I woke up before dawn and took the opportunity to have a look at the sunrise. It’s a rare treat for us Finns, as we don’t see much sun from November to January. During that time the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon at all in Northern Finland. So I was more than a little stoked to see the orange glow in the horizon, accompanied by the calls for morning prayer from nearby minarets. I found a very nice spot on the roof to check out the view and shoot some photos.

After enjoying the sunrise I snuck down to the patio in search of coffee. I’m not big on breakfasts, but it will be a grim day for me if there is no coffee. Luckily there was a fresh pot waiting on the table, so I basked in sunshine cradling a mug of the black stuff. 
Shortly after the rest of the gang started gathering around the table. Kari had brought some chorizo and other sausages from Spain, which were a hit. Pork products are a rare treat in certain areas of the world. 

After breakfast everyone kitted up and dropped their bags off to the support car. We had a briefing of sorts and then we were off. Our gang of eight riders and two guides leaving a tall dust cloud in our wake. 

I was riding a KTM 350 EXC-F, which I had equipped with my Giant Loop Fandango tank bag. I needed the extra room for my cameras. Even though the dirt track only lasted for a couple of kilometers, before a long stretch of tarmac, it was really great to be on the bike. Cruising along a world of sunshine and warmth. 
After the tarmac we finally hit gravel and the scenery changed instantly. We were climbing towards the High Atlas, which we would have to cross eventually. People didn’t seem to mind us. Quite the contrary, they would wave to us, smiling. A certain gentleman actually offered us tea, when we accidentally rode on to his front yard, after a wrong turn. There were some mischievous kids throwing rocks at us in the smaller villages, but with body armour it’s not really an issue. I guess kids are the same all over the world.

After the nice stretch of dirt tracks we were back on tarmac. It was fast going and we arrived at the village of Taddart Izdar, where we had lunch. I was happy not to see a tajine on the table but instead delicious kefta. 
The mechanics from our support car refueled our bikes before we took back to the road. 

We had another long stretch of tarmac to ride. We crossed the High Atlas and were greeted with sweeping views to the south. 
The tarmac was on the verge of getting annoying before we turned off to dirt again. We had known this would happen, as we had a lot of terrain to cover in the fist day to make it through our traverse of Southern Morocco. There were dirt tracks over the High Atlas, but it would have taken us too long to take that route. It’s funny how quickly the memory of monotonous tarmac evaporates from the mind, when you get back on dirt in the end.
We rode through a beautiful valley and crossed the final stretch of desert, before arriving in our destination, Ouarzazate.  

Continue to Day 3.