A Travellerspoint blog

Thursday 25th February - Wednesday 3rd March

Relaxing in the Sun!!

Thursday 25th February

Had breakfast outside in the heat of the morning sun. Decided although the campsite was good, we didn’t feel at home. We decided we would rather continue further up to a campsite we had been told about that was full of a younger generation and was a bay big on surfing. If were to be waiting 5 to 7 days, this would be a better spot we thought. So we banked on their being a bank and a cash point in one of the few towns we passed and headed off. After a lovely sunny coastal drive we got to the campsite, again down a bumpy track and found a great spot overlooking the one side of the bay and the village on the other side. We had passed no banks or cash points on the way so hoped there would be something in the village. Seeing it from afar and speaking with an English couple already there, we found there was only a couple of shops or café’s and no bank or cash point. We should of thought really, still getting used to Morocco I suppose. We were parked up in a great spot and the weather was hot and sunny and by now it was 2pm. Only problem was we had no money on us, to pay for the campsite or any food and drink, which were needed. We knew we had to head off in search of both.


So we carried on up north along the coast towards Essaouira, hoping to pass one before we got there, in a village, as it was 90km there. We wanted to be back here before dark so we could actually enjoy one of these sunny days without going driving around. We passed no banks and arrived in Essaouira around 4pm. We found a cash point and we also found out there was not enough money in the account to draw anything except 100Dh (£8). So we then wondered around to find a internet café and put more money in the account. Finally we were able to draw sufficient funds out. So with the time now after 5pm, we had a quick failed attempt at finding a supermarket and decided we would make do with what ever was in the village so departed back towards the campsite, hoping we would make it before dark. As the light was fading, I decided to take the earlier turning to the campsite, bad idea. The road was small and after every turning kept going on and on, and we were driving on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the sea, probably a beautiful drive in the day, but with the light gone it wasn’t great and at some points the road was corroding away. Still we made it back to the campsite eventually and settled down for the night.

Friday 26th February


Woke up again to great weather and had tea under the awning in the sun. Behind us on the hill a herd of camels was being led including baby white ones, it was a lovely sight. We then headed off into the village to get some bread and veg. The village and port was very small, very laid back and hassle free. There were a few shops, a couple of surf shops and a few café’s. We enjoyed an apple juice sitting in the sun at one of the café’s watching the local fisherman sell some fresh fish, then go and cook them for a group of people. On the way back to the campsite we passed sea front shacks, chickens and surfers wondering around with their boards or sitting on rooftops playing chess. The bay and village was very idyllic and mostly full of surfers, giving it a bit of a westernised feel. Spent the rest of the day lazing in the sun watching the bay and waves.


Saturday 27th February

It became very windy last night, although it remained 30 degrees all night the wind was even hot. We opened all the roof windows and in the morning there was a layer of sand over everything! Most of the day was windy so we spent it inside, I spent the time typing up a over a months worth of this blog! Mmm think I write too much, I certainly wont be getting this far behind again.

Sunday 28th February


Good day weather wise, so we again relaxed. On another wonder around the village we had a look at some stalls selling some lovely Tangiene cooking pots. Want to get one as they seem a good idea to cook with, but I suppose we need to try some first! Also we found an Auberge that sold alcohol, that you could also take away, but due to the price just one bottle of wine was bought.

Monday 1st March


Another good day weather wise, so another day relaxing in the sun. Feels like were on a summer holiday, it’s nice. Another wonder into town to get our daily bread, tomato’s and onions and I received a call from our ADAC woman. Again she was difficult to understand and I couldn’t really work out when she was saying the window was due. She wanted the temporary vehicle import document, for importing the windscreen in. We were now a good 2 hours drive away from Agadir and I only wanted to be driving again when the windscreen was at the garage awaiting fitting. She asked to fax or email her the documents as she needed a copy of them first. Then she would come and get the originals or have someone pick them up. Why she didn’t think she would need them before and got them off us when we were with her, I don’t know! I headed off in search of a fax machine, but Imsouane doesn’t have any land telephone lines let alone a fax machine, so that idea was shelved. There was one Auberge with expensive internet access, so Lorna had the idea of taking a photo and emailing her that. We also asked her to text or email rather than call, as the calls were costing me about £5 per conversation. Mostly due to the fact she rambled without ever saying anything clearly or directly answering questions! I’ll be glad when we have the window in place.

Tuesday 2nd March

Woke up to a windy but sunny day, perfect for washing and drying some clothes. Checked the email at the Auberge for a reply from the ADAC woman, and surprise no reply! I emailed her asking again for a reply saying I was there for 20mins on net and still no reply. I think she only works a couple of hours a day. The heavens then opened on and off for the rest of the day. So the rest of the day was spent inside watching the rain come down over the great view of the bay we had. That was until a French motorhome managed to park up in front of us, so the view was now a shiny motorhome! No shame.

Wednesday 3rd March[i]


Most of the morning was rain and failed attempts to get the washing out to dry. Late in the afternoon the rain finally went away, so Lorna and me took a walk along the coast. Watching the big waves crash and explode onto the rocks.

Posted by marklorna 18:29 Comments (1)

Tuesady 23rd February - Wednesday 24th February

The Slow Journey to Agadir

Tuesday 23rd February

We got up early and said our goodbye’s, as we had the intention of trying to get as much of the journey done as we could in a day. We spent the rest of the day travelling down the toll road at a steady rate of around 70kmph. The toll roads ended up being pricey but a much smoother way of travelling. Seven hours driving later we were arriving on the outskirts of Marrakech as the light was dying from the day. We had pretty good weather while driving and saw a lot more of the Moroccan countryside, which we were starting to like the look of and the landscape seems to change every so often. We were tired so parked up at the campsite had a bite to eat then


Wednesday 24th February[i]

The peacocks and the young family next to us awoke us early, so we decided to get up and complete the final leg of around 300km to Agadir. On our Map there was a motorway still under construction from Marrakech to Agadir and we were told on the campsite that it was now open. So off we headed and followed the motorway signs to Agadir. The signs led us back towards the way we came, until we finally got on the motorway, only to have to get off at the next couple of junctions. This was due to the motorway not being completed any further and still under construction. We paid our small toll fee for what we had travelled and basically ended up a little down the road from the campsite where we had started! The rest of the route was taken on the normal Moroccan highroad over the hills. The road was good and the views were amazing, with snow capped mountains in the distance and the sun beating down. At times the landscape reminded me of Arizona, not that I’ve been just what I’d seen in films etc.


We arrived in Agadir at around 2pm and found ourselves a big cash and carry. So we went in and found what we had been told, that wine and cheese and other western goods were very expensive in Morocco. After a call to the ADAC rep, for her to meet us, she told us she didn’t know where the cash and carry was so we would have to meet her outside the campsite. We then drove around Agadir getting very hot, lost and frustrated! Eventually we found the campsite and called her to come down. She arrived and then got us to follow her to the garage for them to check on the glass. We ended up following her till we reached her office, where she pulled over a petit taxi. Then came to us and said she didn’t know where the garage was so we would have to follow the taxi and she would go back to the office if we needed her! This woman really is useless. We followed the taxi over roundabouts and down streets till we arrived near where we had started. We then had to pay the taxi driver for his service! We were beginning to get a little pied off with the ADAC rep. Funnily enough at the garage he didn’t have the windscreen, so I phoned the ADAC rep as we hadn’t got a clue how to get back to her office. She said she would order it tomorrow, as now it was too late. I think too late for her to be bothered to make the call rather than an order to go through, as it was not even 4pm! Anyway, still at least we were getting help and in a week hopefully a new window. The weather was 30 degrees, so it wasn’t a bad place to stop.

The campsite was full in the town and after all the driving around it already we were wanting to get out, so off we headed up the coast to a campsite a French person had given us the leaflet for. We drove past the horrible looking Atlantic park site, a small stretch by the sea with motorhomes lined up tight, like a big motorhome forecourt. We carried on and found another site overlooking the sea from the cliffs, although this was reached by a rather bumpy dirt track. There the campsite was busy with shiny new motorhomes, but we found a spot. All spots were really just overlooking other motorhomes with a glimpse of the sea behind. We settled down to catch the very last bit of afternoon sun and I could even sit out in the evening in a t-shirt.


Posted by marklorna 18:25 Comments (0)

Wednesday 17th February - Monday 22nd February

Lets get some fresh air, then await at the Castle!

Wednesday 17th February[/i]

Got up early eager to get out of the garage and into some fresh air. We said our goodbyes and paid our money and we were off. We just wanted to get out of the city and into the countryside and some fresh air into our lungs after the garage. We headed back towards Moulay-Idriss and the roman ruins at Voloubilis near the campsite. For 10Dh each we had a walk around the very big and good roman ruins, with some great floor mosaics, still preserved in the open air.


While there I received a call from an ADAC rep about the windscreen. They would help locate a windscreen and I think help with cost. It was very difficult to understand her, but I needed to fax her the motorhome reg document. We headed back to the campsite with the intention of saying thank you and our goodbye’s to Abdul. He wasn’t in though so we left a note and continued our journey.

We had decided to head a little further south to Azrou, where we had been told of a free campsite in the grounds of a mock castle. We headed off over the mountains with the windscreen, which we could view out of, but had to go slowly. Apart from the erratic driving and the bumpy road, we spent the journey taking in the sights around. The Shepard’s, sheep and goats as well as all the donkeys. At one point the drive was similar to going over the peak district. We eventually came into Azrou and found the illusive campsite, it had a bizarre grand entrance and we drove into a courtyard next to a large stone Arabian castle type Disneyland building. We parked up and were told by the campsite manager, Steve a great character who is Moroccan but has a strong Texan accent, that the camping was free, including the electric and free baguettes in the morning! We asked again to make sure and it was confirmed that due to the owner being a very rich Arab that at present it was all free. We parked up and plugged in, the views around were great as we could see over the hills and into the valleys.

Thursday 18th February


Had a look around the castle, it had been finished and due to open as a hotel and nightclub, but water was running through it. We entered the grand castle that was decorated with great ceilings and light fittings and bits of furniture. The colours were slightly ghoulish but everything was grand, money though doesn’t seem to buy taste. The water though was everywhere leaking through the ceilings and walls, with big puddles in most rooms. It was a strange crazy stagnant building, in fact it was a bizarre campsite and situation, but we weren’t complaining, as it was free. So it seemed a good enough place to wait till we heard from the ADAC woman about the glass.

Steve we found out had lived in Texas for a long while hence the accent and he had a few animals that he said were gifts from the boss. We got chatting with a few other campers, a couple from Australia, Cortney and Martin, as well as Mark and Jackie from England. Mark even made my travel guitar sound a lot better. Since buying it to take on the trip I hadn’t often picked it up, as the sound was rather poor and the action far too high. Mark lowered the action and the guitar then was a different creature, sounding and playing better. It was now something I wanted to pick up and play on, so thank you Mark. We also got chatting to a younger Belgium couple called Xavien and Carole. They came by the motorhome later and we got on really well, they had been in Morocco for three months. They had travelled all about and very far south to the desert, they told us some great stories and that we would see some beautiful sites. They though, had had their fill of Morocco and were almost desperate to get back to Europe. Carole especially, as Lorna had already seen and experienced Morocco is not as good for a woman than a man, as everything is male dominated.

Friday 19th February

Last night there was a very heavy storm with strong winds and rain, at one point knocking out the electricity. We had fitted the bike cover over the window to protect the rain from getting in, an idea of Lorna’s that worked very well. We headed into Azrou with Xavier and Carole to pick up some veg and other items required. We did some shopping for the first time in Morocco and found it wasn’t such a difficult experience, as we just filled bags up with what we wanted and they weighed it and we paid, simple really! We then all found a café to have coffees and mint teas. The café was full of males only mind.

Later in the day Mike, who we had met in Mirtal, turned up. I had texted him to let him know about the free camping. So later that evening Mike, Xavier and Carole gathered round our motorhome, another night of socialising. Something we hadn’t been used to as yet on our travels. Was a good evening getting to know everyone more.

Saturday 20th February


Today wasn’t raining so we took the opportunity to go for a walk. We had been told of some ancient Cedar forests up the road in the hills where there lived some wild apes. So off we headed up to the hills, where we were pleasantly surprised to be alone in our travels and not hassled, as we passed a few Shepard’s with their herds. We had been told when you got to the forests there was a tourist area with people ready to take you on donkey or foot to the monkeys, but they wanted paying and the monkeys could just be found by carrying on walking. After a long walk up into the hills and with still bits of snow on the ground, we arrived at the forest. Before we even got to the tourist bit we came across some apes sitting relaxing in the trees. So we watched and took pictures, like good tourists, before heading back down the road.


By the evening we were both pretty tired and wanted to eat and relax in bed, but an invite for some after dinner wine came our way courtesy of Jackie. So after dinner I headed over to say hello, Lorna being too tired and needing sleep. We had a lovely chat as Jackie kept topping up my red wine, though I had to retire after a bit as was in need of sleep.

Sunday 21st February

Today the rain was heavy, Xavier and Carole were also heading off so we said our goodbyes and exchanged emails and numbers, we would both be in eastern Europe in the summer so would hopefully be able to meet up again. I grabbed a lift off them into town to buy a few bits and then tried to get a taxi back to the campsite. I think a combination of my poor skills of explaining where I wanted to go and the fact the road up to the campsite was closed, ended in me not getting a shared taxi and instead walking in the rain. I had hoped to be able to wave down a grand taxi as I was walking back, but none passed. So by the time I arrived back at the campsite I was soaking wet through.

That afternoon I headed over to mike’s van for a jam, as he also played guitar. Later that evening he cooked myself and Lorna Spag bol, and more chatting. We hadn’t socialised this much for a while.

Monday 22nd February[i]

After most of the day spent waiting around for the ADAC Moroccan based rep to get back in touch, we established that she couldn’t source a window from Morocco. She could get one from Germany at €800 and they would get it shipped to Morocco. This came as good news, although the glass was still expensive it was cheaper than we had been expecting. She then said we would have to go south to Agadir, where she could get the window sent. Also she had a window place that needed to see the van encase they had a windscreen before she ordered one. Although ADAC were being helpful, this particular rep was very difficult to understand and speak with. She had a way of talking that went on without really saying anything, apart from using up my phone credit at a very expensive price! It would end up costing me hundreds in phone calls at this rate.

Agadir was over 600km away and the road was through mountains, we would have to take it very slowly. But the price for the glass was good and also it would be sunny down south on the coast. So we decided it wouldn’t be a bad thing waiting for a windscreen to be delivered in the sun by the sea. After looking at the map over dinner in our Motorhome with mike, we decided to take the longer route back up and over to Casablanca then onto Marrakech then down to Agadir. This route was one of toll motorways, although over 100km longer it would be less traffic and smoother roads. So better for our journey with the motorhomes broken windscreen. The rest of the evening was spent exchanged music and films with mike on the laptops.

Posted by marklorna 18:18 Comments (0)

Saturday 13th February - Tuesday 16th February

The Accidental trip to Meknes!!!

Saturday 13th February[/i]

As it was raining, we put hold on the plans for a walk in the mountains or another wonder around the Souq. Instead deciding to continue our journey south into Morocco and towards the holy town of Moulay-Idrass. This was another slow journey on Moroccan roads, with us steadily taking in all the new sights and sounds around us and slowly becoming slightly more used to them. Behind slow old lorries churning out black fumes and through villages right on the sides of the roads. The villages had no pavements, just a few shops and café’s with always men hanging about and few women in sight.

It was when coming through one of these villages that disaster struck. A white Mercedes van was pulled up on our left and then all of a sudden without indicating pulled out onto the road. We slowed down thinking he would see us, but he didn’t and when I braked it was too late. He had accelerated onto the road and into us! All of a sudden in full slow motion the van smashed into the driver’s side (left side on our Hymer) and there was a great noise. Hymer was shunted over to the verge and inside the cab you could see the front coming in and the windscreen braking. We knew it was bad straight away from the noise and feel of the impact, Lorna was screaming and in tears, but we were both fine and not injured. The van, no sooner as it had hit us it had zoomed off down the road and Hymer was in no state to follow. The side had been smashed in and the window was hanging from the frame. The rain then started to come down very heavy and was pouring in through the gap between the frame and the window. We knew that our adventure could well be over and everything had gone wrong. We were on a small budget anyway and although we had insurance in Morocco, we were only covered third party. I got out the van to check the damage and people were already starting to mingle around us looking.


It was a horrible numb state of shock and knowledge everything had taken a turn for the worse, the heavy rain just adding to it. The bumper was in a triangle cracked in the middle and pointing out. The impact had happened by the fuel cap on the driver’s side just on the corner above the front wheel. As well as the bumper and windscreen, Hymer just had a big chunk of smashed in, totally out of shape, with part of it pushed against the wheel. We weren’t going anywhere in a hurry.


After a short while the Police appeared on the scene, only problem was we couldn’t speak Arabic or French and they couldn’t speak English. They established we didn’t need a ambulance, as we weren’t injured, so we waited while more police came to the scene. While waiting in shock we tried phoning the insurance company to tell them about the accident. Also to find out if we were covered in any way at all, as the accident wasn’t our fault. It was then we realised the problem we had, both our phones were now on pay as you go. Mine had only just changed over in the last few days and I had not been able to set up any credit card top up. So we sat in the motorhome in the middle of a strange country and we couldn’t phone anybody! After a bit, the police waved down a French van and asked if they could speak English to translate between us. We established, we were needing to wait while the police took pictures of the scene and that they would try to help, as we were tourists. The driver then said something that made me realise the severity of the situation. He said “ Your in Africa now, no-one cares about you.” or something along those lines. It made me feel very alone and up the creek without a paddle, so to speak. The rain was pouring down and here we were in a very foreign country not able to contact anyone or in fact talk to anyone and the motorhome wasn’t going anywhere fast! The situation was a nightmare.


Eventually a policeman came, that could speak a little bit of English. He asked whether we had taken the number of the van, to which we hadn’t as they had driven away so fast. He then asked to describe the accident, so I did. After photos were taken and some very random measuring was done. We were told we needed to come down to the police station with them and that we could also use their phone to contact our insurance, etc. The English-speaking officer came with us in the motorhome and we followed the other car. Luckily at this point the rain had stopped, so we very slowly drove off with the glass hanging half in and half out. After a while down the road, the front windscreen looked as if it was about to fall out. So we pulled over and the three of us carefully removed the windscreen and placed it inside the motorhome. Then with the policeman sat next to me, we continued driving down the road with no front windscreen. It was a very strange journey, I think we were still in shock and not really knowing what was happening or what we needed to do. At the station we were then informed we couldn’t actually ring international numbers from the phone as it would only ring Moroccan numbers! So we tried the British Embassy, to see if they would be able to help in pointing us in the right direction or contacting our insurance. They were closed, as it was Saturday. At this point we decided we just wanted to get to a campsite and work out what we needed to do, also they normally have international payphone’s outside. The police organised for a mechanic to re-fit the broken windscreen, at a price, though it was very badly cracked on the driver’s side. We then had to wait a good two hours in the police station while groups of officers filled out different forms and we had also written our statements. As the custom seems to be here, we were also given tea. Lorna made sure we didn’t leave without a crime number, but there was nothing much they could do. They just made sure they looked liked they were doing it all properly and being welcoming as we were tourists.

The day was now getting on, it would be going dark soon and we had a 20km very slow drive ahead of us to get to a campsite. After going back and forth trying to find it, we were pointed in the right direction by a local helpful guide and arrived up the dirt track to the campsite in the dark. We limped into a parking spot both tired and still in shock of what was happening and what to do. A French couple parked next to us, seemed to take pity on us and wanted to cheer us up, so they invited us in for a Aperitif or two. Another conversation was managed to have even though our French was not good and the didn’t speak English.

Sunday 14th February

I managed to get credit on another older mobile and contacted the insurance help line. Only to be told we would have to wait till Monday, when they could contact the company and be able to tell us where we stood. So the rest of the day was spent in limbo, staring at a broken motorhome. We weren’t able and didn’t want to travel anywhere till we knew where we stood. Just luckily it wasn’t raining, as the window would have leaked.

Monday 15th February

Spent most of the first half of the day and £60 on calls back and forth between insurance company and our breakdown assistance. Only to be told by the insurance they weren’t able to hep us. Although it wasn’t our fault we were only third party so basically we were on our own! We knew really this would have been the answer, but hearing it made our hearts sink more. We would have to find the money to repair and this would seriously eat into any money we had saved. At this point we didn’t know whether to get it fixed in Morocco, where the work would be cheap, but we didn’t know what the result would be like. Or limp back to Spain and pay a huge price, but hopefully get it fixed properly. In the meantime the campsite owner Abdul, who we spoke with on Sunday, was being very helpful. He knew of a body repairs garage in the local city of Meknes, which he could take us to. Well we would need to get something at least repaired to be able to drive even back up to tangier, as one part of the bodywork was against the tyre. Also as our language skills in this country weren’t good, we would find it very difficult at a garage ourselves. We took Abdul up on his offer and drove to Meknes, met him and followed him down some side streets to the garage. At the garage, Abdul translated for us and we decided on trying to get price to fix it and also just to repair a little so we could drive. At this point, I don’t think we were being very trustful and for all we knew Abdul may receive some of the money from the mechanic for his help. But we were thankful, as with the language barrier he was our only option. We negotiated a price of 3200Dh (around £260) for the bodywork to be repaired and the front re-sprayed. The other cars they had in their garage looked like their work was good and for that price it was worth while, we could always get extra bits when in Europe. The only problem was the windscreen, which would have to be found elsewhere. But there was a shop around the corner. Abdul took me round to the glass shop where after a search and a call to Casablanca, I was told that the glass would be very difficult to get hold of in Morocco and they couldn’t. They could make a perspex windscreen, but due to the size of the windscreen in strong winds it wouldn’t be good. So with that and the price they were quoting we decided not to bother. Instead the garage would repair the motorhome and we would try and source a windscreen from elsewhere. Meanwhile they would refit and tape up the broken windscreen, best they could. The mechanics started work and I went with Abdul for a walk around car part shops, to get hold of a replacement headlight glass.

Abdul was proving to be very helpful and kind and was spending the day with us, rather than at home or the campsite, as he knew we would be a bit stuck with out him. After Lorna, Abdul and myself went for coffee opposite the garage, where we got to know each other more. The work we were told would take two day’s. So we tried to explain about finding a hotel for us to go and stay in, but they wouldn’t here of it and said that we could sleep in the motorhome in the garage. There is a night watchman for the cars on the street, so we would be ok. We were rather unsure of this idea, but every time a hotel was mentioned by us, it was disregarded. We eventually thought it wasn’t a bad idea, as we would save money and all our stuff was in the motorhome, so we would be keeping an eye on it all. Abdul left us to head back to the campsite for a bit, saying he would pop in on us later to check how we were doing. For the rest of the day we stood about watching the mechanics work, as it was raining outside. The rain didn’t make us feel like going for a wonder and we were also in the new part of the city, not the old more interesting area.


They finished working around 8/9pm, with like what seemed a lot of the work already done. We were then left alone in the garage, as they brought the shutters down but didn’t lock them. So we would be able to get out and assured us the night guardian would watch over us. In Morocco there are guardians everywhere for parking, you pay to park and get your vehicle watched over. It is very hard to park anywhere without paying someone. We settled down for the night in a dark garage, with sheeting over where the windscreen had been removed. The garage was a little fumy, but we were tired and wanted food and sleep.


Tuesday 16th February[i]

The mechanics were back at 8am and we were relieved to step outside and get some fresh air! We had the idea today of heading off around the old town, Abdul had drawn us a map of where to go. Instead though heavy rain started and continued all day, to put a stop to that plan. So we spent another day hanging around the garage and getting on with the mechanics a bit, although neither of us spoke each other’s language. I wish I took a lot more of the French learnt at school in. Abdul came by and showed us where an internet café was, so we headed off to do some research about sourcing our windscreen. We found out that new they ranged from £1300 to £4000! Also second hand, we just couldn’t find anything. Our hearts sank again, it didn’t seem the windscreen even was available in Morocco and we would have to go back to Spain and Europe. We sent a few emails to companies including our ADAC German breakdown service asking for help and quotes. Deflated we headed back to the garage, to find that the motorhome was starting to take shape.

By early evening they were starting to re-spray, with the hope we could head away later. The rain again put a stop to that idea, as after the final spray we were told we would have to stop again for the night for it to dry as it was raining. So we had to look forward to another night in the garage! They had done a good job mind, due to not having the spare parts some bits you could tell were no longer new looking and were slightly battered, but these things we could probably pick up in Germany cheap. So overall Hymer was the right colour and the front was more in shape and healthier looking than when we had come in, apart from the broken windscreen sitting in place. Later that evening we were sitting inside waiting for the mechanics to finish so we could cook some food and tidy up. Then a knock at the door and I was invited out to join them for a drink. They had some Moroccan cans of lager and shared them with me as well as some French aperitif. Although the language barrier was apparent they were very friendly and looked like it was almost a goodbye, end of job drink for us. Lorna on the other hand was inside, and came out later, as she hadn’t been first invited. Morocco is defiantly a mans world.


Posted by marklorna 18:11 Comments (0)

Thursday 11th February to Friday 12th February

Into Morocco

Thursday 11th February

Got up very early to have breakfast and be ready to go. 7.30 came and another smaller campervan turned up with a French couple inside. We all waited and we were hoping more would turn up, so when we arrived in crazy Tangier it wouldn’t be just us in a motorhome. 8.30 also came and went, as this was the other time on a card we had been given, still no one had come to collect us. So we phoned Carlos who said he would be there in 10 mins, just got out of bed we thought. When Carlos showed up, the language barrier was difficult as he spoke more French than English. But we established through the French couple that he had come and collected everybody last night. They had spent the night at the port ready for the ferry this morning and why didn’t we go down with them last night? We’ll we weren’t told that and didn’t know, we were told this car park 7.30. This fell on deaf ears, and he explained that we could get on the next ferry at 10.30. We were too tired to complain and knew for the price of the tickets, there was no point. We followed him down to the port, handed over our tickets and got pointed in a vague direction of where to go. Unlike British ports where your ushered into your position, people just seemed to be driving about and pulling up somewhere behind the boat, not really in order. We pulled up waiting with a load of cars and vans with big packages on roofs. There seemed to be no rush in loading the ferry and after what seemed some time lorry containers were reversed into the only ferry door. After a bit longer the cars and us were waved in. The ferry was a basic and old affair, and people milled around and lay about to rest. We had a few forms to fill in to enter Morocco. They were 3 copies of the Motorhome certificate, one to enter one to leave and one for you to keep and temporary immigration forms for us. On the ferry we were able to get our immigration forms dealt with and our passports stamped, a first for me. But we also found out this ferry, unlike the one in the morning that takes 45 mins, was the slow boat that would take two and a half hours! So we settled down rather annoyed at the circumstances surrounding us not getting the earlier ferry.

We sat outside upstairs slowly watching Spain and the Rock of Gibraltar get further away while another continent and Morocco got closer. As we came into Tangier we noticed sprawling concrete tower blocks at the forefront of mountains. After a wait to get off the ferry, due to an old van breaking down halfway up the ramp, we were being waved towards Moroccan Customs and the roads of Morocco. This was when they mayhem started, we had read about Tangier customs being hectic. People who weren’t official come and try to help you with papers in return for money, so we were ready or so we thought. We got ushered into a space in the queue by some people with badges and we handed over our papers. They then checked them and the motorhome and filled out a couple of bits before handing them back to us and asking for money! Damn we had just been had. I gave them a very small amount and we were told to join another queue, as that was the one for camping cars. This is where the waiting started, and we watched the chaos, as people were swarming everywhere helping people with papers and ushering them into queues. The Policeman, who was doing the custom checks and paperwork for our queue, took a disliking to us and told us we needed to turn back around and join the queue on the further side. By the looks, he wanted to get another ferry that was departing through his side. So we tried turning around but got stuck, sandwiched between cars as they came off ferries and joined queues here, there and everywhere! We were there for over an hour not being able to move. No one letting us out as people tried to get into any gap they could, to get through one of the custom points. The Police we could see checking cars and doing paperwork randomly, not in any order of who was next, just I think who had paid the paper helpers more! So we waited, after a while another police officer saw we weren’t getting anywhere and told us to re-join the queue we started in. As we re-joined it the first Policeman went into a slight rage with us, shouting as he had told us to join the other queue and why were we back here! Although this was in French and Arabic, We managed to explain between his rants that the other officer had sent us back to this queue. At that point the two officers started arguing with each other, which resulted in us staying in the queue. But now we would have our new friend doing the customs checks, and a lot of cars had to empty a lot of their contents out to be checked. We knew he would be doing a thorough check. Going through our van getting everything out, we couldn’t wait. After a while longer we were eventually to our relief seen by the other policeman who simply looked inside and asked us if we had any arms, which at first we were confused about till we realised he meant firearms. As this was our first visit I then had to leave the motorhome and the gates of customs to wonder outside and into an office to check something. I found an office with plain-clothes policemen inputting the immigration cards into the computer. They just took a look at my passport, matched it up with the form and then I was sent back to the motorhome. We were then free to leave the chaotic customs and go into Morocco. If this was just how customs were, what was the rest of the country going to be like!


We had decided to go straight out of Tangier and deal with it when we were more used to Morocco. So we just followed the signs out, thankfully easy to follow. As soon as we were out of the port we defiantly weren’t in Europe any more. Our first Islamic state, if not already rather westernised. The houses looked basic and half finished, but along side finished buildings. Groups of men were everywhere and all forms of transport seemed to be on the roads. We headed towards Tetouan on the North East coast of Morocco and a small town on the coast called Martil. On the way all the roads were lined with Moroccan flags, and the whole feeling was strange, a land we weren’t used to. Also people, mainly men, seemed to be everywhere. Wondering in towns, villages and in the country.

In Martil we drove along the new beachfront trying to find the campsite. We found signs eventually pointing down an uneven dirt track in between buildings. At first we thought it couldn’t be the road, but after another drive around, we found that it was indeed the road and we pulled into our first Moroccan campsite. We now needed to find a cash point, as we had no Dirham, the Moroccan currency. After a walk around the beach front past many café’s and people wondering about, we found no cash point. The guy at the campsite said he would take euros though, so we settled down in the motorhome for the night.

Friday 12th February

Got chatting this morning to a Scottish guy called Mike, who was also just in Morocco for the first time and travelling alone. He was having some insurance problems for Morocco. As his insurance company wouldn’t insure him and at present he wasn’t going any further, till he had sorted some. We said our insurance covered us third party for Morocco, so we were ok. We had already noticed on the travels a lot of police check points and police on the road and were told they do random checks and will always want to see all your documents. So really to be on the safe side he needed to sort the insurance out.

We also got chatting to an older English man called Arthur, he and his wife had been to Morocco many times, so he gave some good advice and showed us his pictures. We were wanting to head further south today, so we said our goodbyes and took Mike’s details to be able to meet up with him later on and headed off. We were heading south towards the rif mountains and a town called Chefchaouen. The roads in Morocco aren’t the best, but saying that they weren’t either in Portugal. There are many holes and the roads are just in bad condition. You can’t get up much speed or you’ll just suddenly hit a hole or a bit of missing road. So our journey was slow. Also in Morocco you have to try and work out what the other drivers are going to do. There are Mercedes vans and cars everywhere and they are always suddenly pulling over to pick people up, who wait for lifts by the side of roads. Also there are mopeds darting all over the shop and Donkey’s, so it makes driving interesting! People and especially the grand taxi’s seem to like taking over just before blind bends and at junctions, as queuing doesn’t really happen it’s everyone for themselves. When we arrived in Chefchaouen, we had even more fun trying to find the campsite. We followed signs up through the village, slowly winding up the hill and then over a road that was still being built or having major repairs? When we got there though, the campsite had great views over the town and we were at the very foot of the Rif Mountains. We decided to head off for a walk around the town, the Medina (old town) and Souq (markets).


Now the Rif mountains although they looked beautiful are also home to most of Morocco’s Hash growing. As soon as we walked out the campsite we saw people coming from by the hills heading straight for us, as soon as they had said hello and you responded they were trying to sell us hash. We had learnt one phrase in Arabic that came in very handy, La Shukran (No thank you). So after a while walking with us they gave up and wondered off. Then we were free to carry on our walk down the hill and into the town. We had a wonder around the town, now with local currency, looking at the narrow streets and market stores that make up the Souq before heading back to the campsite. On the way back again and in fact every time we stepped out the campsite gates we were hassled by sellers.


We settled down for the night in the secure surroundings of the campsite, finding Morocco a strange place, and not as yet feeling comfortable here. There are always people everywhere and staring, but still it was our second day it would probably take a while.

Posted by marklorna 18:04 Comments (0)

(Entries 36 - 40 of 88) Previous « Page .. 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 13 .. » Next