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Route taken: Toledo, Madrid, Avila, Salamanca – 269 miles

Route taken: Algeciras, Gibraltar, Malaga, Cordoba, Ciudad Real, Orgaz, camped near Toledo – 353 miles

Dark at eight o’clock in the morning – we are not liking this at all. Wish we were back in Africa! We held out getting out of the tent until the sun came up. We got going not long after.

First stop Gibraltar. A salute to the bobby on patrol near the Customs post. Hat on, covering his face and his hands tucked into his bullet proof vest as is the normal position for UK policeman looking busy. We went in search of Toyota Stockholdings. Any time spent travelling in Africa and you will recognise this sticker on the back of most UN, Red Cross or MSF Landcruisers. The small office inside Gibraltar provides all new vehicles to Humanitarian agencies working in Africa. A weird sight, seeing Landcruiser ‘troopies’ parked in high-rise parking lots just waiting for the next ship to the danger zone.

We wanted a quick check of the vehicle. We had a warning light come on and thought it was best to check it. It proved to be nothing major, so we headed on. I gave Bun a whizz around the rock and the town.

Taking it as it came, we decided to head for La Mancha plateau. We would wild camp somewhere off the road. Well that was the plan. We made good ground. No time for sightseeing in Southern Spain – maybe another time. We were aiming for Toledo the next day. One of the former capitals of the Spanish empire, it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its monuments and culture. Set on a mountain top surrounded on three side by the Tagus river. A crowd pleaser. It’s a very impressive sight, seeing the old town as we drove up to it from the south.

A leap across the Straits of Gibraltar and we will have landed back in Europe. We will be eating tapas on Friday somewhere in southern Spain!

A new cartoon from Tony under the Bukina Faso blog from September. Al getting maleria gets the ‘toon treatment. Thanks Tony!

27/10/2010 – Fes to Chefchaouen (Got a bit further. Made it to Martil on the Mediterranean coast (186 miles) – Route taken: Fes, Ouazzane, Chefchaouen, Tetouan, Martil – Morocco

28/10/2010 – Martil to Algeciras – route taken: Martil, Cueta (Spanish enclave, duty free!), ferry crossing 1hr, Algeciras (Spain), staying somewhere on the road from Algeciras and Cadiz – 44 miles (a short distance, but hey! we are back in Europe)

One of the easiest crossings so far. Very easy to get tickets for the half hour or hour ferry depending on how deep you want dive in your pocket. We were in no rush and managed to get a price for 95 euros for the two of us and the vehicle. We were in Cueta by midday and went for the ferry at three.

The Rock of Gibraltar is the first and main sight as you approach Europe. In a flash we were driving of down the coast. Roads you hadrly have to think on. Signposts everywhere!

We found a camp down the coasts towards Cadiz.



Bun was felling ill yesterday (Tuesday) with a high temperature of 38.4. She rested up last night and feels much better today. We were worried it was something serious from Equatorial West Africa taking it’s time to surface.

Fes may just win over Marrakech. Far less tourists to bump into and the old median Fes el Bali is great to get lost in as you wander up and down narrow lanes. Dates and olives look amazing as it is now the season for buying them. We stopped and sampled every variety at one shop. Green and black olives soaked with lemon or harissa paste (Tunisian chilli paste, made from piri piri, chilli pepper or serano pepper and olive oil), are really good. Sometimes made strong enough to blow your head off.

Bun has been keen to try pastilla again, the best of Moroccan cuisine aside from the hearty tangine. It is a sweet and savoury flaky pastry filled with a subtle mixture of onion, pigeon (or chicken), hard-boiled eggs and almonds, and spiced with cinnamon. We had it in Marrakech in an expensive restaurant but were keen to try it on street level from a small cafe in the medina.

There are a number of modern variations containing fish, seafood or offal, but this is the classic version. It is a festive dish that is served at the beginning of special meals.

Huge bunches of mint everywhere. At least here they don’t have the annoying habit of giving you three cups, like in Mauritania, after which half the day has gone. Here it’s one cup and you are gone. They mix it fresh on its own or add some Chinese green tea to the bottom of the pot to give it strength. They call it Moroccan whiskey.

The  ‘African Taxi’ donkey is used to carry large loads through the lanes. Any other form of transport is looked down on as some people try to modernise the process with motorbikes. Fes is great for workshops making a range of crafts. There is always banging going as men work metal into plates or lamps. Leather is also big. The medina has two very old tanneries. They stink, but it’s well worth seeing how they work.

Other than that, we’ve got the damage fixed on the Landcruiser from the time we hit the rock in Mauritania. Were aiming to head to Spain in two days time.

The ferry has been booked from Santander in Spain to Plymouth. We are meeting up with my parents in Plymouth before heading back to Herefordshire. We will have to wait a while before we see the bright lights of London again. We bypass France and the south-east of England to get the vehicle back  home in good time (and also avoid current fuel shortages caused by industrial action in France).

Route taken: Marrakech, Beni Mallal, El Kasiba, wild camped (206 miles), next day, Boulemane, Sefrou, Fes (155 miles)

Gorgeous drive north after Marrakech, with the colour of the trees slowly changing as we gained altitude. We ventured up a road that was the scenic route to Fes and decided to stop and wild camp for the night. Passed lots of farming villages as we got higher. It took a while for the land to flatten out and we headed off into a rocky field to find cover. It reminded us of Albania, early on in our trip. Feeling the cold finally last night. A taster of what is to come!

We overdid it in Mauritania – our way of finishing off our adventures in West Africa. It has made us take it easy before we cross into Spain next week. We could have crossed old tracks in the south, but have decided to give ourselves and the vehicle a rest. A few odd sounds coming from the driveshaft on the left side, so we think the cv joints are on the way out. One for when we get back!

We’ve been listening to:

We have ground to a halt in Marrakech and seem to be in no rush. Making the most of the last good weather, maybe. We must be getting closer to Europe when we see camper vans and old Frenchmen in tight swimwear!

Planning our next move to hit Europe sometime in the next two weeks.

A year on the road today (Friday) – a reason to celebrate! We may stick around in Agadir or race to Marrakech, 2 hours away.

Route taken: Tan Tan, Gueimim, Tiznit, Agadir – 227 miles

We’ve made it to Agadir. Bun has a family friend who runs a surf school here, twenty minutes up the coast, so we are passing by and staying with him for a few days.

A few little things to get done on the Land Crusier before we make our next move.

Were watching: Mad Men: Season 3


Route Taken: Boujdour, Laayoune (capital of Western Sahara), Tarfaya, Sidi Akhfennir, Tan Tan – 297 miles

Making up the miles – a  long lonely coastline. There were a  few options to explore the coastline a bit closer using off-road routes , but we continued on the main road north.

We cross the border between Western Sahara and Morocco proper. We use Tan Tan as a base for the night, arriving early so that we have time ot relax in the evening.

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