Marrakech

We spent the morning in the same medina in Rabat looking for a knife. Wasn’t the easiest thing to communicate, or find, but eventually we found a nifty little set of knives in a filthy packet but couldn’t have been happier. The plan was to make sandwiches using whatever bread and cheese we could find and salami from Spain. We found out later cheese doesn’t really exist in Morocco.

We headed to Marrakech to find the boutique apartments we had booked, but the trouble started when we hit the town. The Satnav kept pointing us in random directions. A couple of young guys on a moped saw us looking confused at a roundabout and offered to show us the way. Was awesome. Right up to when we realised this was a thing. And they weren’t budging unless they got a big tip for them and everyone else apparently who helped in the way-finding/parking exercise.

The rooms were pretty nice, and it really was relaxing to have a rooftop area. We just went with the whole tout thing and let some other kid take us to the best ever Marrakech authentic restaurant – and while it was all just a bit over the top for tourists – the food was absolutely incredible. They do really, really good salads.

Rabat

Other than the never ending drama of finding a park, let alone a hotel without access to the internet, Rabat was the pick of the trip.

It is the capital city of Morocco, but the old town and Medina aren’t really tourism spots, and so it was like stepping into a normal Friday night with street food, fresh fish, olives and of course sunglasses and phone cases.

We were definitely being noticed as different here, but not in a touristy way, more like in a what the hell are you doing in here, way.

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It is a beautiful town though, the cemetery by the sea was amazing.

Africa

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I can’t really describe the feeling of being on ferry sailing to Africa. It is just thrilling really. It’s only going to be a fraction of Africa, baby steps before a proper expedition. But, for me anyway, a big day.

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The logistics of getting to and on ferries is becoming more normal now, as it is a pretty well oiled system here. Perhaps with the exception of clearing customs in Morocco. I followed this guy’s guide to planning the trip and it was really helpful.

Morocco Overland

Having the D16 printed and ready to go along with all the other paperwork meant it only took 3 hours to get through 🙂 . The officials pretty much let everyone through and then look at the European plated cars, take a bit of a nap, and then wave you on.

A lot of the bigger service stations here all have really good food, we got a tagine just out of Tangier all cooked outside in front of us.

We headed for Rabat for the first stop. Bit of a mission as Google Maps or Booking.com isn’t really an option unless you want to spend $100 a second. And the Satnav actually gets a bit shit in some of these towns.

But eventually, through a dirty windscreen, we arrived in Homeland.

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Malaga

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Malaga is the place we decided to base before heading to the ferry for Africa. I arrived on Easter Saturday to find pretty much most of the city shut down and roads closed. This is all for the parades which are huge.

After a bit of drama finding a park (I got the roof stuck in a carpark.. apparently 1.9M Height Limit doesn’t include lights and sprinklers), a few fluorescent lights and an angry parking attendant later, who made me pay the 30 cents to get out, I got to the hotel.

The receptionist said not to bother going outside that night as it would be really busy, just outside the hotel door. This is what was going on outside.

 

And it just got better as the night went on.

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This was just one part of town, it went all the way through to a main centre with seats installed like for a football match, which you have no hope of getting near, where all the people and floats gather together for the final ceremony.

I’m pretty pleased I went outside!

Don

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Who knew Don Quixote was a delusional 50 year old man on a journey through Spain on some kind of quest..

This is Tembleque where I stopped for a horrid quiche thing and coffee for breakfast, and then saw all these Don Quixote statues. Turns out it is one of the sites mentioned in the book and nearby is where he tried to fight a windmill.

It also has this incredible “Plaza de Toros” which opened in 1653 to be both a traditional bull fighting ring and a town square.

Floats

Everywhere I stopped while driving through Spain I saw these floats. They are for the parades throughout Spain over Easter. They are either inside the local church, or under shelters in the town square. Each town has this amazing collection of floats, all with uniquely crafted depictions of the Crucifixtion, Mary, Jesus and saints.

Having a Catholic upbringing makes travelling through Spain really enjoyable, as each town church or cathedral is unique but all based on the same system of statues, stations of the cross, stained glass, etc. So, it is like going home in every single place you stop, where you can admire the different depictions of the same people and the same stories that you have seen throughout your life.

Oh, and of course, have a bit of a pray.. there needs to be a patron saint of Landrovers..

 

Petrol

This is an oven tray I bought from a supermarket on the outskirts of Madrid. It is actually part of a nice set, but I took this one out in the shop and pretended I didn’t know that.

The pretty patterns are made by petrol leaking out of the petrol tank. I am trying to measure if the leaking is slowing down or not.

I was made aware of the petrol leak at a service station by an attendant the other side of Madrid, on Good Friday evening with the prospect of no mechanics being available for the next three days. It was actually gushing out from under the truck after I had filled it up. So I was…a little worried..

These photos are of a Defender petrol tank from Google images. Apparently with Defenders the gasket can go, and so when the tank is filled above where the pipe enters, it pours out until the petrol is below the gasket line. Then it is fine to drive.

Lesson Two: Google is your friend when you know nothing about trucks