Out of Africa

Tomorrow we head home to the frozen and / or sodden wastes of northern Scotland, so it seems a good time to reflect on our trip. (Any Southampton residents reading this should understand this blog entry refers only to the Moroccan section of our hols! Needless to say, the Southampton part was great.)

We agreed this evening that a) we enjoyed the holiday, b) the hotel has been good and c) whilst we might well return to Morocco, we would not want to come back to Agadir.

With my imminent departure to SL and Sonia’ s frenetic build-up to Christmas with concerts etc., we were looking for a quiet, slobby sort of break and that’s what we had. We managed an excursion and a couple of self-guided walks into town as well as our taxi-based city tour, so it wasn’t all lounging about. We weren’t too impressed with the beach, so our sun bathing and swimming took place in the hotel pool.

We have been staying in the Hotel Timoulay, which is really pretty good. The facilities have been fine, the rooms clean, spacious and airy, the grounds small but more than adequate. The staff have been uniformly pleasant and helpful and it was good seeing them interact with the small kids staying here. The other guests have been a mix of English, French and German, so we didn’t mention the war. It’s a relatively small establishment: big enough to have most of what you want and small enough to feel at home in. It’s not a lively place and we wondered what the one or two young couples made of it. The food, without being superb, has been good and fairly varied. We are glad we chose half-board as it would have been difficult to make informed choices in the concrete jungle that is the Agadir tourist area.

Agadir is a big place, with tourist area – near the beach – and local residential sectors clearly separated. I’ve already commented on the huge number of hotels, both finished and unfinished. Whilst there is a welcome attempt to give the hotels some local character, and some fine decoration, there is no soul to the tourist part, and nothing apart from concrete and bits of wasteland awaiting their turn to be concreted over. Our walks into town were pleasingly free of hassle and locals would stop and direct us – helpfully by their lights – to places we weren’t trying to go to, such as markets and so forth. It is a sad reflection on my cynicism that I always expected they were going to try to sell us something or work some scam.

When Sonia and I go on holiday, we frequently have a quest. Years ago, we fruitlessly scoured shops in France for invisible hairnets for my mother-in-law (I’m well aware of the possible jokes). We also spent some time one year looking – with more success – for non-sweetened chestnut puree. This year looked like being a doddle: Sonia had decided to take a cuddly camel toy back for a colleague in Drummond School where she works. What could be easier? I checked up on the requisite French vocabulary and off we went. Unbelievably – and possibly to Agadir’s credit – we failed. This aspect of holidaying obviously runs deep in Sonia’s veins: many years ago her mother bought cheese on a bus trip to Switzerland, carried it around for the rest of the holiday, took it back to Aberdeenshire, wrapped it up and posted it to us in Inverness. I will leave you to imagine the postman’s face when he eventually delivered it us.

Next time you hear from me, I will probably be in Sri Lanka. If you’ve been reading this, thank you: if not then your father was a hamster and your mother smelt of elderberries (© M Python).

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