Intro + Route Map - All Around The Atlas - Morocco 2019 - CycleBlaze

Intro + Route Map

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Earlier in 2019 I spent almost 3 months cycling around New Zealand & Australia (you can see that journal on my profile) and it didn't take many weeks back at home in my nearly-minimum wage job before I had started planning another bicycle tour. I had to consider a few limitations- it would be over christmas so the weather needed to be decent in December, the tour would have to be fairly short because I'll only have 3.5 weeks with all my work holiday, and it needed to be a cheap country because I'm still financially reeling from New Zealand!

I would have liked to head to SE Asia, but flights are expensive and I want to spend more than 3/4 weeks there. Portugal was also a consideration because it's easy to access, and a it's European country I haven't been too before, but ideally I'd want to do that sort of trip one summertime when I could incorperate Andorra into the route. I had a couple of discussions with the folk over at r/bicycletouring on Reddit, and came up with the idea of Morocco. Still reasonably close to home, exotic scenery, and a completely different cultural experience to anything I've tried before.

With 3 and a half weeks to travel, I was tempted to fly into Faro in Portugal, and then cycle through southern Spain to catch the ferry heading towards Spain's African enclave, Ceuta. This would've turned the first third of the trip into a bit of a rush, so just decided on flying into Fes instead. Route planning was pretty easy- there aren't a huge choice of roads to each destination, and none of the roads south of the Atlas mountains are busy enough to worry about avoiding. One of my regrets on previous tours was not having a decent camera and having to rely on the horrible zoom on my old iPhone. This time I did a bit of research and bought an Olympus OM-D E-M5 MkII so hopefully I'll take better photos once I've got used to the functions. I had also made the decision not to take my camping stove this time. Airlines don't let you take pressurised gas cyclinders, and I've heard that the screw top cyclinder type is virtually impossible to find in Morocco. Let's pray the local groceries and cafes will be good enough sustenance. I brushed up on a few Arabic and French phrases, and with that, it was time to go.

In total the trip was only 747miles/1202km, but featured a whopping 40000ft/12192m of climbing!

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