2016 trip Skiing to Morocco

Day 1 Monday 7th March 2016

You can find all of this information in the Blog section but this makes it easier to read.
 Well after a good few days visiting the children in various parts of the country we made it down to Dover for the ferry.

After a swift check in we only waited for 20 mins then loaded the ferry.  The truck "Ourworldtraveller" was about to make it abroad.

Can't beat a drop of Champagne in the club lounge when you want to travel in style.

Not much to say about Calais, Lynn wanted a bit of retail therapy in City Europe and I had to visit Mr Bricolage as I had completely forgotten to fit any mirrors....some of us don't need them, what that says about me I am not sure.  We then got the new Bromptons out and went for a spin around to keep the legs going

Day 2

..Well a few bits and pieces to do in Calais then we hit the road at about 12.... Holiday time kicking in πŸ˜€
Bumbled our way down to Luxembourg to fill up with cheap fuel and then set off to find the Aire but we couldn't as it is now closed.  Tried to key in the co ordinates for a nearby spot but my new garmin doesn't like the format from the book, is there more than one format? And can I change my garmin to read them?
We set out to find somewhere else which ended up being a forest track this got interesting in the dark when the sat nav said "continue off road".
I pulled up in a clearing and we had a lovely night listening to owls and other wildlife.

Day 3

Continued on our way down to Gerardmer in the Hautes Vosages a beautiful little spot where we used to call in on trips to the Alps with the kids.  That said we think it's now 21 years since we were last here.  We have had intermittent snowfall and passed fields of snow on the way down but pulling off the motorway onto the road up to the Vosages the snow piled up.
The trees were beautiful dropping a shower of white icing onto the road as we pass. Settled in on the Aire in town which is very good and has water outlets heated against the cold for 2€.

We walked down to the lake and had an afternoon reminiscing about previous trips and incidents with the kids.
Great place here and looking forward to my first ski in six years tomorrow, hope I haven't forgotten how  and hope the knees are up to it.

Day 4

Well after a very quiet night on the Aire we headed up to the largest of the ski areas at La Mauselaine.  It has 40 km of pist and an impressive 168 snow cannon for reliable skiing most of the season.  We have the benefit of plenty fresh natural snow this week and with a forecast of sunshine it should be good.  It was a very steep pull but only a few miles out of town.  Very pleased with the performance of the truck on the roads and up the hill this morning it pulls like a train.  Motorhomes are welcome on the car park for up to 14 days at 5€ per night good value as I think this is like millionaire skiing
That slope is one of the Reds that comes back down to the lift and it's the proximity of a fresh pot of tea that makes it millionaire style.
The slopes turned out to be quiet, wide and well pisted with lots of variety and at only 19€ per day midweek rate, very good value.
Even an old duffer like me can enjoy this
The truck is well set up to stay the night and with clear sky's at this altitude it should be cold, my French neighbour reckons -10.  I say French I have not seen a British number plate or heard an English voice since we arrived.  Our French cousins like to keep this place very quiet

Day 5 skiing like Bode Miller

Not a lot to add today we had another great days skiing up at the slopes, the weather was fantastic and the slopes better.
We are now back at the Aire in the town as the slopes will be very busy this weekend.....perhaps it's time for a walk.
Don't you just love that helmet.

Day 6

Well one of us is finding the holiday clock better than the other......after a good breakfast we set off at about 11 to do the complete circuit of the lake.
It's a good walk that wasn't possible last time we were here it's about 6.5 k all on paths with some narrow sections and one flyover section obviously negotiated with private landowners.
The fishermen were out in force
This one actually caught a beautiful brown trout as we were passing.
The walk was very pleasant if a little rough underfoot but gave great views of the town and ski resort.
There are lots of these crosses all around the lake but as yet I haven't found out what they signify.
The weather is cold but dry and sunny and the forecast is for more of the same.  I never cease to be amazed at the size of some of the Motorhomes over here but this beauty that pulled in last night takes the biscuit......it's got a smart car in the boot.

We headed back for a late lunch then gave the bikes on the back their first outing twice round the lake on the cycle track.....excellent.
We returned to a full Aire 
They are not to everyone's taste but provide a safe clean legal place to stop with all of the relevant facilities for only 5€ per night, (Brian you can even lose our trucks in here, bet you can hardly spot mine) the best bit is they are nearly always close to the town and the restaurants.....it's Saturday night and I have spotted a nice little Italian πŸ˜€
After a lovely spag bol washed down with a small glass or two 🍷🍷 of a tasty red I toddled back to bed......happy dayzzz


Well the bell ringers were either in competition or on steroids this morning but either way they got me out of bed.  I think they ring them to start the race to the boulangerie as the first one I went to had run out of croissants.......Sunday morning no croissants, what is happening to France!  Fortunately the one round the corner had some left.
We had decided on a good walk today and the guide suggested the waterfall at
The guide said 2.5 hours......I can believe them just, in summer with a following wind.
We set off to the start point for everything in Gerardmer the quay by the lake.  Once out of town the path got snowier and lots steeper.  To be fair it was very well marked with little red circles on almost every tree
I didn't much like the passages dangereux on this one.
Lots of trees and lots of snow.
Getting steeper and narrower the higher you go best describes it.
Someone has worked hard up here as the bridges over the stream are all in good condition.
The waterfall at the top was a bit of a disappointment to be honest and the ice around it prevented me getting a photo to do even its mediocre splendour justice
We are going to drive back up to the ski area later this afternoon and spend the night up there (despite the forecast of snow) to gain a march on to the slopes tomorrow.

Day 8 skiing like Franz Clammer eating like Gordon Ramsey

Well another very good days skiing today, great conditions and some decent sunshine
We managed to ski to the other side of the mountain today, it has an older resort feel with more rope and button lifts but the skiing is still good and varies between
Wide open pistes 
and this beautiful run through the Forest dressed as an art gallery with photos of wildlife from all over the world.
We stopped for coffee 
Yes that is what they call a white coffee, and also for lunch
I had a burger "local vogesion style" the burger made with VERY course ground local beef is served with local ham and cheese melted on top squeezed between two grated onion and grated potato hash brown type patties instead of a bun.  Gordon Ramsay eat your heart out.
After putting all the gear away I decided to put a few miles under the wheels so we set off in the vague direction of the Alps.

Day 9

Well yesterday evening we stopped for bread before the shops shut and found ourselves in Vesoul, I consulted the Aires book to find a free 5 van stop near a lake only 1.8 miles away.
What a find, we got up had breakfast and then decided to get the Bromptons out for a ride around the lake
I was expecting a pond but in fact it was a 3 mile perimeter wildlife haven
We found this fellow
But as soon as I got the camera out he made off pretty quick
These guys were on an island just off shore
And there were lots of these tables crammed with these guys
Every 40 or 50 yards you would catch one of these guys diving and sometimes coming up with fish
I know my mate Steve will come along and enlighten me as to who all these guys are, all I can say is they made my morning.
In the afternoon we decided to check out Vesoul and the monument that sits on the hill overlooking it.  The town itself, although dominated by a huge Citroen Peugeot car factory turned out to be typically French chic with lots of beautiful public spaces and ancient buildings mixed with thriving small shops....no Mc Ds here
We found the route up to the monument
The 700 meters turned into a steady 1 in 3 which was quite a pull, I was thankful we hadn't brought the big bikes.
The top had a castle on it from the 9th Century but in 1854 they built the current monument and viewing area....sorry about the following "we were here shots" but this blog is primarily to keep the kids up to date with what we are up to. (Hope you are reading Emma πŸ˜€)
The monument itself is beautiful.
not much improved by having me sat in front
The viewing platform however was fantastic with its wrap around key listing every European capital and the whole view
Did spot this little guy living under the monument
Few more miles going under the wheels tonight ..... I wonder where we will get to?

Day 10

Well we got to a beautiful little camping spot just outside the village of Mesnay at N46,89834 E5,80036. After a little walk around in a snow shower I decided to push on to find a Lidl to stock up on food, water and other essentials 🍷🍷 before heading back to the mountains.  After driving through some spectacular scenery we found one at Morez.
Supplied and fed we headed on to Les Rousses which is a beautiful alpine town to pick up info from the tourist information then on up to the ski area at Massif Des Tuffes 1420 meters.
This looks a great place to stay and is seriously close to the ski lift
The area has 50 km of piste and the option to ski over into Switzerland.
The sun came out after lunch so we decided to go for a walk along the "Ski Fond" cross country ski tracks
Don't know if you can make it out in the background but there were a group using ski wheelchairs today and it looked great fun
The area continued to open out away from the ski lift
With a fantastic view around every corner
We even managed to stop a skier to take a photo of us
Lynn sunk in the snow 
Assaulted a snowman and then returned to OWT for a typical camper van tea
Had to put these on as I know the kids will be worrying that I am not eating properly whilst I am away πŸ˜€πŸ·πŸ·
What a place to spend the night
Can't wait to ski again tomorrow.

Day 11 Skiing like Graham Bell

Well I am pretty sure that last night was the coldest yet, I get a little condensation where I haven't had time to trim the inside of the door.  This morning it was ice not condensation and I am pretty sure it was that cold the fridge stopped working.  On the up side this was the sunny scene that greeted me today
I must admit I have had worse views through the window whilst eating breakfast.
The skiing today was very good under a bright blue sunlit sky.  The runs are very well groomed and again vary between wide open piste
To some lovely runs through the trees
There are also some great if distant views of our next destination.....The French Alps
I think another days skiing here will be the order of the day tomorrow

Day 12

Well another great days skiing at  Port du Blancier and I am not going to make you more jealous with pictures of the pristine snow and fabulous piste.  After skiing we decided to head for Annecy, can I say the route down from the Haut Jura is interesting.
This pic gives an idea of the snow piled on each side of the road and the blue sign indicates that you can't pass without snow chains......you don't get that in bolton.  What the pic doesn't show is the relentless steepness of the decent with constant switchbacks against massive quarry type wagons rumbling up in the other direction.  About 2/3 the way down I got a whiff of hot breaks so pulled off to find the front wheels very hot.
Not a bad view of Mont Blanc from my stopping place though.
I descended the rest of the way using mainly engine breaking and the breaks were cool at the bottom "lesson learned"😜
We trundled on around Lake Geneva and pulled up in a layby perched on the side of Mount Saleve recommended by Julie and Jason of www.ourtour.co.uk fame.  This is quite a spot and gives fantastic views down the Chamonix Valley and Mont Blanc....it's getting closerπŸ˜€
And also Annecy by night from OWTs door
Can't wait to see the view in the clear of the morning but for now I have a date with a glass of red and a Charolais ribeye 🍽🍷🍷

Day 13 lucky start look at the view!

Is this the best layby / stopover in France ?  It's where we spent the night last night.
It's at N46.073282 E6.12595 if your interested, well after great night and a leisurely breakfast admiring the beautiful view we set off for the 18 mile drive into Annecy.  Dropped straight into a great spot on the Aire which is very well situated next to the lake on the bike track 1/4 mile from the old town.
We got the bikes off and set off for a good bike ride first into town

Then up the lake and down memory lane, we were last here nearly 26 years ago with our eldest two children.  It was our first trip in our first camper van.....an adventure from start to finish.
This bit is for Emma and Paul
We found the campsite that we eventually got to as this was the summer the truckers closed France...but not to us
It is looking a little run down now, not pristine and new like I remember it
It still has the old train at the junction with the bike track the one where Paul learned to ride a bike, no running up and down the avenue for that lad.
We found our pizza restaurant .... the one where mum got drunkπŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ·πŸ·πŸ·
And the one that has crazy golf next door that mum just couldn't do when she was drunk
We then went on to find the restaurant at the yacht club.....the one we ended up in when we couldn't find anywhere else open (the others were shut due to lack of food because of the truckers)
This is the one where the only thing on the menu we thought we would get you to eat was rabbit "we told you it was chicken" the menu still has some strange items look at the second bottom item on the meats.
Look at the price.....would you pay £24 for veal's head.....the rabbit nearly broke us.
We found the tunnel where you used to cock-a-doodle-do all the way through
Mum cried when we got to the far end.  We found the rocks where I used to take you climbing and of course the old man had to prove he has still got it!!
Dad cried when he couldn't get down πŸ˜€πŸ˜‚
We remember it all like it was yesterday .... I wonder what you remember?

Day 14

Well this morning being Sunday I was again woken by the bells.....I know how Quasimodo felt😠 so I began the race for croissants.  No problems this morning and I even got Lynn an almond pastry twist.  After breakfast we decided to head for the old town to find the Sunday market.
The old town is beautiful and based on a network of canals with colonnaded streets running alongside.
It was mainly built from 1535 when a Protestant Reformation in Geneva resulted in all the Bishops being kicked out and they were given refuge here.  They obviously brought a lot of cash with them as the building program was massive, you never see a thin Bishop though do you! πŸ˜€πŸ˜€
The market was typically French, packed with food, people and delicious aromas.  I think this must be the best boucherie as the queue stretched around the block.
This woman was selling beautiful olives but looked like she had eaten a sour one
We decided on poulet roti
And a nice red🍷🍷🍷
Oh yes with a little bit of salad and tiny loaf of bread
I do like a French Sunday lunch!
Well after a suitable digestif pause we again got the bikes out and set off anti clockwise around the lake.
The lake has a different feel at this end starting in the town then becoming very residential but still with public access to the lake shore.
The bike track is fantastic all the way around it is two lanes wide and even has regular zebra crossings for people to cross
Where there is a lack of land to have a path and bike track they have built out over the lake.
The French do like to get out and promenade on a Sunday afternoon 
Reminds me of "WALKING DOWN THE MANNY ROAD" sorry you have to be a Wanderers fan to get it, don't you Paul.
In the evening they light up fountains on the lake which look spectacular.
It's just a pity that my photo skills are not up to the job.

Day 15

Well it was supposed to be an early start today to get back up into the Alps to ski.  I started to prepare the truck for off and we got talking to a group of lads from Belgium who have been skiing the whole season, since the beginning of November in a super little black camper and a purple Nissan car.  We invited them into the truck for coffee and chatted about life, skiing and camping for a couple of hours.
We then headed around Annecy and up the valley towards La Cluzas we needed some supplies and found an Inter-marche.
You don't get a view like that at our Asda
Since setting out we have had very few problems with the truck but the cooker ignition had given up the ghost, I bought some matches from the Inter-marche to solve the problem then a few miles up the road spotted this electrical shop
I removed the offending switch and headed in looking for a new one, the two guys didn't speak a word of English and didn't have a replacement. They did however take the switch upstairs and returned after five minutes and pronounced in stereo "repair".  I thanked them and they refused to take any money, I returned to the truck, re fitted the switch and it now works perfectly.  How they managed it I don't know as it is a sealed unit.....magic electricians reside in this valley!!
I pressed on up the valley and the road got interesting
When I ended up at the top of the closed Aravis pass it was spectacular
I even got my tyres dirty
We had coffee....the best thing to do after an eyeballs out drive, then decided to go for a walk up the path.
The path soon ran out
But the sun started to shine.....you will see in this blog that my never ending supply of Wanderers shirts
Will get everywhere
Back to today, we were passed by a horse and sled, they didn't stop to give us a lift.
But made it to the top of the first hill
Both of us
This valley is renowned for ski mountaineering and right on cue three guys passed us.
Back at the bottom there was a small frommagerie making and selling fresh goats cheese.
So fresh you could smell the goats.....I got one with lime and herbs.
Well fish for tea then I can't wait to ski again tomorrow.
The truck has made it well above the snow line without a problem but how anyone got that fiesta up here I just don't know.

Day 16 The last day skiing πŸ˜’

Well what can I say, another day and another ski resort.  This one is Managod just a little up the valley from La Clusas and recommended by Carl and Pat who we met in Les Rousses.
As you can see the truck is again only 300m from the ski lift.  The skiing is bigger here in all respects longer, wider and steeper runs but more people and lots more huge mosquitos "SNOWBOARDERS" sorry but when they are good they are fantastic when they are learning they are a liability. They do a great 4 hour ticket here which was just right for my old legs.
Once down, stored and secured for sea we made a break from the Alps and headed for the Lyon rush hour then into the Haute Loire region.  We parked up for the night at the side of the Loire in a village called Coubon

Day 17 Making for Millau

Woke up to the sound of the river running by the truck and the sight of some beautiful little birds whirling and diving so fast I couldn't photograph them.
Isn't the mighty Loire tiny up here.
After a trip to the boulangerie for breakfast we had a little walk around Coubon which is a nice little village with a beautiful church the front of which was started in 1100 the pillars still exist.
And has been added to as the village has grown but always using the same local stone
We drove in the vague direction of Millau through stunning scenery until we got to Mende, which looked like a good place for lunch.
We parked up right at the side of the river and next to this superb bridge.
Then after lunch went into the town for a walk around.
I love these photos of places that still exist
Mende has of course got the obligatory over sized church
This one was very lofty inside
With a tiny ancient chapel that pre dates the lofty one underground.
I prefer the little one
Just to finish, some interesting doors
Then on to Millau.

Day 18 The Millau Viaduct

Well after a bit of a slow start we got out the Bromptons and went for an explore around Millau.  It's a great little place on the river Tarn and I believe before the viaduct it was a regular 5 hour traffic jam on the route south.  It has all of the usual features, shops, bars and oversize churches but I liked the rabbit warren streets in the old town
I also loved this house on a broken bridge
We then headed out of town towards the main attraction.
The road winds its way up the valley giving great views of the viaduct.
We ended up underneath P3 which is the tallest of the pylons
No wonder Lynn looks small its taller than the Eiffel Tower 
The scale of the whole thing is amazing and it has a real aesthetic beauty.
We then cycled across the river and began the huge climb up to P5 where the visitor centre is located.
The top section offered great views back into town
The visitor centre is fantastic giving all of the information about construction both on wall displays and a very good 10 minute video.  The centre was very quiet at our visit with only two others in......it was lunch time though.  Not much else to say other than I think they are trying to fund the build through the shop 10€ for a mug and 59€ for a thin fleece.
The ride back into town was a dream no pedalling on a smooth quiet road finishing with a quick scoot along the river.
Food a couple of errands then up the hill in the truck for the main event.....driving over it.
26€ paid, me behind the wheel, Lynn behind the camera.
Very impressive from all angles and something I have wanted to do for ages, especially after my mate Arthur came over on his motorbike and raved about it.

Southward bound.

Day 19 we hit the Med

Well the motorway from Millau hits the coast at Cap d Agde so that's where we landed on the med
Not quite Mediterranean weather yet but you can see the sea in the gap between the trees.
We decided to go for a walk to see the place and headed around the headland towards the harbour.
The beaches near where we are parked are very pleasant and offer the experienced mountaineer a really good work out.
Soon however the beaches and rocks give way to boats.
Boats and even more boats, but the sun did come out.
The place has a little bit of a "worn out" feel and suffers from that 1970s rapid expansion poor quality architecture and lack of structured planning feel.....a bit like Bolton town centre.  Having said that the shopkeepers were all working hard painting and stocking ready for the Easter weekend which will be the start of the season.

Day 20

We had the morning in Cap D Agde then drifted around the coast to the point where the roads to Andora and Spain meet.  We couldn't make our mind up which way to go so settled onto a little site for a short break.
Sun shining and Easter Sunday tomorrow I think we will settle here for a day or two....we have been busy enjoying ourselves, it can be hard workπŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ·πŸ·πŸ˜œ

Day 21

Decided to get the big bikes off for a jaunt around St Cyprien today
This was Lynn running off with my baguette on the pink cycle track, they were all this colour separate from the paths and running in all directions
We found the one that led to the beach, not many sun worshippers today......being Easter Sunday they may all be worshipping somewhere else.  
We had a good cycle around the harbour and then headed back to the truck to sort out Lynn's breaks and do a few other jobs
I made an upper level storage for the skis

Day 22 Viva Espana

I woke up this morning to the sound of a raging fire all around the truck!!
Turned out to be the farmer next door getting rid of some rubbish.
After packing filling and emptying the truck....."you need to know, to know" we headed off down the coast.
I found another stunning quiet place to stop for breakfast
Then this happened
A group of pristine VW and Porches turned up, they were all driving beautiful cars but were more interested in looking at and hearing about my truck.
When they had all gone I moved to a slightly better spot and we found out we were in the Sentier Marine Reserve and there was a way marked walk to be done.  We headed off walking towards the headland
But decided to call in at a small beach on the way
Where again I demonstrated my prowess at big face rock climbing
This was the climb back up to the path
The path then wound its way through the vineyards which run right down to the sea.
There was an interesting article on their history so rather than re type it I took a photo
Whilst regarding the dire warnings
All walked out we returned to the truck to find three young cyclists admiring the beast.  They had cycled all the way from Essen in just 3 weeks. We then followed them around the coast and into Spain.  It's amazing how you just cross a mark in the road and everything instantly changes signs, road behaviour and architecture.
We are now settled in for the night on a street just off La Ramblas in Barcelona.

Day 23 Barcelona, wish I could sing it like Freddy

Oh well up nice and early today for a day sightseeing in Barcelona. We spent the morning walking around and getting our bearings.
Then up for the main event, fish lunch in the best restaurant in the Boqueria highly recommended by Emma and Matt
First we had to get in.....it was rammed
Lynn decided to get a picture of me at the entrance
Who they are I have no idea!!
Emma insisted I should start by sampling the meat...so who am I to refuse when it comes to food 😜
The range of produce in here is only matched by the number of people 
After a short wait we managed to get a seat at Barcentral...they don't stock fish but get it direct from the fish market as you order.
We ordered a large plate of mixed seafood with a plate of mixed grilled veg and a bowl of bread.  Oh and a few local beers to wash it all down.
We were sat next to a very interesting American gentleman called Enricas (I hope I spell it correctly) who shared stories about his travels around the world.  So good food, good alcohol and great company and I was in heaven.
We then headed up to the Sagrada Familia which we also wanted to visit, unfortunately all of the tickets had been sold for today.... Something for my next trip to Barcelona.
I do have some comments on the place though, which may be made to look foolish when I get inside and find out more.  It's bloody weird!!! This may be an "emperors new clothes moment" I don't see the point of pineapples and grapes being painted in at the top of spires and the whole thing looks misshapen to me.  I can also see why it has taken so long to build when I saw two workmen carrying two bricks each climbing the same ladder one after another.
We finished off the day out by searching the old town for a tapas bar that is famous for being the place where I got Ken "my father in law" to eat octopus.  It would be rude to pass such an auspicious place by so we called in for a few beers and some Calamari Romana
This is the place the locals go to after work.....not an English voice spoken!
When we got back to the truck a French man and his wife came in for a chat.  They had travelled the world in their land cruiser camper for eight and a half years.  It was both great and inspiring to hear their stories about travelling in Africa, Asia and the Americas.  They are having a pause to spend some time with grandchildren then hope to be on the road again.  As he said "this is life"
Well as I write this I am just finishing the goats cheese with lime and herbs " remember that from day 15 and a nice little appellation controle Cahors......life is good and I bet that little cheese woman in the French Alps wouldn't believe I was eating her cheese in Barcelona

Day 24

Well I was up with the lark this morning washed and showered then down to the laundrette I spotted yesterday with the bedding and the washing.  I found a cracking little bread shop down one of the back streets that did a baguette and three croissants for €2....winner
We left Barcelona and headed down the coast finding a great stop for lunch at Les Botigues de Mar, no I had never heard of it either!
The sea was only about 50 meters away so after lunch we went for a walk along the beach.
When we got back it looked so interesting in the other direction
I got the Bromptons out and we cycled into town, it was a quiet little place with some great rocky coast at the far end
Later we moved on to our stopping place for tonight at the camper stop at Amposta
We had a great view of the sea and the mountains through the window

Day 25

The mountains were beautiful yesterday evening as the sun went down.
This morning we woke up to find ourselves in the Encanyissada wildlife reserve.  It's an area that reminds me very much of the Fylde coast in NW England but instead of lettuce here they grow rice.
Anyhow the process favours the birds who are everywhere.
We got the big bikes off and went for a "big for us" bike ride of about 10 miles
The tracks were great and the company was better
We went up in this bird hide.....not much hiding to be done but we got a good view
Of these two
And him
The fields are being worked very hard at the moment, I was told that in a week or two they will be flooded.
There are drainage sluices all over the place to achieve the flooding but every so often you come across one of these
No need for an Aldi for oranges or lemons if you live here.
When we got back to the truck we decided it was a little early for lunch so moved down the coast to Pensicola.  What a great decision, we found an Aire about 50 meters from the beach
With a great looking castle at the end of it
We rode around the bay and climbed up to the castle but couldn't get in as the last ticket was 5.30, looks like that could be on the agenda tomorrow.  We did however get a chance to explore the old town and the fishing harbour.
No posh cruisers here this is a working harbour
But it still looks good

Day 26 .... On travelling with a Superstar

Well a bit of a slow day today with no photographs.
We did a bit of shopping sorting out then chilled out before heading to the Aire at Valencia port.
Now the Superstar bit.....not me.....not Lynn but the truck.
We get looked at, thumbs up all the time, cars slow down on the motorway and their occupants hang out of the Windows to wave, all looking at the truck.  Wherever I stop people come up to ask where it was built, where it has been and where we are going.  It's the main attraction and it's doing us well

Day 27 Valencia food and wine festπŸ˜€πŸ·

Well we set off on the fantastic bike track into Valencia.
The scenery was a mix of fantastic beaches, port side landscapes and finally the city itself.  They put a serious investment into the cycle tracks typified by this pair of bridges.
One for the cars and the other just for bikes.
Spotted this German guy in a small coach that he had converted into a camper.....the coach was exactly the same age as me......we are both wearing well πŸ˜€
He has toured in it for since conversion and done over 100000km.
The city shows a great face as you ride in with some awesome buildings.
This one was the science museum and on the outside had this auditorium, Lynn and I stood at opposite ends (can you see her at the far end) and could speak to each other as if we stood side by side.  It cut out all of the extraneous noise and captured just our voice.....fantastic.
We made our way through the park, which runs through the centre of the city to the old town, to find the food market. This is a fantastic place every bit as good as the Boqueria but not as crowded.
All that food made me hungry so we found a great place outside for a meal.
A walk around the old town was then required to get three courses and a beer down.
When heading back we found an absolutely packed local food and wine festival.
You bought a ticket for €10 and this got you a wine glass, a bowl and eight sample tickets. Well when in Valencia.....
The idea was you wander around, talk to local producers about their produce and swap a ticket for a sample
Didn't take me long to get the hang of it πŸ˜€πŸ·πŸ·πŸ·πŸ·
Look at that for a Spanish sampleπŸ˜€
Emma and Matt where are you when I need you
Never mind I managed
To keep going
And going
And going
Oh mum had a go too
When in Spain who drinks beer?
I still had 12 miles to cycle home

I think they will invite me back next year.
The ride home was a bit of a blur, but we did spot some kite surfers out in force.

Now what's for tea πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜œπŸ·

Day 28

Day on the beach today so no photos just relaxing and catching the UV

Day 29 A brace of overland trucks

Well on our way to Calp this morning, after weeks of trying I found a tyre shop who could balance my front wheels.
The guys had all the right kit.
And were very professional
Now that should sort out my 60mph wobble.
We met up with Neil and Pat in Calpe.
After fighting off the usual group wanting to come and view the trucks we set off for a walk around.
We ended up in a great pizza restaurant for a meal.
It was great to see Neil and Pat again as they have been instrumental in the truck project from the very beginning....as always Cloud 9 is looking spectacular whilst managing everything proficiently.

Day 30

We spent the day with Neil and Pat looking around each other's trucks, eating, drinking, playing games and having a thoroughly good time......shame we had Lake District weather but it didn't dampen our spirits.  I have a lot to thank Neil and Pat for, they inspired me from the start and have helped me at every turn, without them OWT wouldn't be carrying us now.  Their truck Cloud 9 is beautiful and will I am sure see them around the world soon.

Day 31

Well today dawned more Calpe than Cockermouth and it was time for us both to leave.  We did the necessary filling and emptying at the Aire and said our goodbyes, Neil and Pat are Italy bound and we are Morocco bound. Once we were away and had stopped for the required shopping "that's the shopping I didn't know we needed" it was lunch time!
This did however leave time for an interesting afternoon.  Lynn visited Benidorm as a teenager and hadn't returned since so we skirted the coast and drove the Benidorm prom....not something I hope to repeat until I am a teenager again.....ie never!
Further down the coast we stopped at El Campello dropped the bikes and cycled around the harbour and along the prom
At the end of the bay we spotted a little path leading onto the next bay so ticked that one off too
Don't know how far but I guess 12 miles round trip along beautiful beaches on a beautiful prom that 99.9% of England....me included has never heard of.
We finished this excursion off by looking around Iletta dels banyets tower
Built in the 16th Century it is one of a series of watchtowers built to defend Valencia from Barbery Pirates, it was a cool stop.
Nearly as cool as our stop tonight
Overlooking the sea near Cartagena we should sleep to the sound of the waves again......what did I say? ... "It's a hard lifeπŸ˜€πŸ·"

Day 32

We decided to explore our immediate area on foot this morning, the lighthouse is huge and positioned on a large rock at one end of La Manga
Yes the blue dot is Lynn. It protects shipping from a very rocky area that extends more than half a mile out to sea
You can then make your way around the rocks.
To a beautiful little harbour on the other side.
We made our way back to the truck then set off on the bikes in the other direction around the bay.
Straight after this short prom we rode through a short area under special protection that was quite beautiful.
Lots of birds, insects and flowers.
After that we hit La Manga proper, which to me seems a strange place. It's strung out along a spit of land with a salt water lagoon on one side and the sea on the other, the seaward side has been over developed in a strange way with the hotels all fronting onto the beach, not even a footpath.  Perhaps it's because it's low season and most of the hotels are empty but it leaves the sea front a bit lost....no bars, prom or life.
We did visit the lagoon side that seems to have been more sympathetically managed with more private development.
After a good bike ride and a long chat with two German girls who had parked up next to us "we first met them in Calpe" we hit the road south to shorten our journey tomorrow.  We found a beautiful place to park peaceful and surrounded by sea.
Another night going to sleep to the sound of the waves.

Day 33 + 34 Almeria

Well after a wonderful night I got up early to explore.
There are a couple of great beaches and also some ancient houses carved into the rocks.
Some of them had chimneys and kitchen areas.
We walked up to the headland then drove to Almeria
This is another beautiful Spanish seaside resort with the best bike track ever going in both directions from the camper parking area
We had a ride up and down then got talking to a Dutch couple who had visited the Moorish Castle so that defined the itinerary for tomorrow.
In the morning we got up to find a market next door so the castle went on hold for an hour or two.
Everywhere we go in Spain there are lots of unfinished buildings like this one at the side of the market.
I presume they are a hangover from their property boom, if they ever turn the corner with their economy they should be off to a racing start.
After lunch we cycled up to the Castle La Alcazaba the approach is through the old town
With its tiny alleyways and small squares.  The castle itself towers over this area and is a steep but picturesque climb.
Almeria itself has been an important anchorage at the Mediterranean gateway since Roman times but the Islamic splendour of the castle dates Bach to 1147 with later more western influenced additions.
There is an endless array of tiered gardens and fountains
All fed from ancient cisterns at the top of the hill
And secured behind massive walls
Giving fabulous views from the top
The later 1489 Christian castle has a more austere look and feel with no running water and lots of parade ground.
All in all a great place to visit

Day 35

What can I say Sunday morning so a lazy start to the bread run .....another day in Almeria Lynn went to the beach....I lasted an hour or so then went to the laundrette to sort the washing.  Once Lynn had enough we headed for the Sierra Nevada

Day 36 Granada

Well we woke up beside a Forrest this morning N37.24134 W003.09112 rustling trees makes a change from all of the waves πŸ˜€.  Cold up here in the Siera Nevada I even had a smear of frost on the glass and a great view of the mountains.
We headed on down into Granada and found our Campsite so OWT ended the day in unfamiliar territory
Once we had settled in we got the bikes off and rode into Granada centre. It is a beautiful city with a very Spanish feel.....reminded me of Barcelona without the crowds and the beggars.
Lots of traditional shops
Some selling not so traditional tea

Day 37 The Alhambra Palace

This has been on my list of places to visit for a long time.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its construction started in 1238.  As always my photos can't do justice to the place and the Internet has more info than I can type but this page may give a taste of what to expect.  Firstly the Alhambra gets more visitors than the Sagrada Familiar in Barcelona and they limit the number of visitors per day and often run out of tickets.  If I were to go again I would pre book the tickets on the Internet but if like us you turn up early at 8am to join the queue at the ticket office .... Don't.  Walk to the far end of the entrance pavilion around the corner from the "Guides Only" office to the unsignposted ticket machines....no queue!
The place is huge and has lots of garden area between the buildings
The buildings are all impressive outside
And inside
There are spectacular trees
And spectacular views
And as always folk want me to take their picture
On your ticket you are given a time to visit the Nasrid Palaces and these are the most popular sections so it is a good system to reduce the crowds.  They contain fountains
And the most amazing carved plasterwork
And ornate ceilings
We had a great time and I can recommend the American Hotel as a refuge from the crowds and a rest for the eyes.
Then on into the gardens
And water palaces
You need a good 5 hours to get around and then half an hour to walk into Granada for lunch
Oh and a glass of wine

Or twoπŸ˜€πŸ·
We met a lovely German couple Bernie and Ruth who have travelled far and wide in their 4x4 camper
Some folk know how to liveπŸ˜€

Days 38 to 41

We feel we have been working hard traveling and visiting so as I have to sort out the insurance for Africa and the weather looks good we have decided to have a few days at the beach.
We have chosen Fuengirola, a beach resort with good cycle tracks
A castle
Fantastic Sardines
And a fondness for the Pesata .....would Spain be better off if it still had the Pesata?

So we won't be bored.

Day 42 and 43

We are having to stall a little at the moment as I have sorted the insurance issue but the documents have to be delivered by post to my home address.  They will then have to be collected by Paul after work and then taken to DHL for us to collect from their office in Gibraltar. I will hopefully get the important bit of paper on Thursday.  We had seen all of the scenic bits of Fuengirola and also discovered the "Blackpool" section at the other end so moved along the coast to Mijas.  It's a small low rise Spanish resort with the most fantastic wooden promenade that stretches for six kilometres.  We walked the length of it and then half way back stopped for lunch at a restaurant with fantastic views of the sea.  Unfortunately my camera has developed a fault at the moment and as its Sunday I can't take it to get it fixed or replaced.
Normal photographic service will hopefully be resumed soon.
Well after a morning of housekeeping, shopping and working my way through the camera book which suggested a full system reset as the solution to my camera problems.  We had lunch and then set out to walk the promenade again.
Lynn found a friend on the way down...is she the only woman in Spain wearing a down duvet? 25degrees today
She got a bit warmer on the sea front
Then warmer still further on
The wooden section makes up two thirds of the promenade length
And ensures you follow right on the coast
On the way back we stopped in at the restaurant from yesterday for a jug of Sangria
The walk back was easyπŸ˜€πŸ·πŸ˜œ
This one is for you Emma..... I brought 18 Wanderers shirts and we have just done another Whites Wash.....more than one meaning thereπŸ˜‰ Come on you Whites....down but never out⚽️⚽️πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜€

Day 44

Still on a festerhaunt "you would have to be a climber to know that one" waiting for the insurance so we decided to go to Marbella on the bus.  The buses are cheap and regular but the standard of driving leaves you gripping your seat.
We went into the old town and made our way to Orange Square.  Nothing to do with Holland like Dutch Corner "you need to watch the Tour De France to get that one" but all about the trees growing in the square
The old town surrounds the square and has the picturesque flower displays
Narrow streets 
And wine tasting bars
Believe it or not it was even too early for me!!
I love the care and attention they give to the doors over here, it has made me think about the house entrance in a whole new way
Unfortunately the rain came in and chased us away from Marbella before we made the sea front....oh well another day.

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.

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.

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.

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˜€

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

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.

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