Day 19: Rabat to Fes

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Tue 23 Nov 2010 19:52
Day 19: Tuesday 23 November 2010. Camping International, Fes. N33 59.909 W004 58.117  Distance driven 267 km
The day started with a sumptuous, late breakfast;  fresh orange juice, coffee, tea, omlette, crepes, fresh bread, drop scones and cheese, honey, apricot and strawberry jams. By the time we finished we were really too full to drive!  We went up the seashore to the old kasbar commanding the river entrance between Sale and Rabat and wandered around the walls imagining the scenes of pirate ships slipping in and out at night.
By that time we had had enough of Rabat and its traffic so we left for Fes, firstly taking the motorway and then turning off for another tagine lunch along the main street at Khemisset.  This time we fell for a large tagine, which was delicious, but far too much after our large breakfast. We continued on to Fes by the main road and tangled with a motorised tout on a scooter as we navigated our way to the Camping Diamant site by GPS. We finally got rid of him and found the site among new road construction but didn't like it and left to find the alternative Camping International.  We finally located it from the Rough Guide by reference to the football stadium but not helped by the total lack of signs. It is reasonably well appointed but has no Internet and a grossly over-priced cafeteria. At MAD 110 per night it is infinitely better than Camping Gambousier at the same price. We'll stay one night and see how it goes. I have already adjusted the thermostat setting on the water heater so that we get some reasonably hot showers in the morning!
All day today we have seen the olive harvest starting. The last 2,000 km has been in olive land, millions of trees and billions of olives. Up until today we had seen no harvesting but it has suddenly started, perhaps brought on the recent rains? Whatever, the harvest here is entirely unmechanised, the olives being collected on cloths under the trees as they are shaken by hand.  Then, piles of olives are "winnowed" by scooping them up and throwing the scoop full through the air to separate the fruit from the leaves.