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  1. #131
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015

    Meknes…. a day in the city….

    The first thing was to get on the City Bus from the campsite to get there…

    While the one across the road as we got to Meknes was not so lucky as the Black ‘Lump’ between the bus and the people is the Gearbox!.....

    Off the bus just outside the Medina and as we go up towards it we come to the Bab Mansour Gate….

    With this smaller gate alongside….

    With the main square directly opposite….

    As we passed this rather nice horse and carriage I looked back to take the picture and a few minutes later the ‘driver’ was alongside us asking if we wanted a tour which we declined…..

    As he returned to his place we saw the other fancy carriages lined up waiting for customers…..

    Then moving into the main square we spotted this little Monkey on a chain with the man who offers to take your picture while holding onto the little chap for a rather high price, so my picture was taken from a distance….

    Time for a coffee which we elected to go and have on the terrace of a Café/Restaurant while it turned out to be the most expensive we have bought this time in Morocco but there was a nice ceiling as we went through the entrance…

    While the view from the terrace produced this panoramic shot….

    The it was off into the surrounding streets and into the Souk….

    As we spotted this mural but was not quite sure what it represented….

    Then we saw this smaller sign alongside….

    Off we go again and for the first time ever I started to feel as though I was becoming ‘lost’ but the feeling faded as we moved on….

    We then found ourselves in the Silk/Cotton Bobbin section of the Souk where the bobbins of material are wound onto Bamboo Bobbins!…

    While the gentleman who owned this store had not objections to me taking a picture of his rather nice entrance that had a multitude of coloured bobbins on the shelves inside….

    Out of one part of the Souk, across the open section past the Mosque…..

    And into a covered section with a really nice wooden roof…..

    Moving into another part but still with a wooden roof but of different wood and design….

    As we pass this doorway, inside looks intriguing….

    This being what we found, while there were many more doors which opened into other areas as we walked along, but to many to take pictures of, sorry!….

    So…OK do we go to the left or right?

    We chose left and ended up back outside….

    Passing this fresh water outlet as we continued along the lane….

    WOW already it was lunch-time. That consisted of a Turkey Sandwich with Salad in a small Baguette. French Fries and a small glass bowl of Mustard, Tomato Sauce & Mayonnaise, to dip your French Fries in with a coffee.

    We then moved to the far end of the square to the entrance door of…..

    And after paying our 10 Dirham entrance fee for each of us which was around £0.75p (Around $1) we then see a plaque in French about the history of the Dar Jamaȉ which was constructed in 1299. Unfortunately there was no information in English….

    That has now been turned into a Museum….

    As we passed this very old door one of the Security Personnel acted as a guide for the various items and rooms we visited and we found him to be very helpful even though his English was limited….

    First place was inside the old Mosque which was quite small…..

    But had the steps inside that the Imam stood up on when conducting the service….

    Next was this old 17th Century Gate used by the Sultan as Meknes was the capital of Morocco….

    While around the corner was this piece of the ceiling that was intricately carved….

    And it was held up in place by this wooden piece of which there were four, one in each corner of the ceiling....

    We then moved into a rather stunning room which was quite small but as I could not do a panoramic I took 4 pictures, one of each side of the room….

    While next door in a glass case was this gown in a rich golden fabric….

    Next door was the Boulangerie of the house with a pair of bellows that still functioned on the side….

    Then in the next room hung on the wall were several rugs from around the region that were used in the house…..

    As we then moved into the Marriage Room with a rather large chair, but notice the Circular & Rectangular Windows on either side as the camera failed to capture the colours in the windows…..

    Until I zoomed in with the lens….

    While in the next passageway this was the ceiling.….

    Then we came to the Reception Room….

    With a fabulous ceiling….

    And some very intricate carved wood around the walls….

    With some fascinating detail….

    Last stop was back outside to the stand where the music players used to sit to play their music…..

    A fascinating time in an interesting museum, while then we came out and went off into the outdoor market of mainly fruit and vegetables, while the Strawberries on this cart were HUGE!…..

    Moroccan Water Seller in his uniform…..

    Entrance door to the Community Bakery where householders brought their own bread to be cooked…..

    As it was then time for the return journey to the campsite…..

    Back on the road tomorrow as our time in Morocco is drawing to a close….

  2. #132
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015

    Meknes to Kenitra or will it be someplace else?….

    As a couple of places did not work out in terms of being able to stay there we decided last night on a small change of plan for our last couple of days here in Morocco, so we are off to a different campsite in Kenitra that we have not stayed at before and hope that it works out otherwise we will be on our way even further North!….

    As we left the campsite at Moulay Idris as it just started raining again, TomTom gave us a ‘new route’ to take which to say the least was both interesting and also challenging once again as you will see below as it was across country and not on the main Route National roads!

    After the first couple of miles on a main road we turned left onto another of those single track roads where you have to go dodging the potholes and 3 wheels on and 3 wheels off when another vehicle comes towards you unless they are not prepared to slow down then you let them get on with it as you stay where you are!

    As the ‘track’ got progressively worse….

    As we got to the Route National road we turned right towards….

    Then turned left onto another ‘track’ which required a diversion after 500 yards as they were working on the section of road…..

    that went over the railway lines, and was on our left out of sight…..

    As we ‘wobbled’ over that we then moved over to let this 32 Tonner Truck go past as we stopped on a wider bit of the track….

    While just over the top we meet this tractor who kindly went all wheels off so we could stay on the tarmac….

    As we then met these two trucks who didn’t move….

    Then the road got a bit wider but in places there were large chunks of tarmac missing from the edges….

    With Olive Trees in nice green fields as they have had quite a bit of rain around here…..

    As we pass through this small village….

    Slowing down for the sheep, with a big wave and ‘Thank you’ from the Herdsman which seems to be the custom when you make the effort to slow down over here…..

    As we come around the bend and see this nice view down the stream….

    While the farmhouse is just up on the right….

    Again a bit further along we bear left towards Kenitra….

    As we come onto a nicer section of road and into the town of Sid Slimane, which actually has a white line down the middle and two full lanes as it is the N4….

    As we then come to this traffic island behind the ‘Steel Wall’ which is undergoing re-work, so we have to bump and wobble our way around the diversion, while also trying to miss the pedestrians who walk anywhere in front of you to get across the road….

    This must be the smallest Minaret in Morocco complete with loudspeaker…..

    As we pulled into a Garage with Café for coffee we spotted this ‘structure’ in the garden at the side…..

    Back on the N4 we see that they still have the Christmas Decorations hanging across the road…..

    An example of the size of some of the puddles left over from the recent rainfall….

    Bear left again….

    As we then start to go around Kenitra on the river side, the road condition gets noticeably worse again with sections in the middle in dire need of repair….

    Seems they like Storks in this place….

    As well as Swans….

    As we start to make our way then along the side of the inlet, we end up with a very ‘Brown’ front on the ‘TinTent’….

    Then passing what looks like a ruined Fortress….

    With some rather nice houses on the coast road….

    As we then see some rather large waves and a couple of men surfing in the inlet….

    500 yards further on we turned right into what was supposed to be the entrance to the campsite, but it is currently a ‘Building Site’ as they are re-developing the whole area to replace and update the campsite but also building holiday homes!
    So it was about turn and set of further North passing another traffic island with yet more models of Swans on it…..

    Going back out of the city to get to the Autoroute I missed a left turn and went straight over a cross roads and into the Gare (Train Station) which thankfully was wide enough in the shape of a horseshoe with a couple of long sides for us to get around and then turn right at the end!....

    Down to these 3 Traffic Police Officers, then turning right and going to the Marjane for a few items and some lunch before we finally got on the Autoroute….

    Once on the Autoroute we then have another short diversion as they are re-building one of the bridges….

    So we head to the first campsite we used when we came over at Moulay Bousselham…..

    As we finally reach the road down to the campsite we can see that the tide is in as the lagoon is full of the tidal water, while more rain is forecast for the next two days as we will make our way back to Tanger Med and the Ferry in 3 days time…..

    I guess we will have to see if the forecast for tomorrow is correct then it might be another ‘Rain stopped play’ day!

  3. #133
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015

    A day in Larache….

    As we were woken to the sound of quite heavy rain hammering away on the roof of the ‘TinTent’ at 06:00hrs this morning, in checking the weather forecast a bit later it seems we are in for this over the next 2 days here!

    So as Larache is not far away and it is a town we have not seen we decided to head off there for a look around and hope that the rain would stop….

    While this morning as I opened the roof blind I could hear all this ‘squawking’ and as I looked up the sky was filled with birds all flying around…..

    As we got into Larache after going up the Autoroute we headed straight for the seafront as we wanted to see how big the waves were as we are heading back to Spain in less than 48 hours now and hope that the ferry is not cancelled as well as us having a decent crossing!

    While when we got there the sea looked decidedly rough!.....

    As we then spotted this old Castle/Fort near the sea front…..

    Then travelled a short distance along the front….

    As we turned around to head back into the city we pass back along the side of the Castle/Fort…..

    At the top of the hill is one of the Mosques here….

    Ministry of Fisheries Offices…..

    While going further along the road we were getting more towards the centre of the city…..

    Finding somewhere to park did not present any problems, so after that it was ‘Shank’s Pony (Feet & Legs!) to get out and walk to a rather large circular area with café’s & restaurants around the outer edges…..

    Then heading for the rather nice Gate…..

    After going through, on the other side we come into a rectangular area which we think is a market area but with the weather being ‘rough’ a lot of the traders decided to stop at home!....

    As we walked up to the top we pass the side alleys…..

    Coming to one of the main gates to the Medina….

    This is the other side….

    While the name of the Gate is…..

    With lots more of the narrow alleyways as we get inside the Medina…..

    With some rather interesting old doors…..

    Notice the pieces of what are ‘Wood’ in the middle of the next picture that are keeping the walls from falling in on each other!....

    As we continue along we come to one of the smaller Medina Gates that lead out to the Port…..

    Which we make our way over to and enter with no questions asked to see all the fishing boats that are in due to the bad weather….

    As there was not a lot else down there we head back up the steps……

    Coming to the ‘Town Hall’ that is being re-furbished on the outside, and in the garden are these stone seats on the back of which are some rather interesting tiles….

    While getting a close up picture the tiles seem to be depicting a story….

    Directly opposite is this church which is of Spanish design as the town was once occupied by the Spanish, and still has a Spanish Consulate Office here….

    While on the other side of the road is this view, with a Castle wall and a yellow tower behind…..

    The Castle and grounds in front of the wall were sadly closed….

    As we got to the end of the wall and turned left, then followed the wall around of the Castle we came to a small square and another small gate into the Medina ….

    While on one side of the small square was this square tower….

    Then on the other side of the small square was the Yellow Tower and building which turned out to be a Centre for Music Studies….

    The view along the wall from the Medina Gate was of par of the outer wall of the Medina, and other newer buildings……..

    While on the rear of the Medina Gate was this view to the right hand side!....

    Feeling rather hungry by this time we found a small restaurant that was favoured by the locals and a number of Police Officers, so we went in and had Moroccan style ‘Chicken & Chips’ with half a loaf of very fresh bread each and an orange drink all for less than £3 ($4.5) for both of us!

    Out of the restaurant and back into the alleyways, and we follow a man and his children as he carries a tray with the dough of two loaves of bread that has been made in his house, as he then takes them to the Community Bakehouse. We knew he had the bread as we saw it as the wind lifted the cover and he nearly dropped the tray which brought all round smiles as we nearly rushed to help him!…..

    As we end up in front of this sign on the wall…..

    Which is a Bakery as the Baker removes loaves from the oven and prepares to put more in. The oven was out of view, but he was using a long handle and board to load the oven with the dough that had been brought in by different families and for which they paid a small amount to have their dough baked, no doubt to perfection!….

    Getting into another wider street we then pass a shop selling what are Ladies Wedding dresses which looked very nice in their bright colours….

    As the rain started to come back again we made our way up some more steps and back to where ‘Flamenco Red’ had been parked to make our way back to Moulay Bousselham and the campsite….

    Last full day here tomorrow as we keep an eye on the weather and wind for the ferry back to Spain on Thursday morning (Hopefully!)

  4. #134
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Calgary Alberta


  5. #135
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Quote Originally Posted by Forkster View Post
    'Thank you'

    I shall give you the name of 'Man of few words' while the little pictures paint a thousand words.

  6. #136
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015

    Moulay Bousselham – Shell Garage (Autoroute) – Tanger Med and finally Algeciras (Spain)….

    We departed the campsite in Moulay Bousselham at around 09:30hrs to go up to the Marjane Supermarket in Larache for a few last minute items and also to fill the fuel tank with around 50+ Litres of Diesel as the price there was for large amounts much better than the local garages due to a discount offering, however having confirmed the day before that we could use the credit card for payment when we actually came to pay we were then told we could not as the garage had the usual Moroccan ‘excuse’ of ‘Connection Problems’ so it was cash only ….

    Then moved on back to the Autoroute to travel to a meeting point to meet up with some friends who arrived just after lunch and then after a short time finding out how they got on we set off for wht we thought was going to be our final night on Moroccan soil at a Shell Garage which is quite close to the Port of Tanger Med, as the wind got stronger and stronger reaching gale force level by around 21:00hrs!

    While we though at one point during the night that one of the wheels on the axle of the ‘TinTent’ came up off the ground, as we did not get much sleep thanks to the wind rocking the ‘TinTent’ quite violently at time, by 07:00hrs we were ready and on our way to Tanger Med Port, thinking that if we were lucky and knowing that the ferries are hardly ever on time, we might just get the 08:00 sailing!

    As we got into the area where you exchange your travel coupon for your tickets we found out that there were no ferries running, while a bit later we also found out that some people had been there for 2 days in the same situation!!!!

    At 11:00hrs the situation had not changed and typically NO information was forthcoming from any of the ‘Customer Service Agents’ in the ticket offices, which was nothing but totally frustrating, leading to a number of angry exchanges with other passengers.

    I was told to ‘Come Back at 12:00, which I did and was then told that they would confirm if any ferry would be available at 15:00hrs in the afternoon for the possibility of a ferry at 18:00hrs to Algeciras.
    At 14:00hrs a shift change took place of ‘Customer Service Agents’ (CS Agent) in the Ballerica Ticket Office which was the ferry service we were using.
    30 minutes later a queue started to form and at 15:15 the CS Agent started issuing tickets!

    Having got our tickets we then made our way through the Police & Customs checks going down to the Dockside where you should go through an X-Ray Vehicle Scanner while you stand outside in a safe area and if all is well you go back to then drive around to get ready for embarkation.
    The X-Ray Scanner was ‘broken’ so they bring a ‘Sniffer Dog’ who firstly climbs into your car, then jumps into the ‘TinTent’ climbing on the seats and bed before re-emerging having found nothing, you are then allowed to proceed to the quayside to wait for your ferry, and wait we did…..

    This Ferry for Accionia Passengers made it into the Harbour on the second attempt with the aid of 2 tugs and a Pilot Boat, as we were told that the waves out in the channel were 4 Meters High!!

    While the berth on the Quayside remained ‘empty’ for our ferry which we understood was still in Algeciras and at least a 1.5hour sailing time away

    3 Hours later while also leaving a number of Trucks behind the Accionia Ferry sails off back to Algeciras….

    Then shortly after the FRS Express ferry which you can just see on the other side of the harbour and spent quite some time outside the harbour as the Captain would not try entering until the storm abated slightly, came in and after docking started offloading….

    While at the back of the Port there was very little traffic….

    ‘Tempus Fugit’ rolls on and we see the Sunset ….

    Then at 19:30hrs we see this ‘Apparition’ or maybe we should have called it a ‘Mirage’ as we were still in Morocco, of what looked like our Ferry!!!…..

    As it came a bit closer and started to swing around using Rudders & Engines as they have not reached the technology of Bow Thrusters yet, we could see it was our ship, that had finally arrived WOW!!!….

    While the Port Personnel got ready the Tractor Units to remove all the Trailers from the ship, even though it was considerably late in arriving and looked like it had a full load for the return, the authorities insisted in checking the paperwork of foot passengers and vehicles directly as they came off the ship, which significantly impacted the unloading time, while the same thing took place during loading as well as nearly a sheer panic run by all drivers at the same time to get onboard!….

    The result was that the Loading did not finish until 01:00hrs.
    While the Ships Engines were started at 01:30hrs and we moved away from the dockside at 02:00hrs….

    Finally arriving in Algeciras at 03:30hrs, we managed to disembark at 05:00hrs, so we hit the road, having ‘catnapped’ during the crossing and covered around 60 miles of the next stage to Caceres, before stopping to get a couple of hours sleep and then continuing!

    From arriving at Tanger Med and then getting onto Spanish soil in Algeciras it had taken 20 HOURS to complete a 1.5 to 2 hour Ferry Crossing!!!

    Our friends meanwhile were told that their Ferry which is with a different company who seem to suffer frequently with very bad service were told that they would not be sailing yesterday and could not or would not be advised of when they could make the crossing, so I am now waiting for a message from them to let us know how they got on.....

  7. #137
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015

    Algeciras – Cáceres….

    Having gone through the Police & Customs check at Algeciras at 05:00hrs this morning as there was not very much traffic around we set off to go North towards our destination for today of Cáceres, but as it was completely dark we only started to get any pictures at this point, but being on the ‘Autovia’ which is the Motorway, you missed nothing…..

    As we neared Sevilla we see the large columns of the bridge over the river as we swing around on the road towards it….

    As we then go ‘up and over’….

    With these views as we pass around Sevilla…..

    As we get back onto the wider section of the ‘Autovia’ we have to stay in the centre lane and head for Mérida…..

    Passing through the industrial part of the city….

    Its not long before we are back out in the countryside and open road as we see it going away in front as it swings round to the left, to come back around to the right and across the middle of the picture via climb up the hill and over a viaduct…..

    As the speed limit in this section was fixed low due to the slope we stayed behind the Land Rover towing a machine that cuts tree stumps and thick branches into small pieces of wood…..

    Passing one of the many little villages that are set back from the Autovia….

    Some of whom also have an industrial area…..

    Passing along this road where the Orange Trees have inedible fruit on them….

    While in the fields outside are the vines waiting for Spring to start growing the grapes for the next harvest and wine production…..

    Then back on the main Autovia towards our destination…..

    We start to see a number of gaily painted Renault 4L cars going in the opposite direction, and being able to have a search on the Internet tonight we find that it is…..

    “The 18th edition of the Renault 4L Trophy, in which 2,400 participants will drive/ride 1,200 Renault 4L cars in a 6,000km rally from Biarritz to Marrakech”

    As we then pass under this Roman Bridge which is still in excellent condition….

    We finally after 290 Miles for this section come into Cáceres…..

    As we then pull into the entrance to the campsite we see another 3 Renault 4L cars the drivers and passengers of which are making use of the ‘facilities’ in the campsite to ‘freshen up’!.....

    WOW! While it’s been one of the most harrowing and frustrating 48 hours that we have been through on this trip, it will be really nice to hopefully get a good night’s sleep with a good day tomorrow!

  8. #138
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Overland to Morocco.
    Winter 2014-2015

    Cáceres - Navarette….

    After a second good night’s sleep we are up and away this morning at 08:30 (Spanish time as they are 1 hour ahead of the UK) as we had a long stage of 350 miles (580km) on our front door …..

    Nice clear and quiet ‘Autovia’ as we got out of Caceres…

    As the Sun gets brighter we spot this Castle in the distance off to our left….

    We then pass one of the bridges in the distance, which we can just see over the top of the crash barrier, on the new as yet incomplete Madrid – Lisbon High Speed Train Line ….

    Next town….

    While it’s not long before we start to see the Snow Capped Mountains…..

    We then start a 5% climb of 3Km on the side of which is a very large lake which has never been full at this time in the last 5 years of coming along here around the same time of year, only this time it is!…..

    After coming out of the little parking place after having taken the pictures of the lake there is more climbing to be done!…..

    Then it’s over the top and down to….

    While we weren’t sure if this was cloud or snow, but a few cars came past with skis strapped on the roof!

    Coming to the outskirts of .....

    While my good lady finally manages to get a picture of the cathedral in Salmanca without having to sit on a cushion or having the crash barrier in the way! (She was very pleased, ‘Mission accomplished’ as she put it!)

    Thinking that the plural of ‘Pollo’ which is ‘Chicken’ in Spanish may be 'Pollos' we could not see any ‘Chickens’ as we passed and looked around by this sign! Still it was Sunday so possibly they were all having a lie in after attending the party with the girls last night!

    Keep rolling along as we pass…..

    As we come up to…..

    While all the houses had BIG windows all pointing in the same direction, there was nothing special about the view across the other side of the ‘Autovia’….

    Next up was…..

    Where the new properties are in the same state as they were a year ago and the year before that….

    While the rest of the town looks occupied….

    Next is the little village of…..

    While just outside in ‘Them Thar Hills’ is…..

    As we start a small climb up the road we see more of it….

    Then down the other side is, while we did not see the village name as we entered so had to get it as we got to the other side, but the pictures after are in the village if you can follow that, and haven’t fallen asleep in that ‘Third Seat’?…..

    The road got a bit narrow here so I am glad you all breathed in at the right time!

    Just past the centre of the village is this small church in the cliff face….

    While just a bit further along in another cliff face are these other holes….

    A little bit further along and we come to another village again whose sign we missed…..

    While as we got to near to the campsite we see the snow on the hills again, which for us means a change of plan and route to get into France in two days time, but more of that later, as it has just started raining and we have been joined by another ‘TinTent’ whose occupants are from the UK and have just had their Ferry from Santander cancelled for tomorrow, but at least they got a text message advising them! …..


    We finally got a message from our friends whom we left in the Port at Tanger Med (Morocco). They were finally put on a ferry on 20th February at 13:00hrs , and are now back in Spain!

  9. #139
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Calgary, Alberta


    Glad that your friends managed to get the ferry. Hope that your and their crossing were not to rough. You need to stay in the south where it seems to be green and warmer than the direction you are heading.

    Quick question

    The fourth picture down from "‘Them Thar Hills’" has some arrows painted on the road. I suspect they are to tell you to get to your own ******* side of the road. How close to correct would I be?

  10. #140
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    South Wales UK


    Quote Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
    Glad that your friends managed to get the ferry. Hope that your and their crossing were not to rough. You need to stay in the south where it seems to be green and warmer than the direction you are heading.

    Quick question

    The fourth picture down from "‘Them Thar Hills’" has some arrows painted on the road. I suspect they are to tell you to get to your own ******* side of the road. How close to correct would I be?
    Interestingly while our crossing was quite calm, we didn't hear any 4 meter (12 ft) waves banging against the ship, now was there any really noticeable 'rocking' and my good lady was OK as she is the one who is seriously affected by 'wobbly ships'.
    I would suspect although we have not enquired that our friends crossing was approaching 'Milk Pond' status.

    We would love to be able to stay in the south for longer but as we left Morocco we had two days left on our time limit of 90 days and after that unless you get it renewed it is BIG Fines for overstaying your visit!

    Your quick question is correct as the arrows in this case are the limit in each direction for overtaking.
    The Solid White Line and Broken White Line alongside mean that on that section of road you can overtake any vehicles in front of you when the Broken White line is on your side.

    Having said that there are still a lot of idiots who cannot wait so abuse it and overtake when the section has finished, or even on Double White Lines, but I understand that mobile cameras being used by other drivers are videoing this which is then being passed to the Police and prosecutions are on the increase as a result!

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