It’s official, we have entered the Moroccan twilight zone.
Ifrane, a ski resort town south of Fes, is a place which is absolutely nothing like anything we’ve seen in Morocco so far. Here there are no humble cafes serving pots of tea to the working man or children riding donkeys to get water from the well. No, this is a place where the country’s rich – mostly driving new luxury SUVs – come to be seen in chic cafes and possibly to rub shoulders with the king who has a residence here.
Want a Thai beef curry? You can get it in Ifrane. How about a bottle of wine? Ifrane has several bars and a well-stocked liquor store. Want to pay European prices for your groceries? Expensive supermarkets abound.
What you can’t get in Ifrane is a decent meal, even at extortionate prices. The tagine we ordered in the Rose restaurant – supposedly recommended by several guides – was possibly the worst we’ve had in Morocco. Hotels under 300DH a night are also hard to come by, nearly double what we paid in Fes.
Aside from the king’s patronage, perhaps Ifrane draws its rich customers in because of the beautiful countryside. The town is inside a rather large national park with forests, mountains and lakes, which does make for very enjoyable cycling. The scenery was made even prettier by a snowfall the day before, although this also turned out to be a hazard as mischievous children prepared snowballs by the side of the road.
It wasn’t until the early afternoon when someone actually used us as target practice, unfortunately knocking Andrew off his bike and tearing his rain pants. If anyone has tips for repairing ripped Goretex please let us know! Tomorrow we are hoping for another sunny day to allow us to get out of this bizarre Moroccan town.