Days 11 &12: Agdz, Marrakesh and FezDecember 8, 2018 in Morocco ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C
Abdullah gives me a lift into Agdz and it's just a half-hour wait for the comfortable CTM bus back over the Sarhro to Ouarzazate. From there I'm on the evening flight back to Marrakesh. It's dark when I arrive and I go straight to the Hotel du Pacha. I am sorry to leave the desert behind; there is a fascination for being able to see ten, maybe twenty miles of absolutely pristine nothing. It's so alien to the grey, cramped, polluted world where most of humanity chases around and I hope that in 2019 there will be time for me to find another desert somewhere. I even have a book at home waiting to be re-read: "Grains of Sand" by Martin Buckley (2000). "Everyone has his own desert," he writes.
Leaving the road behind, I take to the rails. Moroccan railways are modern, well kept and reasonably punctual. The network covers all the main cities north of the Atlas and besides this standard service, there is to be a TGV line which will cut the journey from Casablanca to Tangier to 2 hours. I am headed for the historic city of Fez about 300 miles to the north-east. In first class there are 6 seats in each compartment, ideal for catching up on any missed sleep, and from time to time a man comes round with drinks and snacks. The line passes through Casablanca, Rabat and Meknes before pulling into Fez in mid-afternoon. It's been a leisurely 7-hour trip.
The station at Fez is another neo-Moorish structure and like that at Marrakesh, spotless and efficient. It sits in the ville nouvelle of Fez, which is almost Euopean in feel with little taste of what's to come in the medieval city. Although it's still daylight, I have decided to book into an Ibis by the station. This is to defer searching for my lodgings in the Fez medina where no traffic can penetrate, and to leave that task for tomorrow.
Attached are some previews of Fez, both in the ville nouvelle and the medina.Read more