Meknes it is!!! A city of intrigue, juggling monkeys, story tellers, Berber horse rides and street food all squished into the Bab Mansour square, coming alive under the night sky.
Well, that’s what we’ve read about anyway.
During the night, the heavens have opened and the weather system lashing Spain with more flooding is passing over Morocco as well. Wet rain is doing a bit more than just pitter-pattering on Kaya’s roof! Damn, blast, bugger, shit and fuck! What rotten luck as we really wanted to spend some time in Meknes. The plan was to drive Kaya 11km from the campsite to the overnight parking outside the walls of Meknes, spend the afternoon mooching around and the evening visiting the Bab Mansour market from sunset. But with the lashing rain, it was not to be.
By 11am there is a break in the weather and the sun has come out. We’re in luck. It’s cold but dry so we pay our campsite fees and set off for Meknes. Hooray!!
But as we enter the city gates and start to wander around the medina, the clouds start to roll in and with half an hour the temperatures are plummeting and we need our fleeces. Back to Kaya and then back up the hill but now it’s lunchtime and everything is closing up till 3pm. So we take refuge in a cafe with rotisseried chicken turning slowly round in the cabinets and order us up some chicken. Another bit of bad luck as we realise when the plates arrive that we have ordered poulet and not poulet roti so we have stir fried chicken on our plates. Ah well, next time. But they were really good anyway so we didn’t feel too hard done by.
We head off back down to Kaya as we realise the rain is rolling in again but stop on the way for briouats, one a pastilla (sweet raisins, scrambled egg and pigeon seasoned with cinnamon and icing sugar – I know, right!!!!! – amazing!) and one stuffed with almond paste flavoured with rose water, deep fried and dipped, no, no I’ll amend that, soaked in honey. You know, I have re-read that sentence and despite how weird it may seem, it makes total sense when it hits your tongue! Oh lawdy, I can’t tell you how good they were.
Then a quick foray into Bab Mansour square to see the action starting to heat up. Can’t wait!
Split splat split splat, that’s the rain starting as we head down to Kaya for our coats (our big ones because this is grown up rain and only our northern big coats will do!). We know now that they are definitely waterproof because the rain is cascading down them, wetting our jeans through on the front – we’re dry and warm inside them. The temperature is now a freezing cold, 8degC and being wet is not pleasant. The square starts to empty as locals pack up their horses, food, monkeys and ostriches and head off home for another day.
We run back to Kaya for some warmth and dry clothing and realise this actually isn’t going to happen for us this visit. Chalk another spot down for a second visit sometime in the future as we drive back to the campsite and wait for the weather to clear a little.
Day 2 in the rain, we’re back at the campsite and not even a chance to visit Volubis. A gentle tap at the door that we hear each day at 9:30am to wake us up with a glass of mint tea and last night I had the foresight to soak some oats for breakfast – bejewelled with dates (in season), dried apricots and fresh banana.
So time to finally catch up with my diary and do some mundane stuff again.
Oh look, a landie with a Brit has just arrived. Wine opened, invitation issued and another night spent in good company with Robert, sipping wine, nibbling fresh dates that he brought along to share and swapping travel stories without anyone getting bored!
We love being overlanders!