73km Guercif – Taza
Our longest day in a while, and the first one where we’ve started to feel like we are getting over our colds. A good thing too as we had to keep on our toes to tango with the Moroccan drivers, many of whom must be good candiates for F1 judging by their speedy overtaking and cornering skills. Watch out Fernando Alonso! We headed out from Guercif quite early, a move which paid off later in the day when some killer headwinds kicked in during the afternoon. Our renewed energy and a nicely paved road meant we covered a good 20km in little time and took the opportunity to stop at a roadside cafe for a morning coffee and tried to learn the Arabic for a cafe au lait. Despite the best efforts of our waiter, we need a little more work to get our tongues around the language. There was also a village around this point so we gave the locals further amusement by stopping to buy some oranges for the ride ahead. No matter where we stop, our arrival is always the subject of quite a few turned heads. Not too many people actually come over to ask where we are from, maybe because they only speak Arabic and it’s clear we don’t, although we did have a nice chat with one man, Ali, before leaving Guercif. He told us how the area has been quite dry and not gotten the rain it needed this year. Continuing on to Taza, we noticed how the ground became sandier and hillier. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine this being part of the Sahara one day as the landscape takes on a similar shape to the great desert dunes. We battled with several steep hills and a very strong headwind during the last few kilometers, but soon landed in the university town of Taza for the night.