June 30, 2021

Portugal-Morocco Off Road or the happiness of the simple things.

I want to go back to Morocco and quickly!


Traveling to Morocco starts long before the trip, it starts on the day we decide to go to Morocco on all-terrain vehicles! And preparations can even take months, all to make sure nothing goes wrong. And the truth is that nothing fails, it's much better than what we had imagined. It's a trip for those who like adventure and, of course, driving. Without counting what we drive in Portugal, we can count on about 3,000km in 8 days. Of course I don't drive any bit of it, I'm part of the group that enjoys seating next to the driver, appreciating the views, reading my book and, of course, getting my feet tanned out on the window!


The last time we went to Morocco was in July, but the next time it will be a cooler month, October or April. What do we need? A 4x4 car, with complete servicing and full tank. We meet in Porto and as we travel south, we pick up friends on the way, heading towards Algeciras, where we spend the first night; the next day we catch the boat that takes us to Morocco and BUM! It’s adventure time!


I had never been to Morocco before, I didn't know what to expect, but I decided to accept the invitation and book the accommodation in each of the places where we were going to stay overnight. We were 9, in 5 cars, we could have had one car more or one car less, but this is pretty close to the perfect number. We did an average of 250km a day, with some stops to discover the local people, unknown paths, unstuck one of the cars, talking and drinking a Super Bock - we always had the fridge on full power.


There was no better or worse in our day, but stopping to prepare our lunch was certainly a highlight, pure fun, amusement and companionship. Our lunch was a real meal, always Portuguese food from the pot, prepared outdoors; for dinner we used to try the local delicacies, we always did very well!


We traveled through Chefchaouen, Ifrane, Midelt, Merzouga, Ouarzazate, Marrakesh and Tangier, and we have a good memory of each of these places. Places we will never forget: Cedar Forest, Todra Gorges or Erg Chebbi Dunes. But it was the people who left an impression on us, the ones who went with us and the ones we met there.


We met people who did everything to welcome us in their homes, hotels or restaurants, we met people who guided us through cities to show us the most inaccessible places and we met an entire family who showed us that we should not have prejudices or preconceived ideas. Near the desert, where there were few shades to cook our lunch, we found a land with some olive trees that seemed to be a good spot; however, there was a donkey attached to one of the trees, which suggested that the land had owners. We set up our “kitchen”, but when the beans rice was cooking, the sound of the gas scared the donkey, which made him bray. Two children soon arrived, I thought it would be wise to pack our bags, things could go wrong. Well, I couldn't be more mistaken!! We had cookies with us, pens, hats that we gave them, while they hugged and kissed us to show their gratitude. The parents and the grandmother arrived, and even without speaking the same language, they welcomed us with tea, seeds and bread. We were intruders on their land, it was Ramadan, and yet they offered us food. We felt closer to someone than ever, no matter the language, culture or religion barriers, and regardless of the ladies wearing miniskirts or having a scarf covering our heads.


This trip to Morocco took placed long before we dreamed of creating Wild Douro, but today, looking back, it almost could have been our kick-off (even because we were in Marrakesh when we were European Champions!).


2022 will be again the year of Morocco!