Human interest

Marrakech to Agadir-Tizi-n-Test Pass

Posted by on October 8, 2017 at 3:34 pm

The Tizi-n-Test Pass is yet another road, through the High Atlas Mountains, that was constructed by the French in the 1930s. It links Marrakech to the town of Taroudannt,

Tizi-n-Test Pass

through 200kms of mountain road. During the winter it can be cut off through rockfalls and heavy snow. As the road climbs steeply upwards, we were aware that we were ascending the highest mountain in North Africa. There were severe rock formations on one side, but we were riding on the right hand side of the road, where a precipitous drop was an ominous presence.

Marrakech-Medina-Quartiers-Seven Towers

Posted by on September 29, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Souks are a maze of alleys and narrow streets, and it’s easy to get lost unless you keep your eye on the location of various landmarks. We noticed in Marrakech that various alleys in the souks contained the same trades and it was along the herbalists’ section that we met Imam Souhaili, a local trader specialising in herbs, spices, creams and ointments, perfumes and oils. He managed to sell us some hibiscus tea and pressed a brochure into our hands. This gentleman had an amazing knowlege of what herbs and oils to use for specific medical problems. It was from him that I first heard about argan oil, a superb oil that is indigenous to Morocco.

Ouarzazate-Marrakech-Tizi-n-Tichka Pass

Posted by on September 27, 2017 at 8:35 pm

The French Foreign Legion has to come into our story somewhere, and sure enough, today we were to cross the High Atlas via the Tizi-n-Tichka pass, a road constructed by them in 1931. It loops and twists it’s way along exposed ridges reaching a height of 7,415ft (11,933km). The summit consists of twists and turns in every direction, the surrounding mountains often seeming to be contained in a haze. The Tizi-n-Ichka pass is important in that it connects the cities of Ouarzazate and Marrakech. This was another stunning, magnificent route.

Erfoud-Ouarzazate & The Dadès & Todra River gorges

Posted by on September 25, 2017 at 6:33 pm

Because our leader had been deprived of his maps he had to remember the roads to follow. It wasn’t long before he decided to head through the mountains on a more minor road. Unfortunately, after riding several pot-holed miles, it was to discover the road had collapsed during a winter storm, so we had to wend our weary way back to the main road. Again, the group had inevitably split, the main phalanx disappearing into the distance. The Chief Biker, now to be known as “The Baron,” stopped to take some photos but by the time we returned to Vera there were only two bikes left. Which way to go? We eased our way across a ford and edged slowly along the bumpy track for a couple of miles, when we spotted the other married couple in our group waiting at a crossroads. They had realised we weren’t with the

A Motorcycle Odyssey: Segovia to Granada

Posted by on December 27, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Segovia to Granada (340 miles) Day 5 Yawning prodigiously, we rose from our slumbers earlier than usual.  Today, we had a long ride ahead of us.  As we roared out of Segovia the ubiquitous wind continued to haunt us. Skirting round Madrid, we rumbled across the flattish plain of Central Spain, through the Province of […]

A Motorcycle Odyssey: Morocco

Posted by on November 12, 2016 at 1:46 pm

As the ship sailed out of the port, we began to feel like we were on a roller coaster ride. The bow end would surge upwards to meet the menacing sky, and then crash down a dizzying watery trough to thump the sea with a loud ‘bang.’ This settled into a monotonous but terrifying rhythm. Already, there was a significant absence of passengers. They had headed for their cabins in various stages of sea-sickness. The Chief Biker was severely affected and was to spend the whole night with his head suspended in sick bags. In between bouts of nausea he was heard to mutter that he hoped Vera was faring better than he was. Yes, he was thinking about his bike before anything else!

Sir Walter Scott and his Clarty Hole Farmhouse: Abbotsford

Posted by on October 10, 2015 at 4:40 am

“ A flibertygibbet of a house, the “Dalilah of his imagination” and his “Conundrum Castle” that would suit none but an antiquary.” Sir Walter Scott Clarty Hole to Abbotsford

A Tribute to Palmyra: Jewel of the Middle East: Temple of Bel

Posted by on October 6, 2015 at 7:12 pm

The Temple of Bel

This imposing building stood erect on a mound (a tell, in archaeological parlance). Because it was the main temple in Palmyra, I often think of it as equating to a modern-day cathedral. To the original inhabitants it’s destruction would be like destroying their spiritual and religious home.

Duns Scotus and the Schoolmen: Origin of the word ‘Dunce’

Posted by on August 25, 2014 at 4:37 pm

So, what is the origin of the word’ dunce?’ Before labelling someone thus, check the meaning! The person for whom it was originally intended was Duns Scotus a brilliant theologian and philosopher, who lived at the endo of the 13th century and into the early years of the 14th century, very turbulent times.

All for One and One for All! Tous pour Un et Un pour Tous! D’Artagnan’s Place of Origin

Posted by on October 19, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Who was the real life d’Artagnan? Town of Luiac, Gers: All for One and One for all! Tous pour Un et Un pour tous!