You may well have picked up by this point that we've had some vague plans for Morocco for a while now. Those plans came into fruition when fellow bloggers Catherine and Chris of The World Is Our Lobster expressed an interest at a joint effort and the plan eventually came together in a Lidl carpark just outside of Algercias.
As every motorhome traveller will know there is no place more fitting and this particular car park was chockerblock with vans all returning from the legendary Carlos' ticket office equipped with a bottle of Brut and a slab chocolate cake and before long we were both armed with the same.
With tickets booked for the following morning, what followed was perhaps in hindsight ill advised; an evening fueled by 59c a litre Lidl wine as we enthusiastically swapped stories over Catherine's fantastic home cooked cottage pie.
The next morning, after discovering much to our disappointment that Mc Donald's in Spain don't open for breakfast, we headed for the lunchtime ferry to Ceuta. The crossing was naturally pretty rough and coupled with the night before C&C fared better than us, but at least none of us were sick!
The beauty of this crossing is you don't disembark into Moroccan madness, you're still in Spain complete with a Lidl and Spanish mobile phone coverage. Chris and Catherine are the undisputed motorhoming king and queen of border crossings, having exited and re-entered the European union on countless occasions; we are, by comparison, utter novices having only crossed nonthreatening minor European non-schengen borders.
Some of the huge loads on the road system.
As we approached we envisaged a scene of utter chaos at the border and we weren't far wrong. Adam and Chris stayed with the vans fending off various official looking Moroccans while Catherine and Sophie went off to get all of the official forms for both personal and vehicle immigration stamped and signed. We did in fact enlist the help of Mohammed and his friend, also Mohammed, for the pricey sum of €5 and we began the squeeze through the queuing traffic jumping to the front of the queue past about 20 vehicles and up to the border officials. There are mixed views on if you should do this, but in our case the help we received in jumping the queue was useful and greatly reduced our time at the border but you don't actually need any assistance with regards to the paperwork.
"Alcohol no problem, but no pistols!" he quipped in excellent English before the inevitable line "and a tip for Mohammed?". A few more flashes of passports and paperwork later we had crossed the border and stopped briefly to withdraw some Dirhams at a cashpoint we headed to the town of Asilah where the night was spent in guarded motorhome parking in view of the city walls.
The Murals in Asilah
Guarded Parking in Asilah
Morocco is everything you imagine it to be; overloaded trucks, impromptu shanty towns and shops and markets piled high with wares of all description. Our first stop was Asilah, the town famous for its painted murals on buildings and we enjoyed a well deserved and inexpensive tea in a street side cafe. This time it wasn't just the wine that was 59c a litre, we brimmed our Diesel tanks for not much more then that from a local Shell en route.
The excellent Campsite 'Le Relais' outside Marrakesh
The following morning we made 550km trip down an excellent toll road system (costing £17.20 for the duration and well worth it) down to Marrakesh where we are now camped at 'Lobster By Camper' HQ enjoying beautiful weather and fantastic BBQ'd Moroccan meat. What could be better! We've even had time to make friends with the locals, giving Mustafa a lift back from the supermarket where he was promoting the campsite to shopping motorhomers.
The 'Lobster By Camper' HQ and our new friend Mustafa
Access to the internet has thankfully been no problem either, thanks to a Maroc Telecom dongle for the princely sum of £15 including two months unlimited usage. The connection here is so good it allowed streaming of the Bury match for Chris and a couple of hours work for Adam, it's safe to say the plan for the rest of our trip is coming together nicely!