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  1. #121
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Tampa, FL


    Wow, what an adventure! Thanks for sharing and the photos are amazing.
    '04 XC70 AWD CrossCountry 2.5T
    '99 Land Rover Discovery I (sold )
    '86 Saab 900i (sold a long time ago...)

  2. #122
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Quote Originally Posted by 9dawgs View Post
    Wow, what an adventure! Thanks for sharing and the photos are amazing.

    We ain't finished yet!

  3. #123
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Stage 40 “Azrou to Fes”

    “Salam Alikam”

    On the road again, but this time a short ‘hop’ (Hopefully!) and after a right turn out of the campsite it was straight into ‘Hill Climbing’ mode for ‘Flamenco Red’ as we climbed out of Azrou……

    As we pass Azrou Airport which is quite small and what we would call ‘Regional’…..

    While the ‘Golf Ball’ at the back of the airport on a hill keeps a watchful eye on the skies around……

    Next city was Ifrane with its European style houses/flats…..

    While tucked away in various places we see patches of ‘Snow’!....

    Then we get to ‘countryside’ that looks quite barren and very rocky…..

    As we then come into a fruit growing area……

    Tie back ‘cloches’ for the very cold nights and mornings to stop the frost…..

    While for the local ladies the Donkey was the main form of transport……

    Having left the washing to dry out while they went off…..

    We thought at first that this was a river, but it is just saturated/waterlogged ground…..

    Some of last season’s crop for sale at the roadside…..

    OK, now we have to get through this lot…….

    And there’s more…..

    Derelict but once we think it looked nice…..

    Then we see the surging water on our right as it literally ‘jumps’ over obstacles in its path…..

    Not sure if this was an old Kasbah or a small Legionnaires Fort as it is on top of a hill with a good all round view….

    Garage with a novel way of advertising Tagine’s in their restaurant….

    Coming into the outskirts of Fes…..

    Off to school with Mum but on foot, no ‘School Run’ over here…..

    While a bit further up the road another ‘All Weather Waiter’ invites you to try his Tajine……

    The we get into some more roadworks, and thought the guy on the left of the truck was operating a Radar Gun, while in fact he was using a Theodolite, the Radar Trap was a bit further along and while on our side of the road, the ‘gun’ was being pointed the other way!

    Underneath the BIG ‘Palm Tree’ is a Traffic Island as the ‘Palm Tree’ is in fact a Mobile Communications Tower, and we turn left here for the Supermarket….

    While looking for a new cereal bowl which needs to be microwave safe, as mine has cracked we spot some…..

    Which was cheaper than the locally produced equivalent, and I also got my Microwave safe cereal bowl that was made in Portugal, and 50% less than what I paid in the UK for the one that has cracked!…..

    New housing in Fes, and there is lots of it springing up…..

    Nearing the campsite which is alongside the sports complex and a very big Football Stadium this greets us……

    With the main entrance just in front…..

    Interestingly as we completed the arrival/registration paperwork at ‘Camping International Fes’ we found that they wanted everything unlike any of the other campsites we have stayed on during this trip.
    Reception also wanted to retain one of our passports which I just got back by handing over an out of date camping discount card.
    Then we find that the cost for this glorified ‘Municipal Campsite’ is 130MAD/Night which makes it the most expensive, and the plumbing we found out later is still crap, as the reports posted towards the end of last year by other campers on the Internet made known!

    tisbah `ala khair (Arabic ‘Good night’)

  4. #124
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Stage 40A “A day in Fes”

    “Salam Alikam”

    Well after a bit of a ‘review’ of this ‘International’ but Council owned campsite in Fes below are a few pictures of the place……

    WC/Shower/Laundry block of which there are 3…..

    The interior of which all are the same….

    The ‘Electric Water Heaters’ of which there are 6, 2 in each block…..

    However due to the electrical connections ‘missing’ or the heating element having blown up! Only 2 are working…..

    The Sports Stadium as we set off to get to the Old Town of Fes by BUS!

    Nicely coloured block of flats as we went down to the Bus Stop….

    The main road leading to the Bus…..

    Hoping to get a Number 38 Bus we then found it was no good for us so after a conversation with a Moroccan in German we then found that a Number 51 would take us to the Medina of the Old Town for the princely sum of 4MAD/Person which was a lot better than the 40MAD that we would have paid a Petite Taxi, and the trip on the Bus allowed us to see more than the Taxi would, so we got on the Number 51 and after around 20 minutes we got off at…..

    The view on the other side of Bab Ftouh Gate…..

    Then as you walk up the streets, alleyways you have visions of getting hopelessly ‘LOST’ as the walls close in, and the wooden structures seem to struggle to hold the walls apart!.....

    As we come to our first Mosque…..

    The off down the alleyways again we go…..

    Coming into one of the main open roads…..

    Where from the stall of these 2 nice Moroccan Gentlemen, I purchase a pair of ‘Crocs’ for the great price of 20MAD (Less than £2 or $3)

    Then it’s back into the narrow alleyways……

    With wooden beams continuing to hold the walls apart…..

    We come to the outside of the ‘Leather Tannery’ where the skins along the wall are being sorted, and seem to be Goat skins….

    While on the other side of the river the man under the yellow plastic cover is removing the wool from the skins…..

    We then spot this load of shoes on the lower wall of the river on the Tannery side and wonder if they came from Tannery Workers who ‘lost them’ while working?

    While further ‘upstream’ is this other group of workers also removing the wool from other skins…..

    While inside this doorway, is a human being (Man) who is removing the skins from a very large wooden drum after they have been washed…..

    A close up of one of the washed & removed skins…..

    As we then start to make our way around to the Tannery after being propositioned by a few ‘Guides’ who were all advised nicely that their services were not required, we pass by this rather nice gate….

    To an open area and a Coach/Bus with full air conditioning as it had no glass in its windows!....

    Then after a few hundred yards uphill and through some back alleys we are looking over the biggest collection of Leather Tanning Vats in Morocco and possibly the most famous in the world as well as possibly the oldest…..

    With the workers using a number of vats of different colours to tan the leather….

    OK, you want a Yellow one… they are drying out!

    The we move up to the roof of the building, which has a leather goods shop on every floor and there must be 5 floors, where you can see the mass of Satellite Dishes on each and every roof in ‘Old Fes’…..

    As we also get a good view of the reconstruction of the old bridge across the river….

    Before we head back downstairs and spot this nice picture on the wall as we pass by all the leather goods shops…..

    Then we find ourselves passing another Mosque…..

    While I spot this alleyway which you can barely squeeze through but is also shored up with timber!....

    While back around at the open area by the Bus with ‘Full Air Conditioning’ this is the sight that greets us on the sides of the river running through the city!....

    While this is the view from the other side of the road across the bridge……

    Then as we climb the steps alongside this grassy bank…..

    We find on the plants growing, literally thousands of…..

    And a Panoramic shot of the area

    While over on this other side we find…..

    As we made our way along I looked to my left and found this ‘Tunnel’ which with the wooden ‘Pit Props’ up the walls reminded me of the Coal Seams that you get to see for free, if you venture into South Wales in the UK and make a visit to ‘Big Pit’ where you can go 300ft underground into a Coal Mine, except the light in this one was a lot better…..

    Nice water outlet, but no tap!.....

    Next along was the Brass & Coppersmiths area of Fes…..

    Then the Library building of Qaraouiyine….

    While a small circular walk around the workshops of the copper & brass smiths….

    Brings us to the famous Mosque of Qaraouiyine….

    While this doorway down a side alley has the dates of 1274 & 1345 identified on a plaque alongside….

    After that it was time to head back to Bab Ftouh and get the Bus back to the place we got on and then by foot back to the campsite.
    It took 2 buses to clear the number of people waiting at the stop before we managed to get on the 3rd one and make the trip back…..

    An interesting day in all, while we are back on the road tomorrow and heading for the first place we stayed at when we entered Morocco on 10/12/2013….
    WOW! It doesn’t seem that long ago…..

    tisbah `ala khair (Arabic ‘Good night’)

  5. #125
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Stage 41 “Fes to Moulay Bousselham”

    “Salam Alikam”

    On the road again, after saying goodbye this morning to our friends and their 4+Tonne Camper as they are going to Meknes which we visited last year and we are going back to Moulay Bousselham for a couple of days before heading back to the Ferry across the Mediterranean……

    As we head out of Fes this morning you cannot help but notice the ‘East European’ style in the new blocks of flats that are being built in the city….

    While at 08:45 the streets become crowded again with traffic, and you need eyes in the back of your head as well as being able to move 180 degrees as the traffic comes at you…..

    The we get outside of the city and some half decent road off into the very green hills, but with low cloud and a good chance of rain…..

    ‘Hill climbing’ coming up, so down a notch in the ‘cogbox’ and wait for the ‘Growl’ from ‘Flamenco Red’ as we head up…..

    Passed that slow empty small truck that was in front in the previous picture and now coming to the top of this bit……

    The down the other side as we pass this young girl who was pout collecting ‘greens’ and putting them in the bags on the Donkey…..

    As we then pass this rather nice house with very good views from the balcony….

    Lots of Olive Trees on the hillsides…..

    With a small settlement up on another hill….

    Roadside stall for Oranges & Gurds….

    Roadside ‘Olive Oil shop’…..

    Plastic cloches for we think Potatoes……

    As the road goes on up and off into the distance…..

    Not sure what was grown under this plastic cover, but it was one complete piece held up with hundreds of poles…..

    The we saw the signs to reduce the speed to 20Kmph and this appeared in front of us, looked like the road had fractured…..

    Then into the next village…..

    While the ‘Voice’ in Tom Tom keeps telling me to ‘Keep left’….

    As we start to descend, before climbing up the other side and spot the Radar Trap, the field looks like a woven carpet of different shades of green & brown…..

    While the 2 workers manually spray the field with insecticide….

    Then a bit further along we see another example of ‘Donkey Ploughing’ except in this case the man is using 2 Donkeys….

    Passing another small settlement were presumably the people we passed who are working in the fields live….

    Then still climbing we come into…..

    As we catch up to the two vehicles in front and we are doing around 50Mph (80Kmph) we see….

    Then while taking a left hand bend, all is revealed, as the back of the van is full of people! While the guy in the Jelalaba ‘stepped out’ for a cigarette!…..

    Hay ricks in the field covered in plastic sheeting……

    Looked like an old quarry now being used for a rubbish tip…..


    For a minute as we came up to this traffic island I thought we were back in the dessert as the dust being kicked up was tremendous!……

    The railway line is the ‘Brown’ line running across the picture, while the road is at the bottom of the picture, and the Sheep grazed quite peacefully as the train went roaring through!.....

    Not sure if this was ‘Fertiliser’ for the land but there was one heck of a lot of it, nearly all covered in tarpaulins!.....

    ‘Manned’ railway crossing, and the ‘Man’ is just right of centre under his little sun canopy in the picture….

    Next village comes up and it’s ‘Souk’ (Market) day…..

    But they have painted one half of the Pedestrian Crossings all the way through the town and put barriers on the ‘wet bits’ to stop you driving over, while getting around them was a ‘cut and thrust’ exercise with the oncoming traffic…..

    Coming into the ‘Souk’ or going to school required a slightly different type of transport around here, namely a ‘Donkey Cart Taxi’……

    Glad I closed the window at this point…..

    As time was marching on and lunchtime had passed as I had a Tanker Truck hanging on the back of the ‘Tin Tent’ I decided to pull over in a clear area and have some lunch and let the ‘Trucker’ go off and irritate someone else for driving to close!....
    As we had lunch we noticed the small bundles of sticks on the other side of the road but have no clue as to what they could or would be used for….

    Glad we had consumed lunch when we saw the outside of this ‘eatery’ and thought about possible ‘burnt offerings’…..

    Then having got through that village we came to a part of the road that seems to get washed away regularly by the rains and river, as getting over the next 100 yards was quite a ‘Bumpy’ ride, even in 1st gear…..

    Loose ‘Pea Hens’ in the road….

    Interesting colour for a building….

    While the ‘luggage’ was tied on, the ‘Passenger’ once again hanging out of the back door was not…..

    Another ‘Souk’ in another village, with traffic mayhem and a 40Tonne Truck trying to overtake me in this lot!....

    Thankfully it was not much further to the campsite at Moulay Bousselham and while when we came out the place was nearly empty, now it was quite full, but more of that tomorrow…..

    BUT….as the Sun goes over the yard arm, and brightens up some other part of the World, here is the Sunset on the lagoon in Moulay Bousselham this evening….

    tisbah `ala khair (Arabic ‘Good night’)

  6. #126
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Stage 41A “A final day in Moulay Bousselham”

    “Salam Alikam”

    Yesterday evening late on it started raining, and only stopped around 05:30 this morning then at around 07:00 I saw a very large black cloud come in over the sea and through the Lagoon which did not give a feeling of a nice day ahead here on the campsite as I uploaded the previous stage of the Blog….

    Stepping outside ‘Flamenco Red’ had that ‘spotty brown’ covering again from the dust that had come with the rain, while the Solar Panels looked like this and were well down on their ‘power generating’ capability until I got back up on the ladder and cleaned them up….

    Before cleaning up……

    After cleaning up, but left the roof light as it was…..

    As we needed to go into the town we also had a wander around to where the fishermen sell their catch in the lagoon so went over to see what was on offer, and found a few Crabs, Sardines, Dorado, Sea Bass and some Sole fish…..

    As it has been some time since we have had fish we opted for a nice Sole which we brought back to the ‘Tin Tent’ cleaned up and prepared to BBQ tonight, then set off once again to get into town and get the things we need before heading back further North tomorrow…..

    Got back from our walk, had a bit of lunch, then I just washed the windows on ‘Flamenco Red’ as it would be nice to be able to see where we are going tomorrow. Then as we saw people rushing to put items away, the wind rose and the rain returned, so end of play for today!

    It did however stop raining a while later, while the clouds all but disappeared and our BBQ’d fish was cooked, and it was delicious!

    So as the end of the day draws near, the campsite has a lot more ‘campers’ than when we arrived in December 2013 when I think there was around 10, but there are over 100 here now, so here are a couple of shots…..

    While at last……
    After about 4 hours of ‘No Response’ last night from Maroc Telecom, I managed to upload this morning a 13 seconds Video of the ‘REDVAT’ in the Tannery at Fes with the man putting the skins in which will eventually be turned into all items of Red Leather…..

    Here is the direct link, which you will need to click on.....
    I hope it works….

    Have a good day, we are off further North today to get the Ferry back tomorrow to Spain, then after a specific visit recommended by some friends in NZ we are continuing on to Portugal, so we ain't finished yet!

  7. #127
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Stage 42 “Moulay Bousselham back to Algeciras”

    “Salam Alikam”

    Oh dear, as our time in Morocco comes to a close, it’s time to make our way back to the Ferry for the return trip to Spain…

    We make a point of going back via the ‘Toll Road’ after we got ‘Shook, Rattled & Rolled’ on one of the roads that TomTom brought us across on last year which had ‘depressions’ in the road that must have been approaching 12 inches deep!

    As we start off on the Toll Road after getting out of the campsite and making our way back we see more and more fields covered in Plastic Cloches, but not sure what is being grown, although we suspect ‘Soft Fruits’ like Strawberries & Raspberry’s…..

    While the rain from the days before we arrived in Moulay Bousselham have left great areas of land under water…..

    Initially the Toll Road heads towards Tangiers before curving to the right and Tanger Med…..

    With a large house on the hillside…..

    Clear road, but there was other traffic on it, trust me……

    Only one word for it…..’Flooded’….

    New property on the outskirts of Tangiers, which we suspect because of it’s location is primarily for vacation.….

    Now on the right hand bend of the Toll Road heading to Tanger Med….

    The ‘curves’ are rain water ducts which we think stop the rain from going straight down and causing high erosion as curving the flow reduces the erosion …..

    Car Manufacturing Plant, which is big but not as BIG as ‘Torslanda’ in Sweden, where ‘Flamenco Red’ was built!……

    Open road again, but a HUGE bridge just left off centre in the picture below… all is revealed a bit later!…..

    Single track Railway Line Bridge, stretches nearly across the picture below…..

    Then as we approach Ksar Sghir we decide to drive through the village as it has a direct approach to the ferry entrance…..

    Railway Bridge on the right and Toll Road what we are on!.....

    Toll Road Exit, time to ‘Pay Up & Look Happy’!..….

    Having ‘Paid Up’ we are now on what I would call the ‘Ski Run’!
    If you haven’t got any BRAKES then turn your wheels INWARDS to slow you down ‘cos this bit is very steep with an ‘Emergency Run Off’ into deep small stones which seems to get used quite a lot!....

    Then with the Railway Bridges going around and the STEEP road you are on the way down, FAST if you ain’t got no BRAKES!....

    Then as you get to the end of the Motorway and into the Ksar, you see Schoolchildren making their way along the hard shoulder……

    Turning right at the end of the road we start to make our way through the village….

    As construction continues on the second phase of Tanger Med, there are more and more concrete pieces and rocks being put in place…..

    Then we get onto the Port Entrance Road…..

    While we just make out the Train off to the left…..

    Parking for the check in area coming up…..

    OK, swing around the end of the concrete plinths and wait for the guy in the High Visibility Smock to start waving his arms, then park up and go to the ships offices to check in, as the guy waving his arms cannot provide or show his ‘credentials’…..

    After checking in and passing through the various checks including an X-Ray of ‘Flamenco Red’ + ‘Tin Tent’ we then sat on the Dockside as the shipping company could not advise us when the boat we should travel with would dock, due to ‘Weather Conditions’, while the sea is not far off a flat calm!

    P.s. We finally sailed 1.5hours late, while the 45 minute crossing also took 1.5hours….

    Dinner was at 09:45PM after we arrived at our overnight destination, while ‘Indigestion’ followed shortly after followed by a Rennies Indigestion tablet, while we listened to all the passing traffic with the prospect of not a lot of sleep was going to be forthcoming tonight!.....

    Who said ‘Travelling’ was ‘FUN!

    Buenos Noches (Spanish ‘Good night’)

  8. #128
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Stage 43 “Algeciras (Spain) to Castro Verde (Portugal)”

    “Buenos Dias”

    Oh well… Sum total of sleep last night was around 1 to 2 hours as Spain is 1 Hour ahead and getting an alarm call at 05:00 this morning meant that we were back on the road to ‘dodge’ the traffic very early, only to find that as we got out of Algeciras we came into either low cloud of foggy conditions which made photographs a joke, so as we got to Huelva in Spain we settled for getting a couple of pictures from our first point of interest today which is….

    The grave stone of……

    ‘The Man Who Never Was’ while below is the link to a rather fascinating true story, which if you would like to also have a read of, then here is the link.

    This is the church in the cemetery which is currently being refurbished so we could not go inside….

    While having enquired at the cemetery office as to the location a very helpful man who spoke no English understood exactly what we wanted when I just said ‘The Man Who Never Was’ and took us directly to his grave, on which it was nice to see the BIG Red Poppy…..

    As we then came out of the cemetery we are asked by ‘Jane’ in TomTom to ‘Turn right’ which takes us across country on a road very similar in condition to some of the back roads in Morocco and we come to this ‘thing’ on the roadside of which we have not a clue as to what it is or what it does, but it looks like a chimney!…..

    While this bridge is just wide enough to get the ‘Tin Tent’ across!!…..

    Then back onto to Motorway which had no charges for using it……

    As we approach the Portuguese Border we then see this sign for the Toll Roads in Portugal but as we do not intend to use them, then we did not call in to present any credit cards for future payment.….

    Up and over this bridge and we are effectively…..

    In Portugal……

    Then just after this large sign we ‘Exit stage Right’ as that’s when you start to incur Toll Road charges….

    As the first village comes into view as we exit….

    Then it’s the open, sweeping, hilly road going north for a few miles……

    Then we make a left turn off that nice winding road and again start to go across country……

    Now after another left turn, we are on the smaller/narrower roads that go between the smaller villages…..

    With passing place for anything going faster or coming towards you!...

    Thankfully the road was quiet which let us reach the outskirts of Castro Verde without having to go ‘3 wheels on and 3 wheels off’ as we did in Morocco!

    Carried on through to the campsite, checked in and got set up and felt completely worn out after our 05:00AM start, so that’s it for today!

    With hopefully a good human ‘re-charge’ for both of us overnight and the camera battery we can do some more tomorrow!...

    Boa Tarde (Portuguese ‘Good night’)

  9. #129
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Calgary, Alberta


    I think that I was asleep for the crossing. Did it have "weather conditions" with the longer crossing time?

    A lot of nice pictures. More infrastructure than in the full desert areas in Morocco. Everything getting green, envy you as we are still in the depths of winter here.
    Nice seeing the areas on the smaller roads in Portugal.

    The picture of the Stork in flight is great.

  10. #130
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    We could have done with '40 winks' on that crossing had we known what we were in for later!

    Ferry trip time......
    When you get your tickets from the 'Cut Price' office in Spain you are told that you are on a Fast Ferry which is supposed to be a 45 Minute crossing but on all 4 trips now the crossing time has been 1.5Hours which it seems is the 'norm' and while the ship rocked a little as it turned across the sea swell once it got into the channel it was relatively calm!

    Smaller roads in Portugal.....
    Kept the speed down on the smaller roads which helped to stop the 'Tin Tent' from being bounced around, while setting 'Flamenco Red's chassis on comfort mode!

    The Stork in Flight...
    I owe a BIG apology to my good lady, as I remember her taking that picture, but when it came to doing the text to go with the pictures for the upload of that stage I forgot! So it's going to cost me lunch out today, but it is worth it as she has taken some fantastic shots on this trip while at times being bounced around in the front seat! I am also going to see if I can get a 5 point seat belt harness, which should stop her banging her head on the roof!

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