Tanger Med 05/04/2015
Firstly sorry for the Video in the last blog not playing. This was due to The Eagles, a faded seventies pop combo, not allowing their music to be used for home videos. Get a grip you has-beens. It has now been fixed.
We are sitting in the van just about to start to watch one of the new Midsomer Murders with David, Carol, a bottle of Red and a whiff of Pastis. We are here resulting from a marathon drive after consulting the weather forecasts and the impending storm coming to this part of the world over the next week. And this is the story of how we got here. But before that this is where we are:
Ouzoud to Azrou 04/04/2015
Up early and a hearty breakfast before our departure from Camp Zebra. A campsite that grows on you. It is clean, well run with good food on offer and a welcoming laid back atmosphere. If there is a drawback, and now I am being petty is the long drive in and out if not to double back on yourself towards Marrakech. The waterfalls were impressive, especially in the Spring. We had the added bonus of being there just after a heavy snowfall and feeling the power generated by falling water is a memory that will stay with us forever.
We still have a dodgy memory card in the Dash Cam so the videos will not be forthcoming in this entry I am afraid, but I will salvage what we have and incorporate it into a ‘best of Morocco’ Video. We will also write a country guide to Morocco at some time, probably over the summer period when we are back in the UK.
The road from Ouzoud to the Main Road, the N8, is not on the tourist trail and so, is single track at best, with most of the Tarmac missing. Default blistering views as standard help make the two hour journey ‘out’ a pleasure. Here are a couple of pictures for you:
Our plan at this stage was to head for Azrou for the night before moving on to Meknes for a day or two. The plan was not solid with the only date set was to be in Granada for the 14th. We started by making excellent progress along the Route National N8, the road being of European standards as far as Kasba Tadla. Unfortunately this is where the good news ends as the road and accompanying weather went on a downhill spiral. Heavy traffic and a patchy road surface made the next three hours made for an exhibition of supreme concentration. A task I am not used to, but we survived and pulled into the surreal campsite of Azrou after a six hour marathon.
We only stopped the once on the journey for a picture as we were concerned we would go into some kind of post-adrenalin meltdown and not be able to drive again.
OK, the feeling what a brave little soldier I am bit is over. It is time to resume with the blogging. We had checked in to the DisneyLand of Morocco and were a bit shocked to see nothing was either open or working. Speaking to a chap on the site it seems it was down to a planning permission issue. My guess, with the owners being the Emirates Airline, is it is more of a baksheesh issue. It is a real shame as the place would be truly excellent if the problem was solved as one can see no money had been spared in the construction. Some may not agree with some of the architectural choices but that would be just plain petty. Firstly the location:
and secondly the pictures:
The town of Azrou itself has a French Alpine outlook in both feel and design. Yes it has probably faded since its colonial heyday but is still worth a visit. You can join the pilgrims and climb to the top of the reek within the town centre and look out over the vast plains below.
We had not been in the van long, I was beginning to salivate over the thought of an ice-cold Flag sitting in the fridge, when there was a tap on the door and the welcoming smiles of a British couple beamed up. Carol and David were the owners of the beamings and after a quick exchange of pleasantries we spent the evening in the van chatting, drinking fizz, and eating bread and butter. Sometimes it is the simple things.
The morning we awoke to a slight fuzziness and a rapping on the door of the gratis Pan Man. A freshly made Nutella baguette was followed by a check on the weather and the sad news the impeding storm was now going to hit a day earlier and last until Thursday the following week. We had the choice to stay in Morocco till Friday and then head straight for Granada, missing out Ronda and Gibraltar, or head for the coast. We went for the coast and a six hour drive to Asilah. We made a promise to come back to Morocco and visit the North East at a later date.
The weather when we left Azrou was damp, cold and foggy. This was a shame as there appeared to be some wonderful landscapes before we joined the Motorway just South of Meknes. An un-eventful five hour trek across Morocco followed and we rolled into Asilah at about 16:30. After a quick conversation with David and Carol viz. the weather we decided to have a quick bite to eat and make for the port to catch the Midnight Ferry to Algercias. I also engaged some local lads to give the van a bit of a wash and rid it of most of the Saharan based flotsam that was now taking root.
This was the first time we had driven at night and it was not the best of times due to the ‘lads’ washing the windscreen in dirty water and the VanBitz inspired headlight adjustment that just annoyed every single motorist resulting in them flashing us.
We made the port at about 9 and after a pretty painless transit through customs we found ourselves dockside with a two hour wait. So we all crowded in the van with some wine and nibbles and watched the latest Midsomer offering.
The ship was about 45 minutes late on leaving but zipped across the straits and we were parked up among many French vans on their way to Morocco outside Lidl’s in Algercias by 4am.
We woke about 10am to do some shopping and say goodbye to David and Carol, they were on their way back to the UK for an MOT and we were heading to our own little bit of the UK some 8Km away, Gibraltar.
Here are some pics of us in Algercias
To conclude, we loved Morocco and we will go again, not every year as some do. The scenery is special, the beaches are full of rubbish, the prices are so so cheap, the people are genuine and friendly, and the shouty men wake you up every morning at 5am.
But now we are back in Europe.
Love to all