Road to Nowhere

Todgha Gorge 14/03/2015

We have been holed up here in this rather pleasant campsite after our exertions of going up not one, but two gorges in a couple of days. The main story this week is we have just been for our first outdoor swim of the year. Yes it was a bit brassy but we managed it and to be fair it was Tracy who was first in. Weather as always these days has been just swell, mid-twenties with not a cloud to be seen.

Other points of interest are we are still on the wagon, five weeks have gone and we are now feeling extra chipper. Lastly, on the news front, I cannot find anyone to steal my shoes. Looks like I might have to re-shape my feet to get full use out of them. And, there is a real treat for you later as we have created a classic French movie for you and you lucky people will be able to watch it.

So before we start; We are here:

And a couple of pics of the site

View from the van

View from the van

The site of our first swim

The site of our first swim

Driving up and down Dades Gorge 11/03/2015

Fantastic, superb, brilliant, scary, exhausting, inspiring, just bloody wonderful. What can you say, the drive had everything. Spectacular views followed by roads etched into the sides of mountains followed by being sandwiched between cliff faces and the river. Quite simply the best driving experience of my life. The only negative is it would have far more fun on your own in a beefy beamer. Stop. I’ve gone all Clarkson there for a moment. No, it is better, in the motorhome you sit up high and take in all the glorious scenery as you poodle along at a snail’s pace.

It is best described by Pictures and so here they are.

Start of Dades Gorge

Nope, it’s not one way

Top o’ the Dades gorge

Hot diggerty dogs in the window

On our way down the Dades

Knaus at the top of the switchback

Fingers of fun

look how small the buildings are

The journey up the gorge takes a good two hours with some photo stops thrown in. The condition of the road in the main is fine, a couple of broken bridges necessitating the forging of the river and a very, very scary half a mile along the side of a mountain with only one lane open and no barriers left. The only let down is the town at the end. The tarmac finishes in a gaff called M’semrir. This place is uglier than a lard bucket full of armpits. So we have no picture of M’semrir but we do have a picture of the SatNav to prove we got there……. And back.

We made it to the top of dades

As you can see the pass ends up at about 7,000 feet. When tourists come here, and they do in their thousands, they only come as far as the switchback, have a slurp in the hotel, and drive home with a camera full of happy memories. Here is the switchback.

Now for some fun

We thought we would do something a bit special so we have recreated the famous French Film C’était un Rendez-vous. In our low-budget world this was achieved by sticking our dash-cam to the Knaus badge on our grille with a sucker and ‘securing it’ with two cable ties. We threaded the cable through the window and into the cigar lighter. With a view down the valley we waited until the road was free of traffic and then made a one take drive through the switchback. The result is on YouTube or from the video channel menu or by clicking here C’était un Rendez-vous Dades Gorge . We hope you like it.

After that you will probably need some food and this week’s favourite is Berber Omelette and here is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tspground turmeric
  • 1 tspground coriander
  • 1 tspground paprika
  • 10tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • handfulof chopped coriander
  • 7eggs, beaten
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Instructions

    Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

    Heat your tagine on the stove and add some olive oil with the onion and cook slowly for about 5 minutes, add the spices and cook for a further 3 minutes, this releases the flavours.

    Add the tomatoes and coriander then simmer for about 10–15 minutes, make sure you stir occasionally and reduce to a sauce consistency.

    Remove from the heat and pour the beaten eggs over the sauce, cover with the tagine lid and place in the oven for about 10–15 minutes or until it lightly puffs and sets.

    To serve, season well and drizzle with a little olive oil.

  • Todgha Gorge 12/03/2015

    The plan was to drive to the top of Todgha, sister gorge to Dades, and yes we were excited. Our pulses started to rise as we turned left at the rather pleasant town of Tinerhir. However, within a few hundred yards we had a warning of what to expect from the road ahead. The first bridge across the Todgha had been washed away during last year’s flood and a diversion was in place to ford the river. After this early blip the road climbed up away from the river offering superb views in all directions. Here are some pictures.


    The first note of difference between the two gorges is the complete commercialisation of Todgha verses Dades with endless cargos of tourists being delivered to Todgha. Every view point along the journey is staffed by eager men dressed in electric blue trying to sell you beads, materiel or silver at inflated prices. But, every cloud…… These hardy fellows know the temptation of wine and bargains can be had by over-egging the quality of your wine against the inferior produce they have to offer. And as long as one remembers wine is more difficult to acquire than silver you should walk away with smiles all round. There’s might disappear when taste the quality of the cooking wine we swapped.

    After passing through some riverside villages the road plunges downwards to meet with the river on equal terms and the first site of the gorge makes a sneaky appearance around a bend. Before, you can see the full wonderment of how nature has sliced a 300m deep chasm only 20m wide through the rocks an elderly gent wearing a uniform last seen being worn by Fred Scuttle in the Benny Hill series leaps out and demands 5Dh (30p / €84) Tax to drive through the gorge.

    It is going to be one of those pictorial moments where you know the photo will not do the scene justice. So here, have a quick look.

    Todgha Gorge

    Where am I?

    man and machine

    After the mega-touristy bit we headed further into the gorge. Sadly after a kilometre or so the road deteriorated in one direction at the same rate as the landscape improved in the other. After 9Km and crossing the river twice we gave up and headed back. Firstly, here is our final picture of the gorge.

    The end of the rod for us

    And secondly, we have made a movie for you to see the splendour of Todgha. As always the movie is on YouTube or from the menu or by clicking here Todgha Gorge

    Before we planned this trip up the Todgha we checked on internet for advice as well as speaking to other people. And all said the road was good all the way through. The lesson here is always to check with the locals to see the current state of any road as the situation is fluid. What can be a great road one year turns into a farm track the next as vice versa. We did thoroughly enjoy the bit we did and hope to come soon to finish the job off.

    And on that bombshell.

    Love to all

    Take Care

    E&T

    xxx

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