May 06, 2007 GMT
Kif in the Rif

Still heading south to try for the warmth of more Mediterranian climes...First stop Donana for another birding spot and LOTS of sand. Spotted some purple chickens (one for Paul and Jane there), short-toed eagle, glossy ibis (even Imogen thought they were cool) and purple heron (what is it with this colour?!) Typically, we got fantastically lost, ended with a 15km ride through deep sand with Imogen walking, luckily James remembered a groovy tip from Chris Scott about letting air out of the tires and hey! it works - result. Alas, we were discovered by a ranger who reminded us that we were in a national park, small worry that we would have to turn back, through the sand and with the light fading fast...


Onto Cadiz where there are no hostels or camping, madess! Again with the light fading, another gorgeous free camping spot on the dunes by the old walls beckoned.

The great thing about travelling and being in random places is the people that say hello, one memorable moment was the Portugese lorry driver carrying several tonnes of oranges, so we gladly accepted his offer of an immense vitamin C and fructose rush.

We headed to the port for the boat to Morocco, slighty nervous at the prospect! We can't quite believe that we were fleeced by a Spanish policeman even before we got onto Moroccan soil officially, pah! The Moroccan officials were scandalised at this behaviour, from an Euro official too (so were we!)

One of our first stops was the fantastically mellow Chaoun, soon to be twinned with Glastonbury I'm sure! We even met the owner of Starchild by our hotel, what a small, small world. The Rif Valley grows mainly one crop, yup, kif (or for you Brits, grass), so drug busts are common, but it did add an air of total chill out vibe to the place!


Still heading south to try and find warmth (must head out of the mountains, as the pass yesterday was 1907metres...brrrrr....). Onto Volubilis, a huge Roman city near Meknes so Imogen could get some ruins in.

True to form, we've had our brush with carpet buying and yes, a lovely Bedouin tapis made from camel hair is now (hopefully!) winging its way back to dear old Blighty, must learn to say no.

Had our first brush with the speeding police (!) but when they found out that we weren't with the Spanish 4x4's (who WERE speeding) and Imogens charm offensive in her best GCSE French (thanks Mr Sadler!) were were sent on our way with nothing but smiles and cheery handshakes - phew.

Now attempting the great Erg Chebbi, so we are surrounded by rufty tufty bikers all eager to get going. Apparently one of the local bridges is down from the uber storm yesterday (so were the roads for a while - your intrepid travellers decided on a hotel for the night rather than camping - what wimps!)

Final note to the London and Tonbridge aiki lot that graded - well done, all stars the lot of you, and Paul, you'd better be a 1st kyu by the time we're back!!)

Posted by Imogen Mitchell at May 06, 2007 10:48 AM GMT

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