Volubilis and Chefchaouen, Morocco Week 99 20th-25th February 2013
While at Midelt we again observed the daily ritual.

Motorhomes arrive at campgrounds. Then, in some obscure parody the automatic satellite dishes raise themselves from roofs, rotate a bit, and align themselves.

Except sometimes they can be a bit recalcitrant. Which then requires a bit of human intervention.

We were wise to have left the mountains.
Just guessing.

We were well above the snow line.

We headed north towards Meknes.

The Moyen Atlas is the next NE-SW aligned string of mountains to cross.

Lower than the High Atlas.

Just a bit of snow.
But grass (we think). "Alpine meadows".
And the occasional grove of cedar trees.
Then on the north side extensive forest.
A glimpse of wide plains.
On top of one ridge we saw these odd constructions.

The walls contain soil.

We weren't quick enough to see what was being harvested.

In Midelt we bought some butter.

Two and a half kg of it.

Should keep us going for a while.

We stopped for three nights just north of Meknes.

It rained.

We were just a few km short of Volubilis which we visited on the way north.

Ruins of Roman town.

These are the storks on one of the columns of the basilica that everyone photographs.

As well as grain grown on the plain there are many olive presses.

Volubilis looks to have been a fairly wealthy town.

We haven't seen a whole large house where all the floor is mosaic and reasonably intact.

This is one room in the "House of Venus".

On the way up to the north gate we looked back along the main street (Decumanus Maximus) to the triumphal arch.

The columns to the right (the Gordian Palace) are ionic, with a base and scrolls at the top (rather than plain doric or fancier corinthian).

From outside the north gate looking at the triumphal arch, straight ahead, and the basilica to the left. 

The town was probably Carthaginian / Phoenecian from 3rd century BC.

Then Roman from about first to third century AD.

An lived in for another 1000 years after the Romans withdrew.

We lost track of where we were for a bit.

Almost too many mosaics for us.

They were probably due for a clean as they are exposed to the weather.

The "House of Columns".

Corinthian (with a base and ornate leaves at the top).

The triumphal arch.
Inside the "House of Columns".
And the top of one of those corinthian columns.
The Basilica.

We were left wondering where the bricks came from and whether they were original or part of a bit of restoration.

The town was abandoned in the 18th century and stones removed for building in Meknes.

Every Roman town should have one.

The Forum.

Opposite the Basilica.

We think in the "House of Orpheus".

The $1 entry didn't include a map and the guides were too much like hard work.

As we headed north the agriculture changed.

Industrial scale.

And at least one large scale irrigation.
We headed towards Chefchauen. In the Rif Mountains.

The dress changed.

We think the mountains are limestone. Very different to the sandstones of the Atlas Mountains.
Chefchauen has an interesting souk.

Narrow streets, painted blue and white, on the side of the mountain.

The main square is almost alpine.
All the basics.

Bread and colours for ?????

In places steep.
But always interesting.

And clean.

We camped above the town.

From Camping Azalan there are steps down.

We'd dawdled a bit too much after assuming we had three months.

When we checked it was really 90 days.

And when we checked again it includes the first day.

So we headed to Port Tanger Med for our return to Spain.

The motorway and rail viaducts sum up the contrast between the relative richness of the north and the undeveloped, poorer, south.
Gibraltar not very far away.
We arrived just in time. Ferry due to leave in an hour.

A short pause while the truck was x-rayed - a very elaborate truck mounted x-ray machine.

We chatted to a couple of Hungarian Vets working on a "hunting farm" near Rabat.

We're not sure if this is the end our Moroccan travels or the beginning of our return to Aus.

Our aim was to go slow and recharge our batteries. Which we've done.

And enjoyed ourselves. We weren't too sure what to expect but Morocco has been one of the more diverse (terrain and people) countries we've visited.

We camped on familiar ground next to Lidl in Algeciras.

Algeciras and Malaga, Andalucia, Spain Week 99-100 26th February - 5th March 2013

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