December 03, 2011 GMT
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Week 4 - Cap Spartel in Morocco to Mohammedia in Morocco

Weíre in Africa and itís raining, thereís something wrong there!

Stayed in Cap Spartel till Tuesday waiting for the weather to improve and the culture shock to lessen. I really wasnít prepared for how hard it would be to go out of the relative familiarity of Europe. It was all a bit scary, still is, but itís getting better. Everything is different here, the landscape, the culture, the people and the first time we have encountered real poverty. Everything is hard work, getting food, finding places to stay etc. Iím hoping itís something weíll get used to the more travelling we do.

Set off Tuesday morning, decided to stick to the coast and head towards Casablanca. We had been told by Debbie, who we met in the campsite, that hotels are pretty cheap in Morocco so we thought weíd try one out, as the thought of a hot shower and a real bed were irresistible. Strange place Morocco, you canít tell if itís falling down or just being built. We passed loads of abandoned buildings with new construction going on next door, but nothing is finished and no one appears to be working on anything. Perhaps the builders have stopped for the winter and all will be a hive of activity again in spring.

Arrived in Larache and found the lovely, if a bit tired, Hotel Espania.


The staff were all really friendly, took Ant to a safe garage to park the bike and recommended a few restaurants to try out in town. We went to the Restaurant Atlantique and had our first taste of eating out in Morocco. Something must have got lost in translation as neither of us got what we ordered, but the food was lovely anyway. Stayed in Larache an extra day so we could explore the town. Went to the local bike shop, the lookout point, the market and the sea front. Stood watching the Atlantic waves crashing in for ages.


The next morning we braved a trip to the post office to send some snail mail. Had to stand in the back and try and figure out how it worked. There were a load of different counters and no discernible queuing system, but we got there in the end.

Carried on south towards Rabat and passed a weekly market. Traffic madness, there were people and cars and trucks and donkeys everywhere. There was also a policeman with a whistle, but he didnít seem to be making much of an impression on the traffic!
Stopped for a coffee and a bite to eat and realised the sore throat I had woken up with had turned into a cold. Oh No! After all those vaccinations Iíve been struck down with the common cold. Well thatís a bit melodramatic but I felt pretty rough. Headed on south along the coast, but no campsites and ended up riding into Rabat in rush hour with about 20 mins before the sun went down. No other option but to get a hotel for the night so we checked into the Hotel Bouregreg. Finally managed to get hold of my Mom and Dad and discovered they are in Morocco too! Have passed us on the road and are close to Casablanca. Agreed to meet up with them the next day.

Made the most of the hotel breakfast Friday morning. Ant had 4 plates of cake. Took some mad riding and a few u turns before we got out of Rabat on the right road. Went past the royal palace, but you couldnít see anything just lots of guards with guns. Following the coast road and the scenery was beautiful, but my cold had developed into a full blown snot fest so not really able to appreciate it. Found my parents at the Campsite LíOcean Bleu and gratefully collapsed in their campervan with a cup of tea and some beachams tablets. I wimped out that night and slept in the camper. I wonder if itís too late to employ Mom and Dad as support crew.

Saturday morning one of the local fishermen came round the campsite selling that mornings catch so we haggled for a couple of fish, we think they were sea bass. Everyone went shopping and left me feeling sorry for myself in the camper. Back at the site we made friends with a scruffy looking dog we called Bob. The fish were amazing grilled on the BBQ. Ant slept in the tent with Bob the dog, as I stayed in the van again.


On Sunday we were woken to the sound of drums and shortly after 3 coachloads of Moroccans arrived. The campsite caretaker explained that they put on food and a show every Sunday and the local people have a day out to the seaside. All 3 coachloads trooped across the campsite to use the toilets and to have a look at the strange English people. At one point a little girl just stood and pointed and laughed at Ant, but he has that effect on most people not just Moroccans.

Ant got bored with me sniffling and generally being pathetic, so he went for a ride. Headed up into the mountains and was flagged down by some of the Northern Eagles, a bike club from Casablanca.


He also had a brief brush with Moroccan law enforcement as he accidentally went onto the toll motorway slip road and rode back up it the wrong way. They let him go when they realised he didnít speak any French so that was lucky. Tried to cook the Turkey thighs we had bought from the shop on Saturday, but they turned out to be Turkey bottoms! When we looked it up the packet did say Turkey tails so we resolved to make better use of the phrasebook when shopping.

Posted by Nikki Robinson at December 03, 2011 09:54 PM GMT

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