Italy Morocco Pyrenees

May 2015

Part 5: Todra gorge

I'm nearly 10 days on the road, my memory's full of last day's impressive Sahara experience, my bike starts dyeing itself in Sahara's colour from all that dust and we all leave behind Merzouga to make it to the gorge of Todra. The ride on N12 heading west with the Algerian border on our back is flat, fast and straight.

The R113 later is less straight with flags reminding you which country hosts you:

And some interesting rock formations to enrich the view:

We make a short stop at Tinerhir and the view of locals washing their stuff in the Todra river catches our eyes:

After the picture above they get mad at us for staring and/or taking pictures. I was the most discreet of the group, if the rest had spent as little time focusing on them we might have skipped the shouts and angry gestures.

The R703 takes us closer to the Todra gorge and the interesting rock formations become more often:

This landscape makes another short stop at Ait Ijjou necessary:

And finally we arrive in the hug of Todra gorge. Unfortunately it is Sunday and I have to slalom my bike in the crowd. The latter consisted (among others) of lots of kids asking us to exchange euros for dirhams...all the time... The first picture I take in the gorge is the following and before you judge it as rough (which of course it is) look at that gigantic boulder which partially destroyed this hotel underneath:

The gorge is nice, the crowd not so much:

We arrive at the hotel and later we gather for dinner at the dinning area. When we are done consuming our dishes they offer us watermelon in generous quantities. For me it's a double wow for a) being offered something in Morocco and b) a fruit that looks safe to me. Let me remind you that up to this point I am avoiding all stomach risks: Tub water, salads, fruits or anything that needs washing beforehand etc. And..delicious it was! Happy and satisfied I go to bed like the rest of the guys. Did I say safe to eat?'s a challenge to describe what happened to me if I want to spare you the ew details. The nightmare starts only a couple of hours later during the small hours. Imagine a body trying to empty bad stuff from all possible exits. Sometimes simultaneously. I get dehydrated and totally energy drained at no time but I have to clean my room and toilet if I wanted to rest on my bed for the rest of the night without asphyxiating. Miraculously enough I manage that and in the morning, unable to even get on my feet I text the rest of the guys:

"Bring me a coke to drink cause I'm nearly dead."

I was waiting for the hours to pass unable to do anything other than wait for the first one to read my despair and come. The first knock on my door hours later was music to my ears. John appears with a coke in hand sees me pale af in my underwear. Not exactly a desirable x movie scene and please applaud him for keeping a straight face through the whole transaction. He tells me that more or less all the rest of the guys are not that good either. That coke makes me stand on my feet moments later, I step down to the lobby while I can hear the sounds of other people suffering as I did. I ask the guy at the reception and he tells me "Even our personnel is sick. Did you have breakfast?". If I had enough energy I'd go "You're kidding me? I can't even drink water". By the way, curious why a watermelon is not safe? This fruit is so juicy because it accumulates a lot of water so if the water is effed up (which it is) then the watermelon is too. Additionally, they might leave the melons on the back of a truck under the sun for hours so the bacteria go wild party before they have their after party in your stomach.

A long riding day is waiting under (what else) hot weather, something totally unrecommended for my case but as I somehow find enough strength to load my bike I tell the guys I'll be OK to ride too. As I am almost done preparing my bike I feel dizzy again, take a sit on the stairs of the entrance, puke for the Nth time and literally drop myself down to the ground. The lads gather around me and I can here one of them say "He can't even walk!". However, with even more of that shitty stuff out of my system I soon convinced myself to feel OK(ish) to get on my bike and join the rest to our next destination.

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