Thursday, 28 April 2016

Day 52 and 53

We dragged ourselves away from Moulais Bousselham and down to El Qualidia another old fishing village very successfully pulling itself into the current century whilst coping with an existing infrastructure.
As always we cycle around to explore and meet people.  I find Moroccans have an uneasy relationship with the camera.  Some like this guy are happy to give you a smile and let you record the moment.
Some like this guy want paying
So you often end up with more long range efforts
Back to Oualidia the beaches are beautiful with fantastic large grained sand.
And wonderful waves.
The locals are always trying to sell oysters so we cycled over to the lagoon to check out where they are grown
It was beautiful
Everywhere you look people are hard at work in the fields but it's funny scarecrows look the same the world over.
Whilst here we met four delightful Motorhomers from the Netherlands who tried to fix my broken sat nav.  They also told me about a cookery course they attended in Marrakech.  Just an update Margot, Gerard, Cor en Wil  we are on the cookery course next Tuesday and I hope to get to an Internet Cafe tomorrow as Garmin have found my login.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Day 50 yes that's 50 Days πŸ˜€ and 51

Some thoughts on the first 50 days.  It has not surprisingly been amazing, those of you who know me know that the fact we are here at all is due to a set of circumstances that I didn't see coming six years ago.  The road to this point has not been easy and I will forever be indebted to those who have supported me through, they all know who they are, and you helped make this possible.  Calais Port on a cold and windy 7th of March seems a lifetime away as I sit under the shade of a tree in 27degree Morocco.  The experiences since skiing, walking, cycling, bridges, beaches, mountains, valleys countries, regions, wildlife, markets, restaurants and most importantly people have taught me that independent travel is a gift to be cherished.  A lifetime of pre packaged insulated "holidays" would struggle to match the first 50......guess what, we have 50 more left πŸ˜€
I have managed to get into the Moroccan breakfast and we are enjoying our time at Mouley Bouselem the campsite is spread out amongst the trees and as it is not too busy everyone gets their own small field.  We walk up to town in the evenings where the sunsets are spectacular 
And very African
When cycling about you need to be aware of the traffic on four wheels and four legs.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Day 49

Well where are we? We are in Asillah and on one side of the truck is the sea on the other is the old town.
And on the other the harbour
So we decided to explore both.  The old town is a sunny rabbit warren of blue and white houses surrounded by the most amazing stone walls.  
Now and then you get a glimpse into the bright cool interiors.
The delivery men use the most efficient and sustainable form of transport.
No "tourist pony rides" this guy was hauling building materials. Some of the houses are built into the walls.
Every so often the wall breaks into a lookout point.
We found the local bread shop that was like a step back in time, red hot, wood fired and turbo charged with a delicious smoke infused bread aroma.
I bought my first Moroccan "hub cap" for 2 Dirham.
It tasted even better than it looks!  
The harbour was another experience with lots to see.
Wherever you look
We then came across this noisy gathering
So I went to see what was happening, they were hauling the catch onto the wall.
And gutting it on the spot
I like Morocco, every fifteen minutes I find myself saying to Lynn "you don't see that at home" roll on to Mouley Bousselham so we did.
Where we found a nice shady spot under a tree.
With a few friends for company

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Day 48 Morocco here we come.

Early start for the port and we joined the line of 4x4 vehicles and overloaded cars.
To get onto the ferry.
Pleasant trip over but as you can see from the file of papers the "entry" system starts with police registration on the boat.
We then joined the very long queue for customs.
We eventually made it to the front to see all of the vehicles being searched which prompted the conversation of who was most worried, Lynn about her beer or me about my wine.....neither of which we should haveπŸ˜€πŸ·πŸ·πŸΊπŸ»
The actual formality was tense but only lasted 15 mins of the two and a half hour total. We reached the front and I got down from the cab and stood in front of the truck one customs man comes to say something I don't understand I look baffled and he says "parley France" I say "un peu" and the rest of the dealings are in French.  He takes the passport and vehicle import D66 document and disappears into an office for a few minutes then comes out to pronounce No, No Carte Gris! I look flummoxed and he points to a little cabin 35 meters back down the queue and gives me my passport.  I go to the cabin and it's empty, I walk to two similar cabins before I find one occupied by an unsmiling 12 year old in a police uniform "he is obviously in training for the front line".   I ask for Carte Gris and offer my passport whereupon he types all my details into his computer and hands back my passport sans Carte Gris!  I go back to stand in front of my truck and my customs man comes out with his mate and starts pointing at a different vehicle document and asking me if I am Spanish. I said no and could see a Spanish registration on his bit of paper.  I say I am English and point to my reg plate.  He asks louder am I Spanish and is "this" pointing at his bit of paper my vehicle.  I say no and point to my reg plate. They both throw up their hands and head back into the office.  Lots of walking in and out of the office and searching vehicles in front of me later he comes out with my vehicle document and asks if this is me. I say yes, he asks me if I have any guns in the truck, I say no and he gives me my papers and waves me through!!!
My first proper border, no search, no English and definitely no GUNS!
Morocco is quite a surprise green landscape and lots of space....not a sand dune in sight.
We knock down the motorway to Asillah our first stop, as soon as you leave the motorway you know this is a new country.  The roads are full of people, donkeys, handcarts and parked cars.  We head down to the port as advised by Bob "the Scottish Morocco guru I met in Mijas" and find the motorhome parking where we are waved in by a Bob Marley lookalike in a yellow vest.  Lesson one here.....block the entrance to the parking and wait for him to come and negotiate the price as you are at a disadvantage once you are parked up and you find out later you have been charged more than othersπŸ˜€πŸ˜ πŸ˜€
Nevertheless we have a good spot right on the beach next to the old town wall.
With a great view from the window
We went for a walk around and to find the Maroc Telephone shop...we did and it's closed til Monday.
The town is great, a bit intimidating at first with lots of strange faces and young men sat around watching everything.
Further in there are little shops in doorways
And some lovely people, this woman was trying to lend me her hot bread for the photo, a great idea only let down by my reticence.
More campers turned up later and we eventually got to sleep to the sound of the waves...againπŸ˜€

Friday, 22 April 2016

Day 47

We have been waiting and waiting for the illusive insurance for Morocco that was sent to our house in England last week.  It still hadn't arrived last night so I badgered the Caravan Club to send me a copy scan.  We went into town to get it printed then after Lynn had "an hour" on the beach we headed to Carlos in Algiciras to buy the tickets
Looks like we will get to Africa despite bureaucratic reluctance.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Day 46

We decided to walk to the top of the rock today, an achievement for me as when we visited with Ken and Joan three years ago I had all on to get to the bottom of the cable car.
The day dawned bright and clear and it is a pleasant walk through customs to the start half way up Main St at Bell Lane.
Then the climb starts, first on steps then onto Tarmac.
The views are spectacular and a cruise ship was just heading out.
The top was as usual bedlam with Spanish kids chasing these guys about.
There is a different way down and lots of interesting things to see denoting the rocks troubled history.
So what better to do after all that but a pint of John Smiths in an English pub.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Day 45

We arrived in Gibraltar today, no mistaking this view.
We got the bikes off packed our passports and headed for the rock.  We are parked at the football club where the parking charges fund their youth team.  It's a fantastic spot sandwiched between the rock and the sea.
We cycled about half a mile along the coast.
Once through passport control we cycled across the runway, stopping for the obligatory pic.
Not been on a runway before.
I like the price of diesel in Gibraltar.
But it's even better in Morocco so I will top up there, can't believe I haven't organised it better as I have three quarters of a tank at the moment.
We locked up the bikes then walked up and down the Main Street listening to English and looking at prices in pounds seems strange!  We then walked around the harbour.
And found a lovely little bistro for a late lunch funny how meal times can move when you have no commitments.
We explored a little more then had a trip into Morrisons, Stilton Cheese, Robinsons Marmalade, Hellmans Mayonnaise and HP Sauce amongst other essentials made for two full bags.
We had an interesting time returning to the truck as we had to wait at the frontier for three aeroplanes to take off.
The queue backs up looking toward the runway.
And back to Gibraltar.
When the aeroplanes had flown.
Absolute bedlam ensues as everyone piles over the border in both directions.
We cycled in the motorcycle/bicycle lane but both baled out on this corner as the motorbikes started knocking the bollards about.
Once settled back at the truck we paused to admire the view through our door.