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It doesn’t get much better than this

May 15, 2010

Yesterday’s hard ride was so worth it. This morning we woke up to the most stunning view over Fes. It was literally breathtaking. But nothing prepared us for where we find ourselves tonight. We’re in the middle of the desert. Literally. I kind you not, we’re sitting on rich coloured rugs with huge sand dunes behind us, camels and candlelight and mint tea. It’s Amazing.

This day has been much like every other so far. Very, very special. The 450 km were packed with switchbacks, sweepers and long straights that divided the scenery completely in two. To the right, rich golden brown mountain ranges faded into soft yellows and purples which stretched away over the horizon. To the left, snow capped mountains with white peaks poked the pale blue skies.  And yet nothing seemed predictable. We would turn a corner to find rich greenery, bright blue lakes or colourful towns.

Children ran to our bikes when we stopped, hands outstretched, eyes hopeful for pennies and sweets. Where did they come from? How do they live? It’s a world away from our lives in Europe, whether that’s Italy, Germany, Holland, Spain . .. No matter where we’re from, we weren’t prepared for this. This is something else. We don’t wash our clothes in nearby streams as our children play in the dirt. Our grandmothers don’t carry great bundles of grass on their backs to feed our scabby family donkeys. And our men don’t hang out in bars all night. Or maybe some do . . !

The Super Ténérés feel like faithful friends now. We’ve bonded over the last few days and there’s a level of trust and companionship that’s developed. They feel like they’ll carry us anywhere, clean asphalt, rough terrain, even through the soft sand track to these cosy bivouacs.

Right now, we’re being comforted by a gentle evening breeze. A pile of fluorescent  logs glow in the bonfire in front of us as a pot of tea heats in the flames. Apparently there’s a five star hotel up the road. But we’ve got a tent each and a million stars above us. It doesn’t get much better than this.

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