Rock of Gibraltar

The day spent in Gibraltar was followed by a last night in Europe at a Tapas bar in Las Lineas. Finding a campsite was a sample of what Africa will be like, narrow tracks and low wires!
On to Algeciras for the ferry crossing, where we nearly lost Denise as she went on a wander! Luckily the ferry was held up by a car carrier that got stuck on the ramp due to a too low hitch on his trailer!

A calm crossing was followed up by a raid on the cash and carry in Ceuta , where we stocked up on non perishables and quite a bit of duty free booze, then the truck was filled to the gunnels with diesel.

Stock Take

The border into Morocco was fairly painless, then on to the beach at Martil, where camp for the night was set up. Now for the first Medina !
Tetouan is a fairly bustling town that was the capital of the Spanish Protectorate from 1912-1956, giving it a unique Hispano-Moorish atmosphere. We hit the Medina (a UNESCO world heritage site) to buy some fresh food, and also some pots to furnish the kitchen. Our guide took us deep into the bowels and inevitably to his “cousins” Berber workshop (read carpet shop) for Moroccan whiskey (strong, sweet mint tea) and the hard sell. Perhaps the fact that most were a bit on the knackered side, weakened the resistance and a few items were purchased. After our tough bargaining we left with our hard won wares and headed back to camp for a well deserved dinner.

Tetouan Shop

Next day, we headed up some steep winding roads to Chefchaouen, arriving around lunch time. After a stock take and stow of our truck stores, most headed in to the delightful Medina . Bright blue buildings, red tiled roofs and narrow streets converge on a cool central square. All set beneath the peaks of the Rif Mountains.
Much more chilled than the madness of Tetouan, we spent two nights there before heading to Rabat for the great visa hunt.
The road to Rabat wound down the Rif mountains, along the “scenic” (read steep and windy) route through the towns of Ouzzane, Souk-el-Arba-du-Rharb and Kenitra, where a rather irate Gendarme ticked me off for not using the truck route through town! Then into Sale , where we are camped next to the Medina wall. Rabat itself is just across the river. An amazing amount of construction is happening, a huge marina is going up and all the land on this side of the river bank is earmarked for it. Saudi money apparently.

Steve H, Duncan and Wes (now known as the three stooges) along with Paul and Chris headed into Rabat for some nightlife and were caught up in the local euphoria of a 2-2 draw between France and Morocco . The rest: Chris T, Kath, Jaap, Denise, Steve C and Gary had a rather relaxed evening in the campsite. Just as well really, as that is where we met Alex and received the news of the Mauritanian embassy closure, in Casablanca, there is one in Rabat though, so ‘pas de probleme’

As we are here over a weekend, most are heading into Casablanca on the train. Our first application goes in Monday morning. Luckily I got forms on Friday just before the Malian embassy shut for the weekend, so I can do that while all enjoy the sights. Then Tuesday we will hit the Mauritanian embassy and be away hopefully that afternoon. Then it is on to Fes and the High Atlas, Brrrr!

‘I believe I was born under a roaming star, and I must say, I infinitely preferred this…way of life, unshackled as it was, to the artificial stupidity of civilisation.’
Mrs Colonel Elwood from Narrative of a journey overland from England , 1830