Thursday, March 1, 2018

Crossing the High Atlas Mountains again

You might remember that we crossed the High Atlas Mountains on our way south to the Sahara Desert for the camel ride. Now it was time to cross them again on the way north towards the Marrakech area.

As you can see, lots of wiggles in the mountains. This road is the major route to the south from Martakech so there is a lot of traffic, night and day.

A last view in the morning light.

'Action' gave each of us his business card. He was quite a character.

A place selling Argan oil. The next day we would visit a coop where the oil is made but it was closer to the coast.

The High Atlas in the distance.

All of the mosques in Morocco have square minarets whereas in the rest of the Islamic world they are cylindrical.

We were stopped for an inspection and I sneaked a zoom photo of one of the police from the other side of the bus. Rike also took a photo but they noticed her doing it and they were not amused. Apparently corruption was rife years ago and people would take photos to implicate the offending officers. That corruption has now ceased, but photos are not supposed to be taken. The uniforms vary by district but all are nattily dressed. Note that they are only armed with pistols, not with the machine guns of Egypt.

The stops are mainly to check that documentation is in order. Our van driver had to produce his papers as well as these disks that record how fast he has been driving as well as taking breaks. Every two hours, he is required to take a 15 minute break.

We started to climb higher and higher.

Probably the river bed formed from a glacier.

The altitude of over 6000 feet.

Look at the slope of the road. It's a very rough road and there was a lot of construction and repair work going on.

The high point.

This valley was incredibly deep.

Note the people standing right next to the edge with nothing to stop you rolling all the way to the bottom of the valley.

We stopped for a bathroom break and also the break for the driver.

At least there were some guard rails.

Village off in the distance.

Eventually we reached the plain and I think we all breathed a sigh of relief. I would not like to drive over that range myself. Marianne would have been terrified.

Prickly pear. It's common in some areas and is even used to create fences. It became a pest in Australia and was mostly eradicated by a beetle.

The flat plain. The views were stupendous from the mountain road but it was quite a ride.

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