A Travellerspoint blog

Monday 29th March to Wednesday 31st March

The sights of Marrakesh and the long drive back to Europe

Monday 29th March

Headed off to Marrakesh and after driving around the crazy roads and roundabouts, we managed somehow to find the motorhome parking. We had been told about this parking right in the centre of the city, just behind the Koutoubia Mosque. The sun was baking and as always with cities, the building’s and tarmac makes it hotter. Before we headed off around the city, we as usual put the gas on and went to light the fridge. Problem was the fridge didn’t light, the ignition didn’t work. This was not good as we needed the fridge, especially in this weather. We had a really good internet signal, so I had a search and found that sometimes people had a problem after driving that it wouldn’t light straight away on gas. We left it a bit but still no joy. Yesterday I had taken the vent of the flume to clean it as it was getting blackened. Having read up, our fridge probably needed a service and the flume cleaned. I could probably do it myself, but would need to take the fridge out, which would mean removing the whole sink and gas hobs. I could get to a bit of the fridge through the back vents but not enough to give it a clean. Anyway, that would take a lot of time. Decided some debris must have fallen into the lighter cup, stopping it spark. Couldn’t remove the cup, so tried blowing and also using a bike pump. To try and dislodge anything, but this was to no avail, there wasn’t enough strength of air. Still the day was getting on and we didn’t have much in the fridge anyway that could go off. So we would try and find a garage with pressurised air, when we left Marrakesh and hopefully that would work.


We headed off into Marrakech not knowing what to expect, we decided to head first to look at the palaces. But by the time we got to them, they were closed. We then had a wonder around some of the souqs, before heading to the Djemaa el-Fna. This is the main square and as the sun comes down, the square comes to life. We wondered in to the square and there were lots of people around, with many food stalls set up. Also on the edges people gathered around snake charmers, musicians and storytellers, this was an amazing and intense sight. We decided to head up to one of the café’s overlooking the square, to sit above the mayhem and watch. The Square was the hub of the action, with people gathered around everywhere and the smoke from the food stalls rising into the air, carrying lovely aromas. After a while and some pictures we headed back down into the craziness, to be immediately sort out by the food stalls. Each one of them with sellers coming up, menus in hand, telling us how great the food was and that we really should sit down and eat here with them. We avoided most till we finally caved in to one young lad, who was cheeky and funny. We sat down outside next to some other tourists and within a short space of time were eating our lovely food. While eating we watched the guys jostling for more people to come, sit down and eat.

Souq in Marrakesh

Souq in Marrakesh



The snake charmers in the square disappointed us. The snakes were pretty much asleep till they got kicked, so it wasn’t a very impressive. After another walk around the square, we headed back to the motorhome for a glass or two of wine.

[b]Tuesday 30th March


Had a great day walking around Marrakesh, visiting the Badi palace, gardens, Ali Ben Yousseff Medersa and souqs. It is a wonderful vibrant city bursting with sights, smells and sounds. Also crossing the road is at your own peril! The souqs were busy and bustling, with colourful displays of products. Also they were quite relaxed, I had imagined we would be hassled at every shop. But it didn’t seem that way, maybe we were just used to Morocco now. The souqs just went on and on, everywhere we turned we entered another roofed side street, selling different types of items. When it all got a bit too much, we walked over to the new town and relaxed inside a small cool cafe for lunch. After, we headed back to the old town and around an amazing building, the Ali Ben Yousseff Medersa. The architecture and craftsman ship of this old learning centre was amazing, like a work of art. We wondered around its courtyard and through the halls, before sitting in the sun. Then headed over into the museum of Marrakech another stunning building inside, so delicate and intrinsically crafted.







We then took a stroll around one of the gardens of Marrakesh, before going into an artisan building. This was full of small craft shops, selling the work of local artisans. Rather than buying it from a stall, the money goes straight to the maker, as it were. Lorna also got to have a go weaving part of a rug, an intricate job and great seeing it done. At that point we realised how long all the rugs, we had seen along the way, must have took to make.



Before the end of the day we wandered into the spice souq, in search of some spices before we left Morocco. After getting a few bags full of different smells, we sat down overlooking the souq in a café and having what would be our last mint tea in Morocco. Seems strange and we are not really prepared to be leaving. Marrakesh though is an amazing city to wonder around and a good last destination for our first Moroccan adventure. As the sun came down we walked across the main square back to the motorhome, exhausted from the long day and our senses very full.

Wednesday 31st March

Got up very early to be out of the city around 8am, we hoped before the crazy traffic started. Also we had a very long drive of over 700km ahead of us, to get to Tangier and if we could the last ferry of the day. The drive was long and pretty dull along the toll roads up to Tangier, we were very tired and feeling sad to be leaving Morocco. It is an amazing country and at the same time an annoying one, but one we want to visit again and see more of.

Before Tangier we stopped at a place on the coast called Larache, where we had heard from Stan and Barbara, we could empty our tanks and stay for free. We were only
going to empty our tanks though, as we had made good time on the journey. We could probably make tangier with a couple of hours to spare. As if Customs coming in was anything to go by, we could be waiting a while to get to Ferry! As we pulled into a strange car park full of motorhomes, we spotted Stan and Barbara’s Converted mobile library, looks like they hadn’t quite made it to the ferry as yet! We said hello and got their email address, before we emptied our tanks said goodbye and set back off to the Ferry.

We came into the outskirts of Tangier and passed a small group of youngish kids on their way back from school. As we came to a stop at some lights, I saw in my mirror they were running up the road towards our motorhome. Next thing as the lights turned green they started jumping onto our back ladder, probably trying to gain a lift. We immediately stopped and shouted at them to get off, but they were in no rush. After a few times of us starting, stopping and shouting at them, they got off and we continued our journey to the port. Nearer the port we stopped to fill up on cheap fuel and I noticed that our Moroccan rug was now missing from the back of the motorhome! Those kids must have pulled it off! We were not amused at what had happened and wanted to drive back, but by now they would have been long gone. Also we wanted to get to the port in plenty of time to catch the ferry, fuming we carried on. This is the problem with Morocco one minute you love it, then the next you get very frustrated with the place!

We arrived at the port and joined the queue for customs, not as busy as when we got here, but still crazy. After the rug incident and the fact we had heard so much negative stuff about Tangier. We were very suspicious of people and just wanted to get to the safety of the ferry. We drove through pretty quickly, but then got ushered by police to one side and into a queue. This was behind a couple of other motorhomes and lots and lots and lots of lorries! Stan and Barbara had warned us about this, Tangier has a new metal detector/scanner for lorries, vans and motorhomes. As with everything in Morocco, no one is in a rush. So we had to sit there for three hours slowly moving forward, while they scanned individual lorries with one giant scanner! It was taking ages and for some reason they have this high security scanner but individuals just wondering around in the port. We just kept our eye on very dodgy looking people who kept wondering around. As well as seeing people crawl under lorries and occasionally get caught by police. It felt very unsafe and sitting waiting just seemed to make us sitting ducks. The time by now had passed for our ferry and I didn’t want to sleep on the port. Any other port fine, but with people wondering around, anything could put stuffed about the motorhome! With all this delay, the ferries would either be delayed or just be coming and going virtually empty!

After 9pm and a 4 or 5 hour wait, we finally got ushered towards the scanner. Then had our papers taken by an official, before he asked for money! But we said we had none. Our scan was clear and we were free to go, well as far as the customs officers. Who then, after a quick chat, only had a look in and around briefly before allowing us to continue. Problem was we didn’t know where we needed to go! After asking a few people we found our ferry terminal and to our relief a ferry just coming in! After a short wait we were parked up onboard and sat upstairs, as a very empty ferry left back to Europe. Within a couple of hours of drifting in and out of sleep and reading we were coming into the Spanish port of Algercras, already Morocco seeming like a long time ago.

We now had the Spanish customs to deal with, it was now past midnight, Spanish time. We were coming back from Morocco and were young. We imagined they would pull us over and have the motorhome apart, while we waited longer tired and hungry! We ended up though, pretty much driving straight through. They didn’t seem that interested, they too were probably tired and hungry! We headed back to the car park of Lidl, where our Moroccan journey had began, two months ago. Before leaving Morocco we hadn’t stocked up on food and didn’t really have anything to eat. Everywhere was closed though, so Lorna managed to make a pasta dish, before we collapsed in bed. What a day

Posted by marklorna 15:40

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