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We’re Heading to Morocco

December 18, 2017

A week on the road already. We’re getting used to Eugene and everything so far is going well.  We still can’t believe that we’re actually doing this, it still doesn’t seem real.  Christmas is just around the corner and we still haven’t got any Christmas cheer, those that know me well know that I’m a bit of a bah humbug when it comes to Christmas so we’re not missing out on anything.

Friday 15th December

We leave Seville by 9.30am and head further down south to Cadiz. We’ve been off grid for the past few days and need to find somewhere to empty the toilet and fill up with freshwater. We’ve also got a weeks washing that needs to be done before we hit Morocco.

We couldn’t find anywhere along the drive to empty the toilet without having to pay extortionate prices at the campsites so we drive further down and ended up in Tarifa. We find a camperstop for the night in a huge carpark, its 8 euros for the night which includes water and waste emptying but no electricity. We can manage with the electricity we have on board so decide to stay the night.

Tarfia is known as a destination for wind sports and the beach at Tarfia is awash with kite surfers there must be at least 50 in the water its blowing a hooley and the waves are massive the conditions look perfect for kite surfing, but it’s freezing.

We wrap up and take a walk into town, nothing’s open there’s a surprise it’s 4pm siesta time. We wonder down to the old town. Tarifa is a small fishing village with a harbour with boats sailing to and from Africa. The old town has beautiful narrow cobbled streets with the houses painted white and decorated with beautiful wrought-iron rejas the stall holders are setting up for a market to start later this evening. We decide to go back to Eugene get the washing done so we can walk back to the old town later tonight.

We find the laundry right next to where we’re parked and make our way back to Eugene.  As we approach the carpark there are 3 police cars with about 8 police man with guns, they’ve pulled over a huge bus and trailer that’s possibly just come from Port.  A couple of the policemen are looking under the bus they’re all shouting then out pops a lad of about 18-19 years old who must have been hiding under the bus, they search the rest of the bus and the trailer but don’t find anyone else, we can only assume an illegal immigrant trying his luck getting into the country.   We get the washing and before it’s finished the heavens open, its torrential, the wind whips up and it continues non-stop until the early hours.  We end up staying in and watching an episode of Dexter, the rain is so heavy we have to put the volume on the highest setting.

Saturday we set off at 11.30am and head to Algercias where we are catching the ferry to Tangier Med, its less than an hour away. Keith is still having a battle with the Snooper (satnav) not sure what’s he’s doing wrong but if we don’t sort it soon we will be back to the old fashioned map or worse he’ll give up and we’ll be on our way home. We’ve got the TomTom as a backup and give that a go which seems to be working better.

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The view of Gibraltar as we head towards Algercias

We eventually find were we need to be, in the middle of a commercial shopping area. We park up for the night in a carpark which has other campers already here. We find the famous ‘Carlos’ and purchase our ticket for Morocco leaving at 7am tomorrow morning. Carlos is famous in the world of motorhoming if you want to get to Morocco he’s your man. He sorts everything out within 5 mins and provides us with the information we need, importation documents and the directions we need to get on the boat, as we leave he gives us a complimentary bottle of red wine and a cake! The ticket cost 200 euros for Eugene and two people, it’s a 10 mile stretch of water, if you thought Condor was expensive, think again lol.

We treat ourselves to a meal out at McDonald’s so we can use the WiFi, we set our alarms for 5.30am and settle down for a noisy and long night. We are really excited to be going to Morocco, we’ve not been before and can’t wait to see what this mysterious country has to offer.

I’m awake most of the night and we’re straight out of bed when the alam goes. A quick cup of tea and a lick with the flannel and we’re off to the harbour. We arrive well before 7am for the 8am sailing. There is only one gate open for our ship and the progress is slow. 8.45am we get on board with loads of others still waiting behind us. We’re directed down to a small deck and it’s absolute chaos the deck hands arguing with each other all trying to direct vehicles to park all at the same time, there are large motor-homes doing 10 point turns to get into the correct position with the deck hands gesturing to hurry up. We’re waiting patiently when the deck hand tells us “finite” turn off the engine we’re parked, really, anyway we do as he says and make our way upstairs.

The engines finally start at 9.15am we’re on our way. Passport control is carried out on board the ship, one officer dealing with everyone, we reluctantly join the 40 minute queue. We wanted to be up on the top deck taking in the views of Gibraltar as we pass through the Strait, but only see the last 10 minutes or so as we arrive intoTangier Med. We finally dock about 11.15am and are kept waiting in the hold for another 30 minutes, those whose vehicles haven’t been wedged in impatiently start hooting and start their engines to try and manoeuvre their vehicles to get the best leaving point, the doors haven’t even opened yet, there is no order, again chaos. Passengers and crew light up their cigarettes whilst they wait for things to get moving.

We finally leave the ship and make our way to the customs, 1st one only wants the passports, the 2nd wants the registration book, passport of the driver and our import documents. For whatever reason they send Keith back the way we came to speak with the police, he doesn’t want him so sends him back up to where I’m waiting for him in van. The 2nd guy comes back out and questions our language and nationality “no we don’t speak French and no we’re not from London” our passport and registration seems to confuse them. Where are you from, as it normal coming from Guernsey we try to show them that we are in the middle of the sea between England and France, finally it’s all okay we can go. We drive 10 feet and are stopped by the 3rd officer, again ‘where you from, etc’ he’s just seen us talking with his mate, after a few minutes he lets us carry on to be stopped by the 4th less than 30 meters away, he questions the same before confirming everything is fine, “have a good stay in Morocco”.”

The Snooper doesn’t have Morocco so we use the TomTom. We leave the highway on a side road to be confronted by a street with donkeys, cows, motorbikes, cars and pedestrians all heading in different directions, cars are stopped in the road, others carrying out three point turns, we squeeze our way past with what feels like the eyes of Morocco watching us as we make our way further up the road. The speed signs say 60km, the first 5km is not too bad but we can only manage 20km almost of the way, then the sides of the tarmac road start to disappear, pot holes appear massive potholes, huge craves and parts of the road missing or have rubble from the earth banks piled high on the roadside limiting the road surface. We have to snake our way around all the hurdles and at one point we thought we would have to turn back, every bump had me clenching my bum, closing my eyes, I was terrified we were going to rip the bottom of the van open and cause some serious damage. We stop to check that we are going the right way then we realise we had forgotten to change the TomTom from ‘no toll roads’ to ‘use toll roads, we’ve gone too far now to turn back and there isn’t anywhere to turn around. We’ve been doing less than 20mph there’s about another 15km to go there’s nothing we can do we have to carry on. Finally the toll road appears and we get on hallelujah!!

As we wait in line to collect our ticket to get on the toll road we see loads of young men hanging round at the side of the road.  We are behind a bus with a trailer, as the bus waits to collect the ticket one of the men jumps on the trailer and holds on as it sets off down the road, we have a giggle when the bus goes round the roundabout and heads back the way it’s just come, the man jumps off again obviously not the way he wants to go.

We get to our destination in Asilah and find a campsite, it’s 80dhm a night with electricity (about £6.40) it has toilets and a shower. We get the chairs out, a beer, relax, we made it!

We take a walk into town, we need to get some data for the Mifi.  We pass the telephone shop on the way, its Sunday so its closed.  We carry on to the old part of the town.  We don’t get any hassle from anyone to buy from them or eat in their restaurant which we had expected to have so feel comfortable enough to carry on walking.

I have the camera ready I want to take photos of everything we see, and there is a lot.  I really want to take photos of the people but just don’t have the courage to do so just yet, the way the people are dressed is interesting, men wearing the traditional djeleba hooded cloaks (they look Santa or obe woan kanobi depending on the colour of the coat) women wearing brightly coloured coats and headscarfs, the donkey and carts loaded with produce or people, horse and carts elaborately decorated, motorbikes with trailer attached full of people used as taxis its amazing.  We walk further and the stalls change to what I would describe as a street jumble sale, loads of people laying out secondhand clothes and trying their best to sell them.  We’re not ready to stay after dark so head back to the campsite or the rest of the night.

We have a good nights sleep and decide in the morning that we’ll stay another day.  Asilah has been a gentle introduction to Morocco, so far so good.

Monday 18th December

We walk back into town and get the data sorted for the Mifi with very little problem despite our limited french and the salesman lack of English, we get 4g for 59dhm which will last 10 days (£4.66) bargin.  We take a walk to the medina which is everything you’d expect, white washed alleyways, tiled walls, bright doorways, murals painted on every corner, tiny shops selling carpets, glassware, jewellery, shoes and anything else you can think of, its a beautiful maze of full of everything.

We’ve had a good couple of days, tomorrow we’ll head further south but still don’t really have a plan, do we go to Marrakesh over the next week or is that too big of a introduction for us.  We’ll head for Moulay Bousselham and see from there.

Thanks for taking the time with all your comments on Facebook and messages on the website we really do appreciate it.

a la perchoine xxxx

 

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  • Ali Benn December 18, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    See – there is life outside of Guernsey, eh? Pleased you are enjoying it as I am enjoying reading about your journey. How are you coping with the food?

    • Shirena December 18, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Ali, no problem with the food, we’re not eating out cooking ourselves. We stocked up on what we needed before we left Spain lol. Glad you enjoy the read, I enjoy writing them and it’s quite addictive lol. Hope all is well xxx

  • Jodie December 19, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Sounds like an action packed couple of days. Enjoying reading along. X x

  • Tina December 19, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Sounds interesting so far, its wonderful to see different cultures. Have you seen the tree climbing goats yet?
    Keith is doing amazing with the driving, i would have been 💩 ing myself.
    Enjoy your travels & keep blogging 👍x

    • Shirena December 19, 2017 at 9:43 am

      It’s fantastic here. We were shitting ourselves lol. But we have discovered a huge leak in the waste water tank, the plate is all bent, it’s had a big knock, luckily it’s only the waste water. Keith is trying to do a patch up job lol. No goats yet that will be when we get further inland. Come and join us lol

  • Susan Wallis December 23, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Hi – just found your blog; recommended by someone on a camping site. We’re hoping to cross over on the 11th of January, so staying in Algeciras the 10th. Would you mind telling me exactly where you stayed the night before your crossing?
    We travelled in Morocco for 3 months in 84/85, but I’m expecting a LOT of changes
    Thanks,
    Susan

    • Shirena December 24, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Susan. Thanks for popping in. We stayed in the carpark behind La Carrefour and Lidl. It’s in a shopping commercial business site, the carpark is free, no facilities. Polgono Industrial Palmonos, Los Borrios, 11379. The famous ‘Carlos is across the way where we purchased our ferry ticket, there were about 20 vans when pulled up there. If you put in Viajes Normandie into google maps the area is shown.