought some bananas and a baguette with omelette and french-fries in it (weird but good) while looking for some wifi. A cyber cafe cost 10 for one hour, so I bought dinner for 30 at a restaurant with wifi instead.
After that, I went home and fell asleep by eight o’clock.

IMG_4118.JPG

The small mat I bought…

IMG_4119.JPG

…and the big one, but I am not going to unfold that one!