Day 94-95: Morocco, Azrou

Day 94

First thing this morning, whilst everyone was still in bed, we had paid & packed up and left for Euro Camping. Now here’s the thing, it looks a bit like DisneyLand when you enter it and has a strange emptiness about it, as though it should be filled with families and children.

But as we drove up the long winding driveway, we discovered only one other camper. On the plus side, the electricity worked perfectly, the wifi worked and the manager is an absolute darling. And for all for just €2.50 more. Oh, I forgot to mention that we also get free fresh bread delivered every morning and if you need to go to town, a lift down whenever you want. I don’t understand why more people aren’t using it. Better for us.

So we found a lovely sunny spot and got ourselves settled, ordered a meat tagine for lunch and were just getting Kaya sorted when we heard the sound of a motorhome and popped our heads out (it’s always an exciting time to meet new overlanders). Who should we see but Andy, Sam and the kids rolling into the campsite. They too had given the other campsite up as a bad job and come to bolster the Brit contingent in Euro Camping.

Finally settled, we had made arrangements to meet up with them the next morning and walk into town. Tagine and bread consumed for lunch…….and the dreaded lurgy hit me!

My cold had been hanging around since yesterday as I had desperately tried to stave it off, but it would be staved off no more. So I took to our bed and snuggled up with some paracetomol and a litre of water for company and slept the rest of the afternoon away whilst the gorgeous Mr T managed to get a couple of loads of washing done – the pants situation was becoming just a little desperate!

Day 95

A gentle tap at the door this morning at 9:30am heralded the arrival of our daily fresh bread that we get included in our campsite fees. What a bonus. So it’s cumin gouda (the BEST cheese, ever!) and some smoked turkey ham slices (that we eat just for the calorie requirements as it’s pretty vile) on fresh Moroccan bread and a cup of nous-nous to prepare us for our walk this morning. When asked, we were told it was a 2km walk to Azrou. We checked on Maps.Me and it said 4km to the town centre. When we asked how far it was to Azrou, we should have actually asked how far it was into town. It’s an African thing, you know!

I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself today as I have woken up with a raging cold. Paracetomol are becoming my new friend. Having said that, we have plans to walk into town with Andy, Sam and the kids, so I’ve topped the paracetomol up with some aspirin. I’ll be reet.

The 4km into town was a doddle – downhill all the way. We were chatting so much that this didn’t sink in (what goes down HAS TO come up!!). We finally arrived and after a quick wander around the viewing point

we found a cafe to sit down for a glass of mint tea and some apple juice for the children. Although it was a bit strange as they juice some fresh apples then mixed it in with milk??????? We left there and on our way down to find the shopping area we spotted some amazing rotisserie chickens!

Finally.

They weren’t happy about Pepper coming in so the family left to find a pizza elsewhere and we settled in with a massive plate of poulet roti with rice, chips, salad and unlimited bread. Of course we weren’t able to finish it so wrapped up the leftovers and it was enough for another 2 meals. Result!

Sam had popped her head back in the let us know that the local souk or shopping district was just down the street and left into the next alley way. So once we were finished we waddled out towards the area to pick up some fresh lamb, veggies, some rice and 8 briouats from the local sellers. Not once were we hassled or in fact even overcharged for anything we bought. We’re becoming very relaxed into the way of life in Morocco.

So much so that on our way back home to Kaya we stopped in at the local pottery stall and bought ourselves a simple clay jug for MAD20 or €2. We have drunk loads of water from clay pots when we were in Egypt. Now the next bit, I have neither the scientific evidence to back it up nor can I confirm or deny but we have been told that you can put dirty water into clay and it will both clean it and chill it. We definitely know that it chills it as the condensation appears on the outside and this cools everything and the hotter the sun, the cooler the water. What we can tell you about the safety aspect of the water, is that we have drunk from the clay urns up and down Egypt and have never got sick. Anecdotal evidence only I’m afraid but we continue to drink from the clay jugs and to date haven’t been ill! I’ll leave that with you!

And then we had to make the walk back home to Kaya. OMG!! That’s a bloody steep hill. The other nugget of truth that we completely forgot to take into account is that Azrou is at 1300m above sea level an the top of the hill 1550m above. So picture this, dear reader, it’s a 2km NON STOP slog up 250m. On paper it may not seem like much, in reality the offer of the lift this morning from the Khalid, the campsite manager, was looking to be a more than sensible option but Nooooooooo, we wanted to walk! Several rests later, chests heaving with the combination of lower levels of oxygen and a very steep, very long up hill we finally got to the top to our final rest stop when Sam, Andy and the little ‘uns came around the corner to meet up with us. The walk back to the campsite from this point was a doddle. On the way back, I offered to do a little teaching session with Lucia. As Sam is home-schooling the children for their 2 year trip, any opportunity for the children to learn is a positive one. So with that in mind, Lucia came over, hands washed ready to learn (and record!) how to make homemade no-knead bread (and pizza base!). Dough made and left to rest, I set about making a pot of gamopilafo for supper that night as Carolyn and Dave (who we had met in Fez) had arrived and we had invited them to eat with us.

Lucia popped over to finish and shape the bread, it was left for a rest whilst we de-camped to the Berber tent on site. The gorgeous Mr T readied the fire for me outside but, hell’s teeth, it was cold now, hovering below zero and it was all we could do to wrap up in winter clothes, big coats and plenty of layers to keep warm but the fire was struggling. Khalid came along and told us to take the fire into the Berber tent (is is pretty big!) as is the Berber way and he provided a heater to take the ege off inside. We were soon pretty…….smokey as Mr T had just topped up the fire with charcoal and it hadn’t caught yet, so we were forced to open the tent to let out the smoke (or suffer from asphixyation and die – which was not tonight’s option!), and in came the freezing cold. But finally he got everything under control, the tent was closed up and we snuggled into our coats managing at last to keep warm.

Finally with the bread in the potjie pot over the coals to cook (not for supper!), bowls of steaming hot lamb stew warming our hands and bellies and a glass of Carolyn’s sangria in hand, we started to defrost and the conversation flowed and turning, with much hilarity, to toilet issues as overland conversation always seems to do.

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