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Marrakech, Michael, and a different world all together.

Flag Morocco Marrakech Medersa

Wednesday, March 15 2005

7 month, 21 days

Marrakech, Morocco

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

Land Rover 20.064km

Trekking 243km

Ferry 621km

Train 150km

Other cars 4.633km

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm. > journey > africa > morocco > 20050315-marrakech

You enter a different world ...

Map: Entering Morocco.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

... when you pass the Spanish/Moroccan border. "Nowhere in the world is the GDP per capita differential of two neighbouring countries as big as it is between Spain and Morocco." explained Daniel's father Jose to me.

This is what I have come for. The new, the unknown. On the 9th of March I leave the continent, but not Spain. In Ceuta I spend the night on a big parking facing the Mediterranean Sea. Is it Africa, or Europe? The night is quiet, not cold for the first time. Must be Africa.

On the 10th I cross the border to Morocco. Formalities are a no-event. I have to buy insurance for the vehicle. An Equivalent of 160Euros for the next 3 month, a bargain!? There go my last Euros.

They don't check my vehicle, don't want to look inside or see anything else. There I am. In Morocco.

I head south. In Tetouan I buy a Moroccan sim-card for the mobile. Easier and cheaper then in France or Spain, who charge a lot for the card without giving you much credit. Competition, as an expression of capitalism seems to work better in Morocco, then lets say in France (4 providers, 1 price: 30Euros, 5Euros credit,. price fixing!?). Or is it that capitalisme works solely for big corps to the disadvantage of the consumer in Europe? Then its justification is questionable.

I give a ride to a couple of people on my way. Somewhere on the road to Rabat I stop for lunch. Grilled minced meat skewers and bread, plus some mint tea (not 20Dirhams, 2Euros). Via Rabat, where I stop for a black coffee (4Dirhams, 40cents) and get cash from a machine (works), I reach Mohamedia that evening. The campsite, 30Dirhams, 3Euros, I am the only guest. Happy having come down that far and happy about what I have seen I cook spaghetti and open a bottle of Rioja. I work on the computer until I fall asleep.

11th morning, I buy bread sold from the boot of a car just outside the campsite. It smells delicious, it is still hot. 1Dirham (10cents)the piece that would be enough for me for breakfast. Ok I have two then. That should get me through the day with the cheese and sausage I am still carrying from Spain.

I drive further south to meet Michael, a friend from Austria. I have not even bought a map from Morocco yet. So it is the GPS we rely on. Michael has sent me his entire way point's database. We are supposed to meet as close to his Ait-Ourir way point as possible. Easily I make it via Marrakech to Ait-Ourir which is just 40km further to the south-east. I make it to as near as 200m to his Ait-Ourir way point. It is 5 in the afternoon. We did not specify a time. So, lets wait, I think while thinking how stupid our way of meeting is, to rely on a technique we both do not know much about.

5 minutes later Michael parks his BMW right next to me. The technique works, the timing is sheer coincidence and the joy is great and real. We check into the terrace/garden of a hotel/restaurant, licensed it is. Some beers we have and a lot of news is exchanged. We have made it, have met, and will spend approximately 2 weeks together. Be both crash in the back of my vehicle on the parking of the hotel (its free).

Meetin Mike and there'S lots of children
Lot's of children ...
Reunion with Mike Picture
... where we meet.
Mike and his bike and children
Mike's bike, attracting attention.
Our firsrt day driving the High Atlas
First time touring the Atlas region.
Mike first day, Atlas
Peaks still snow covered.
Pausing from driving, Siesta at roadisde

The first day driving around leads us straight south to the mountains of the High Atlas. On bad roads (but this is what we are looking for and it is a good way of escaping the tour buses from Marrakech) past snow-covered mountains we make it to Asni and later to Amizmiz.

At the end of day we search for a night camp and find le gite d'Aznag (gite is French for b&b) somewhere between Tiferouine and Aguergour. I am happy with what I have achieved with the Land Rover today. So is Michael although he has had many days of off-road experience already before meeting me.

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Le gite d'Aznag

Mike's bike  at dusk in front of the gite d'Azneg
Dusk on top of a hill.
Morning at Aznag's gite, a paradise for French  Parapandistes
Village near by.
Mike and Reneault, outside Aznag's gite
Mike and Reneault.
Good group
The group (là pour la parapente), morning tea and crêpes.

Aznag serves the tea himself
Aznag serves tea himself.

Situated on the top of a mountain this site is popular with paragliders. A formidable group of some 11 open-minded spirits (that includes Michael and myself) has gathers for the evening.

Tea and dinner is being served. We all sit on the floor on pillows, blankets are being handed out. It is still cold up here at an altitude of 1.233m. Everyone tells his/her story. Francoise, Renault, Lorry, Robert, Stefan, Philippe, Olivier, Pascale and Patrick.

Aznag tells his. How he came to open up the "gite". My French did not get all of it then. But ... he has worked in France (and) in a mine, became seriously ill and was living on a pension.

Back in his hometown someone (a paraglider) one day asked him why there was no "gite" (b&b) or other place to spend the night a get a bite to eat. He investigated what the concept of gite was and opened one himself. Nowadays he is famous and respected in his village and amongst parapentistes.

Pascale and Mike in biketalk
Pascale and Mike ...
Pascale and Mike in biketalk
... bike talk.
Mike, Lorry, Pascale, Mike winning the argument?
Nothing to hold against that.

Bike talk with Pascal and Lorry. Who wins the argument?

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Our friends the parapentistes

Next day on top, where the paragliders intend to take off.
We drive to the very top for take off.

Next morning after breakfast we go where the paragliders go for take off.

The wind is not great yet, but the spirit good.

Somehow this is something I have always wanted to do. I like the concept of not having to walk down after climbing a mountain. And a parapente would fit on my roof gallery.....

One takes off
Take off.
Parapanteiste testing the wind
Testing the wind.
parapantiste take off, look for the thermal winds that give the lift
Thermal winds lift you higher.
One makes it back to  the take off area, Mike takes a foto
He makes it back to where he took off from.

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Life's really ugly to me
Mike uneasy, "Life is so bad to me."
Dusk sets on Jemaa El Fna
Square Jemaa El Fna, or Djemaa el Fna, Marrakech.
Come sit down here, Jemaa- El Fna restaurant
Been here 1994.
Burning  Jemaa El Fna
Then the ground was not tiled.
in the Lobby of Azni Hotel
Grand Azni, the only bar in the Medina that serves beer.
Mike on Jemaa El Fna
Later back on Jemaa El Fna ...

Drunk in Marrakech
... for spiced tea.

Leaving the parapente folk we go straight to Marrakech to relax from the action of driving around for a day and a half.

Having been here in 1994 I can say Marrakech has changed. The hassle we had then with youngsters who wanted or tried to be your guide has disappeared completely.

It is very relaxed indeed these days. There are reasons for the change. One is the general wealth increase due to tourism. Also is there a law in place making harassing tourists an offence and a government that wants and promotes tourism.

Mike and I enjoy wondering round the Medina and eating on the Jemaa-el-Fna, the big, all dominating square, in the evening, basically we do what tourists do. That's good for now.

But I want to come back for more and maybe stay for a month!? Towns are good for working, reading, studying and discover hidden places and to connect to its people. And it takes a while to connect. Marrakech just seems right for that. > journey > africa > morocco > 20050315-marrakech

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