October 17, 2010

120 days, Goodbye Europe, Hello Africa - New adventures on a new continent……

Countries visited – Spain & Morocco
Miles travelled – 2365
Sunny days – 26
Coldest night – 13’C at the start of the High Atlas Mountains
Warmest days – 44’C on the desert piste on the edge of the Sahara / Algeria
Highest mountain pass travelled – 9479 ft on a mountain track in the High Atlas Mountains
Cheapest fuel – £0.58/l in Morocco
Best food tasted – the syrupy pastries we tasted in the Chefchaouen medina for breaking the fast
Worst meal – Meal at restaurant in Fez medina……subsequently made all in the group ill
Best wild camp – in the desert….amazingly quiet and even better star gazing
Most useful things – a small spray bottle to spray our faces in the desert for some cool relief, sarongs (multi-use as a skirt, towel, ‘blanket’, sunshade etc.) and our hammocks which double as a 3rd or 4th seat around the camp fire
Least useful things – the ignorant/selfish teenage Spanish boys that kept us awake till 5am in Tarifa

1) Visiting Gibraltar to do some admin/banking. A very bizarre place stuck in a 1983 time warp. The thing that is saddening is that it is next to a very poor Spanish town that has crumbling roads and a lot of visible poverty.
2) The legacy of plastic pollution in Morocco as well as the smell of burning refuse. Added to this was seeing the devastation that erosion and flash flooding have on people struggling to make ends meet.
3) Seeing the direct impact of the wrong type of tourism….the type of tourism where people have clearly driven through villages and given handouts like masses of pens, stickers, paper, clothes, toiletries etc. It does leave a bit of a sour taste when you get mobbed by people who just want things from you.

1) Visiting the Alhambra in Granada. This is one fine place to spend a day with hundreds of years of history, art, gardens, architecture, monarchy and religion to marvel over.
2) ‘Hotboxing’ aka one of us sitting in the back of the Landy whilst having our friend Chad travelling with us for a few days….really fab having had Chad spend this time with us….we miss you!!
3) Throwing ourselves into Moroccan life whilst staying in Chefchaouen during part of Ramadan. This little town has an amazing little Medina with most walls painted in amazing blue hues. The buzziest part of the day started about an hour before fast broke and it was fab seeing everybody getting ready by collecting food from the communal bake house, collecting water, buying fruit and all the hustle and bustle around this.
4) Spending 3 days in the desert. Hot and dusty but wow!! All the different landscapes were amazing.
5) Having children run up to us merely to say hello, smile (the biggest smiles ever) and wave. It was an absolute pleasure seeing this in very rural areas. More heartening was when we had whole families greeting us and welcoming us to their village.
6) We slept in our first proper bed since Holland!!! We stayed in a little hotel on day 114 and it was quite strange being in a room instead of the roof tent.
7) Visiting the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. We would recommend this to everybody!!! Really interesting  and it’s one of the few mosque’s that non-Muslims may visit and it’s the third largest one in the world (St Peters in Rome easily fits inside)

1) Nick and I got ‘remarried’ with our new €1 wooden wedding rings in Tarifa, Spain
2) I got seasick for the very first time ever on the ferry over to Africa!!
3) We have got better at not being too messy whilst doing oil changes on Dassie. Finding a cardboard box can do wonders at being tidy.
4) Wherever we stopped to wild camp in Morocco regardless of how far away you think you are from villagers we always had two boys come to see us. Some arrived on foot, by donkey or by motorbike. They usually have something to sell too like some goats milk, the strangest thing we were offered was a lizard on a leash!

Nick & Vicki
Stonehenge to Cape Town 2010/11

Just some of the books we found useful on the trip

Africa Adventure Atlas  Lonely Planet Africa on a Shoestring  Lonely Planet Healthy Travel Africa (Lonely Planet Healthy Travel Guides)  Lonely Planet Europe Phrasebook  Africa: Lonely Planet Phrasebook

No comments: