Casablanca is a city of contrast. Extreme wealth sits alongside devastating poverty. I spent almost two weeks here after cycling 4000 miles from the Arctic to Africa.
From Barcelona to Gibraltar is approximately 750 miles and we have just cycled it in nine days straight. The weather has been an average of 32°c and the terrain has been spectacular although deceptively hilly. It has been my hardest stretch of cycling on this entire trip.
What I didn’t realise when we left Barcelona was just how close we would be cycling to the Sierra Nevada mountains. We were trying to hug the coast as much as possible to make the most of the cool sea breeze and the flatter terrain. However once we reached day 4 out of 9 our chosen route started taking us inland and up and over so rather large hills. We soon lost the refreshing wind blowing in from the coast and it became insufferably hot. Standing still was excruciating, cycling felt like having a hair dryer blowing in your face. Going up hill was slow and never ending. All I could see for miles in front of me, to the left and to the right was more hills, the roads were long and open with no trees and no shade. The sweat literally pouring off of me, my hands so sweaty that holding on to the handle bars was becoming more and more difficult. I lost all concept of distance and it felt as though I was in the middle of nowhere when in reality I was only 15km from the nearest town. At one point I almost ran out of water and started seriously panicking. At this point I didn’t have the option of jumping on a train to the next rest day location, I had no choice but to keep peddling. The only way I was going to make it to the next town was to cycle. Fortunately what takes over an hour to cycle up takes mere minutes to cycle back down the other side. The ride downhill is exhilarating! Getting up to speeds of 42mph on roads with hair pin bends, breath taking views and the knowledge that at the bottom is probably a petrol station fully stocked with water and ice cream.
I’ve made it to Gibraltar but I still have Morocco to tackle. Starting tomorrow morning I begin the last leg and step foot on African soil.
Here are some pictures so you can see what I’ve been cycling through the last 9 days.