Week 3 - Estepona in Spain to Cap Spartel in Morocco.
Mom and Dad tanked it across Spain and joined us on Monday evening. We had a few days relaxing, BBQing and drinking Sangria in Estepona. Got chatting to a Dutch chap who was also staying on the campsite. He and his wife are travelling around Africa for 12 months, but were stuck in Spain waiting for their carnet de passage to turn up. They were in a 15 tonne, ex UN, cruise missile truck, which we worked out did 13mpg. Bonkers!
We left Estepona on Thursday and headed along the coast to La Linea de la Conception. We had been reliably informed there was a campsite there conveniently located for visiting Gibraltar. Went round and round, but no sign of it. Had a quick trip into Gibraltar for some petrol and shopping at Morrisons, which was a bit surreal. Finally found a place to stay in San Roque as the sun was setting.
Back to Gibraltar on Friday. We went on the bike and Mom and Dad parked the van up and went on the bus. Unfortunately they had to pay, as their bus passes don’t work on Gibraltar. To get onto the rock itself you have to drive across the airport runway and we got stuck for about 15 mins to let the planes go by.
Gibraltar is a mad place. Definitely British, but with a heavy Spanish influence. We rode around the whole island and the road takes you through some really long tunnels cut out of the rock. The roads are quite narrow so the place is packed with scooters. I’ve never seen so much bike parking! We did the touristy thing and caught the cable car to the top of the rock to see the view and the monkeys.
On the way up everyone is warned not to get too close etc. as they are wild animals. They are certainly clever. One snook up behind an unsuspecting gentleman unzipped his rucksack and stole his sandwiches. Luckily his wife thought it was hilarious so it was ok to have a bit of a giggle.
Out of Gibralter to Algeciras, where the ferry to Morocco leaves from. Searched all round the houses and along the coast, but couldn’t find a campsite, so gave up and carried along the coast to Tarifa. Using the campsite Wi-Fi in the bar and got talking to Brendan and Eithne an Irish couple touring Europe for 6 months with their dog Charlie. Their blog is here http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/CrustyEithne/ . Finally staggered to bed at 2 after a cracking evening and drinking all their beer, oops.
Saturday it threw it down. Massive thunder and lightning storm. Ant was really grumpy, he’s convinced it’s raining on us personally! Want to get to Morocco ASAP to get out of the rain, but Mom and Dad still recovering from their many miles across Spain, so we had to say goodbye again. This time was definitely harder than saying goodbye at home. Stopped in Tarifa on the off chance there was ferry from there, rather than going all the way into Algeciras and 30mins later we were on the sea and off to Morocco. 5 mins after that we were both feeling really sick. The sea was rough and we had caught the small catamaran ferry which hit every single wave and, I’m convinced, a few that weren’t there. All we could do was sit and stare at the table as all other movement would lead to unpleasantness.
Got our passports stamped by a policeman on the ferry and they were checked again as we got off the boat. That was easy I thought, then we got to customs. The customs chap took Ant’s logbook and asked us to park up. I was told to wait with the bike and they took Ant off to the customs offices where he had to go to various rooms and get lots of different stamps. He was gone for ages and I was begging to wonder if he was coming back! 10 euros and 2 packets of fags later and we had a temporary import paper for the bike allowing it into Morocco until February. We left the port, it was still chucking it down with rain and the traffic was mental, so we took refuge in a McDonalds until the worst of the weather passed. Heading out of Tanger and the culture shock kicked in as we saw a chap walking his camels up the road. The Tanger roads were all flooded so after a considerable amount of puddle navigation we took the road towards Cap Spartel. We found a campsite and fell into bed a bit soggy.
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