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.
29th January 2007 at 9:52 pm #
N8 Fes to Ifrane – The first 30km or so are reasonably easy going with a wide shoulder, then the climb starts up to the town of Imouzzer, where you will find plenty of cafes, restaurants and a few hotels. Imouzzer is a taste of what Ifrane is like, already a bit more modern than many Moroccan towns and consequently more expensive. However, if you had a choice between a hotel here or in Ifrane you will almost certainly get off cheaper in Imouzzer! There are signs for a couple gites near the lakes a bit further on from Imouzzer although we did not go off the main road to find them, and then very little until you get to Ifrane. Ifrane will blow your budget and really has little to recommend it so don’t stay unless you have no other option.
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