Friday, 7 March 2014

Azrou to Tanger Med and Home

Thursday 06/03/2014
Judy was worse this morning so we set off towards Tanger Med so if she needs a doctor we will soon be in Spain, apart from the odd yelp when we hit a bump she did very well and in fact perked up quite a bit so I was able to drive vertually non stop. I didn't take the Motorway because it was quite a bit further and I have no idea whether their are regular service areas if Judy needed to stop. But the roads were quite bumpy so in retrospect perhaps I should have.
We arrived at the port at about 8pm and were through security , x-Ray and other checks by 20:30 much quicker than coming in! giving time for me to prepare a cup of soup which she managed to drink and looks to be over the worst and has got her colour back.
The ferry is supposed to be at 23:00 but will probably be midnight.
Apart from the last couple of days this has been a great couple of months, we have taken it much slower and have enjoyed every minute especially the three weeks at Tafraoute which is a lovely place. When we come next we have decided that the best bet would be to just head down the motorway to Agadir, see our friend Ismail then head for Tafraoute for a couple of months and probably get the body damage fixed!
The best advance this year is sorting the internet out, I bought a 3G router in Tafrauute and a long cable so I could tape the dongle to the CB Ariel and cover it with a small plastic tonic bottle for protection from the elements, which has enabled us to have virtually 24/7 internet even on the move, so listening to BBC Radio 2 while driving. The router has given us local  wifi in the van so Tablets, laptop phones and iPod have been constantly connected. Maroc Telecom give a 400mb daily allowance with the speed throttled after that and even with the radio on for about 14 hours a day and unlimited use of all the other devices even buying a couple of Kindle books we have had no problems whatsoever even miles from anywhere in the desert, the odd time it has cut out while going down into a valley or something but generally "always on" and all for just  €10 per month. I wish we could get even close to that service in Europe.
So when the ferry finally comes we will spend the night near Mercadona in Algeceras then make our way back through Spain dropping in to see friends as we go, then back in time to sort out the French and UK tax returns before heading to the UK for our annual visit.
Thanks for subscribing to our blog if you have done, hope you find it interesting. If you have just clicked on a link again hope the content is interesting, if you have come from a google search and I know some must have from some of the country flags we have collected then welcome and I hope it has been interesting for you also. Please send us an email.
Best wishes to all.
Steve & Judy

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Tiznit to Azrou

Friday Morning 21/02/2014
We emptied and filled the Water which took ages as the tap was so slow. Judy decided to fill some extra bottles as we were heading for a wild camping spot we had heard of and ended up getting a French lesson from some ladies who were doing their washing up at the sinks because she had used the verb "etre" (to be) rather than "avoir" (to have), all good fun.
Finally after paying the 66dh for the night we set off from Riad Assllaf just a couple of km to Tisnit so as to have a mornings walk in the town and see about a large satelite dish as we had just heard that the satelites had changed and we now needed a 1.1 mt dish at home but we had forgotten it was Friday and most of the technical shops were closed as it was a holy day, so after doing a bit of grocery shopping which included a loaf of bread of a type we had not seen before which was about 30cm in diameter and lumpy and puffy with quite a dark colour, we will try it later.
The journey to the wild camping spot was via probably the smoothest road we had ever encountered and was bliss except for the last few miles but only 55km in total today.
We arrived at the tiny fishing Port of Sidi Boulfdail at about 15:00 to find what looked like a small walled village with about 30 Motorhomes parked outside it's walls so we found a nice spot at the top of the cliffs with a great uninterrupted view across the sea to hopefully good sunsets. After a walk in the village which turned out to be modern fishing storage units leading down steps to a large concrete apron with all the small rowing fishing boats only about 7 mtr long. There were two tiny shops selling most things and probably kept going by the campers at the moment as a Belgian guy we met told us that they were not able to fish at the moment because the sea was too rough.
Getting back to our parking spot we saw a GB van so went to have a chat. They were a young Australian couple who had taken a couple of years out, to come to the UK and buy a camper and travel round Europe for a couple of years with their five year old son. What a lovely experience  for  them all.
We sat to have a drink and watch the sunset and discovered that all the French were coming to just in front of us and throwing their rubbish bags over the cliff. We spoke to the Australian couple again as they returned from a walk and she said that she had already had a go at one of them and just got the Gallic shrug saying "That's what the Moroccans do". It may be what the Moraccans did and to a certain extent still do but they are learning and most of the larger villages we had encountered now had road sweepers and rubbish collections and anyway, they bring their rubbish they can take it away with them till they find a bin, we just hoped they didn't start coming and emptying their loos in front of us. Unfortunately the French Motorhomers are getting a very bad reputation because of their behaviour, we just hope it doesn't rub off on us all.
We decided that we would only stay one more day there even though it was a beautiful place, but spoiled by the Arrogant French.

Sunday 23/02/2014 08:45
We left the little port and headed along the coast to Inzegane where we knew of the big market selling all sorts of electronic and computer stuff to look again for a satelite dish. Ismail had taken us there last year so were sure we would find just  what we were looking for. First we went into the now covered Municiple market, it was enormous, probably about 500mtr long with about six isles of closely packed mini shops. It was packed with families shopping on Sunday which is a family day. Having browsed about half the market we moved on to the other with many electronics shops and found quite a selection and soon found a very good quality dish made in Portugal with a stand for about £26 then caused quite a bit of amusement walking through the town carrying it back to the Motorhome.
We set off for Aouri just North of Agadir, where Ismail lives, we met up with him at about 15:30 and spent a very pleasant evening and afternoon chatting and catching up with Ismail. The next morning we headed back to Inzegane market with Ismail as Judy had liked the style of shirt he was wearing with a short stand collar to buy some for Steve, unfortunately they were a summer item so nobody had any, we are walking about in shorts and tee shirts but the Moroccans are still in wooly hats and overcoats. So we walked back to the van and had some lunch then drove back to Tagazoute a few miles north of where Ismail lives to meet up with some friends we had met in Tafraoute, who were wild camping just off the beach with about a thousand others, well it was actually Guardian Parking and very well set up. We finally found Alan & Karen and spent a very nice afternoon chatting together with Ismail explaining many things about Morocco, we left a bit late and ended up travelling in the dark which is not good because it is difficult to spot all the pot holes!
On Tuesday Ismail suggested he showed Judy how to cook a traditional Tagine so we went shopping in the village then they set to assembling the dish while Steve installed email and Skype on the laptop Ismail had bought since we visited last year. The Tagine was fantastic but the computer setup took a little longer than planned so we had to leave soon after the dish as we had promised to meet up with Alan & Karen again before seting off towards Marakech via Esourria.

Wednesday 26/02/2014
We took a walk into Tagazoute which is mainly a surfers town with a few shops selling overpriced Morocan tourist items so we didn't spend too long then set off towards Esourria. It was a nice drive across the mountains and we arrived at the car park by the port at about 14:00 but had to wait for cars to leave before we could get a space, it was very tight and we saw a couple of cars get bumped, but we got a good place which was not too vulnerable.
We had a really nice wander round the tourist shops and bought a couple of the wooden items which we had seen the previous year, which the town seems to specialise in made from wood from the Argan tree. It got very cold so we went back to the van to warm up and have dinner before coming out to explore further. After dinner we managed to find the local market street which was very busy with people walking out for the evening, a really different experience.

Thursday 27/02/2014
We got up early to walk into the port to watch the fish being unloaded, but the boats must have landed really early because everything was cleaned up and finished, shame but another year.
We left the port at about 09:00 to drive to Marakech and arrived at a parking spot Steve had found on the French camping car site. It was guardian parking in a small lay-by off the road behind the large Mosque with room for just five Motorhomes but much better than the lorry park nearby where we had stayed a few years ago. it was expensive at 100dh for the night but it was in the middle of the city and we heard later that the lorry park was the same price.
It was just a 500mtr walk to the large square where everything happens. We spent  about three hours exploring the enormous Souk and Medina  then went back to the van for a rest before the evening. As we walked through the square they were starting to set up all the pop up  eating places for the evening.
As we walked out of the square an interesting thing happened, a guy collided with someone on a bike which started a bit af shouting and the start of a fight. But within seconds about twenty guys moved in pulled them apart and walked them away from each other and calmed them down to send them on their way, so quick and gently done. I think in the UK every one would have walked in the other direction or watched them fight. Such a gentle sort of people we meet everywhere in Morocco.
After a rest in the van we went out at about 7pm to enjoy the square which by then had been transformed into a gigantic multiple Resteraunt. Each outlet with three or four touts  scrabbling to entice passers by into their establishment. We will put some pictures up on our gallery, just go to the blog and click on the picture of the blue building. The touts got a bit persistent with us which annoyed Steve quite a bit but we walked round and round finally deciding to have some Harira, which is spicey Morrocan soup which was delicious about £1.50 for two large bowls and two loves of bread to eat with it.
We then walked along to another stall which Judy thought looked best which had brochettes, declined the offer of an upturned milk crate to wait for a seat which then turned out to be in full smoke from the bar-be-que. So got up and walked along to another place which had plenty of room because they had a double sized stall. 
As we decided all the staff started clapping and cheering because they had won our custom.  There was a loaf of bread on each place then two bowls of tomato based sauce were put in front of us, one sweet and one spicey. We ordered chicken brochettes and chips which arrived in just a few minutes, six skewers and a big bowl of beautiful chips each. The chicken and the chips were great and well cooked and the sauce was really good. So we ended up with a for us a good meal. Then we had to pass all the others asking, why didn't you eat with us. The Moroccans are past masters at inducing guilt for great effect. So we returned to the van, full and pleased to have had a very different experience.

Friday 28/02/2014
We left the parking at 09:00 heading for a natural arch we had heard about on the way to what we had heard were the best Cascades in Morocco. We were looking for a petrol station that took credit cards and noticed one next door to what looked like a supermarket. Well it turned out to be a cash and carry which acepted ordinary customers. It was very clean well stocked with reasonable prices and a wine section as we were getting a bit low. After the shopping we filled up with diesel and he also let us fill up with water. 
Along the road we turned off heading accross country and  Steve spotted a little shop with traditionaf Tagines outside. We had been looking for one but Ismail had told us what we should pay and the shops in Marakech were asking ten times as much.
So after a few minutes the shopkeeper finished with his customers and came out to see us. We had decided on a size so asked how much, he said 30dh which was exactly what Ismail had said we should pay, but he said you don't want that one because this one is far better quality, which it looked, ok we said but how much is that one? 30dh he said, the same, in Marrakech the better looking ones were twice the price of the rustic ones. He was also trying to speak English which he said he had been learning from a Sinbad the Sailor  book he had in English. We had a great ten minutes chatting to him and went on our way well pleased with our purchase.
About two hours later we came across an enormous market in the middle of nowhere so just had to stop. We were quite a curio walking about, we decided that we also should have a smaller Tagine so asked the price, 15dh, no question of inflating the price for tourists. We had a great hour walking about and also bought a straw hat for Judy as the sun was very strong on her neck.
After a bit of lunch we continued to the Naturel Bridge but had trouble finding it but eventually after directions from a Policeman at a checkpoint we found it at about 4pm  and started walking down the very many steps only to be soon accompanied by a young Moraccan guide. He pointed out where we should put our feet when climbing over rocks and a few sights along the way like, at one particular position the shape of the opening looked exactly like a map of Africa. Well it was a great experience and we were glad we decided to come this way after all. We then had the long climb up of I don't know how many steps, but they were regular and we took our time. When we reached the top our guide just wondered off without holding his hand out, I know we didn't ask for him but Judy thought he deserved something so went and gave him a few dirums which he seemed pleased with.
After the Natural Arch we had to backtrack about 11km to get on the road to the Cascades and it very soon got dark so we had difficulty finding somewhere to stop for the night, but eventually Steve spotted a small space on the right hand side of the road and we backed into it and managed to get reasonably level and we had a nice quiet night with no traffic disturbing us.

Saturday 01/03/2014
We woke early and found that we were only about 10km from Camping Zebra which was where we intended to stop to visit the Cascades d'Ouzoud so took things slowly so as to give some campers time to leave the site. Then drove to arrive at 09:45. We received a nice welcome from the Dutch lady owner who invited us to participate in a Moroccan Buffet meal they were organising that evening. The site was very clean and very well organised but a slightly higher price than the area deserved.
We walked to the Cascades which were very impressive, we walked down the steps then up the long steep climb up through the woods on the opposite bank which was the way the site owner recommended although we had read that it was easier the other way round. But we were glad that we took her advice because the climb through the woods was dusty and slippery which could have been more difficult going down.
When we returned to the site later friends from the group we were members of, who we met at Tafraoute arrived and there was another English couple also like us in a French registered van so the evening meal turned out to be quite fun.
We decided to stay for a second day and get the sheets and other clothes washed and dried and a bit of R&R and chatting to our friends.

Monday 03/03/2014
We left camping Zebra just before 11:00 after filling and emptying and saying goodby to our friends who we were unlikely to meet up with again in Morocco. We were heading for a wild camping spot we had been told about by a lake which also took in a fantastic scenic drive over the Atlas Mountains, with breathtaking views of a large reservoir as we went over the top of the mountain, it was a beautiful azure blue then a stunning decent and under a tunnel and straight over a hydro-electric dam. Then another climb to be presented with a fantastic view of a large flat plain as we again went over the top it seemed that we could see the whole of North Morocco, then another stunning decent. We finally arrived at our wild camping spot at 17:45 which was 1.5km of the road along a very bumpy track. The place was amazing on a spit of land jutting out into another very large reservoir. We arrived just in time for a fantastic sunset.

Tuesday 04/03/2014
Judy must have eaten something odd last night and had a very bad night on the loo she was in pain and very I'll in the morning. At about midday we decided to slowly move as she had used all the medicine we had on board so we had to find a Pharmacy. Unfortunately every one we passed was closed but finally found one open at about 14:00.
We had again been told about a really scenic drive and after taking some medicine Judy felt up to it so we took the turning. The drive turned out to be extremely rough and at one point Steve failed to see a rock which was in the road and managed to cause a bit of damage to the bodywork of the Motorhome. When checking later he also found it had hit at the back and snapped off the drainpipe from the waste tank, which will make things quite a bit difficult. So a bit of repair work to be done when we get home. Unfortunately although the scenery was good it was not up to the standard of yesterday so it is a bit sad that we sustained damage unnecessarily.
We arrived at Camping Amazigh near Azrou just up the road from the amazing Disneyland palace site we had stayed at on the way down but thought we would try it for future reference.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Thursday 20th February - Tafraoute

Leaving Tafraoute

Last Sunday evening when returning from drinks we found a Motorhome  parked in front of our door, oh dear not again but as we got closer we saw it was our friends Pam & John who we knew were coming to Morocco but didn't expect to see them in Tafraoute, but they had driven straight down to meet us, what a surprise.  
On Monday, Mohamed the body repair man came to see us about a bit of repair work where we had dropped into a deep gulley last year and another spot where somebody had directed Steve into a wall when helping him to reverse into a tight driveway. He said, no problem we will come Wednesday, 550dh about £40, John decided to also have some work done on the front of his Motorhome and Mohamed said he would do both at the same time.
Monday and Tuesday turned out to be very cold cloudy days with a bit of rain at night but Wednesday morning turned out sunny and at 10am Mohamed arrived with two young guys who set about fibre-glassing, filling and sanding on both vehicles. Then after lunch Mohamed arrived to check the work and asked us to drive to his garage for the spraying.
We had bought a grey plastic tube last year which sits behind the bike rack to keep our Maroccan carpet in to save the dirt in the van, so Steve asked him to spray that at the same time. Both jobs were done by the end of the day and he added 55dh (£4) for spraying the tube which is 2.5mtr x 140mm dia not bad at all and all done in the time promised, so we can move on tomorrow. We spent the evening in the village having a bit of fun negotiating for a few gifts we had decided to buy.

Thursday morning we said our goodbyes and headed off, stopping in the village for some gas and heading for Tiznet via the pretty route we had been told about accross the mountains to a gorge full of palm trees. The drive was spectacular rising another 700mt   to 1716mtr high then down again to weave between the Palms through the gorge.
Then on to a road that didn't exist on the Michelin map for a challenging but fantastically twisty drive across the mountains.
We arrived in Tiznit at about 5pm, as usual the Municiple Camping was full and Queing outside so we went round the rounder out and back to the camping Riad ASSLLAF about 2km outside the town. It was also nearly full but they found us a spot but after nearly three weeks at the guardian parking at Tafraoute we are parked so close to each other. I don't think we will stay here long.
Only 162km today but spectacular driving.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

One month in

Saturday 8th February 2014
Sorry folks it has been a long time since the last posting, I said this was going to be a lazy tour and that is the way it has been.
We stayed at the very nice Auberge Camping just before Merzouga for eleven days and apart from when we had three of the five days a year when it rains we walked every day three or four miles usually, one day we ordered a taxi to take us to Rissani the nearest town the cab (Renault 5 van) took us the twenty odd miles there waited the four hours we spent walking round the market and town then took us back all for about €13.
21st January we moved on heading for Ouarzazate accross country passing the spot where we had the major blow-out last year, we intended to stop for the night at Todra Gorge where we had stayed on previous trips but they were digging the roads up so much in Tinerhir making big wide pavements and dual carriageways that we missed the turning and had gone too far by the time we realised. But we found a nice quiet market area in a village and spent a quiet night. 
We intended to try the other camp site in Ouarzazate but when we got there we would have been the only camper there and it was quite a way from town so we moved on the the municiple camping we had used before which had plenty of vans but mainly French or German so still nobody to chat to.
We parked close enough to the office to pick up the wifi so as to do some research and contact the makers of our mains charger which had packed up but it turned out that the low voltage we had experienced in Spain and some places in Morocco had permanently damaged it. So we would have to rely on solar power unless we can find a car charger here. Well we rode our bikes all over the town but only found a very old 2nd,3rd or4th hand one which he wanted more than a new one would cost in Europe.
So we decided to struggle on and hope for sunny days, but in our searching we did find a really nice supermarket which wasn't there last year and only about half a mle from the campsite. They unusually took cards which saved on our cash.
Again after eleven days we decided to move on, we had seen much more of the town this year although we still had not visited the film studios where they made Laurence of Arabia I think and quite a few of the Hollywood Western's
We had a really nice drive across the mountains but the road got very bad for the last 50km.
We arrive at Tafraoute at about 6:30pm as it was getting dark so pulled onto what's called the free camping area just for the night till we could see what the site was like. There were very many campers there about fifty that we could see. In the morning we found that the tribe who owned the land now charged 10dh (less than a euro) per night and they now had rubbish bins a fairly basic but usable emptying place and a water bowser comes round three or four times a week so apart from the internet all seemed ok. So we took a walk into the town and saw that the camp site was jam packed so no real chance of getting a place without shade because we needed the sun for our panels. There was a Marroc Telecom shop in town so we topped up our dongle and found it was now half price about 9euros for a month of fairly unlimited internet.
While in the town we found a good electrical shop that had a 3mt extension USB cable so as to extend the dongle to put it up on our CB ariel to get a better signal. Just on the off chance Steve asked if they had a 3G router and he did after a bit of haggling we bought it for about 27euro so now everything sorted. When it was all set up we had our own permanent internet in the van so we could listen to Radio 2  in the morning and download the daily Times and Judy could get all her art videos. So we are absolutely sorted. We are in the most idilic spot in a plateau at 1000mt above sea level surrounded by mountains,we get sun from 08:30 till 5:30pm with a very nice village that we can even buy a 3G router in, and the bread man comes every morning at about 8:30,heaven.
Gradually English Vans started coming in and so we were able to chat and socialise. The thing is, we came the European's route basically clockwise. The Brits being a sea fairing nation usually hug the coast before venturing inland so we had basically met in the middle.
So we now have to suffer a continuous round of afternoon drinks, and evening cocktails (or Beer o'clock) as they call it! Absolutely great. We have met some really nice people.
Yesterday somebody said "We are off for a walk, coming?" Then found they were climbing the mountain behind us. It was about a 1000ft climb some on goat tracks but most climbing up over gigantic boulders. Judy made it to the top which at 70 amazed the others, she really did very well and enjoyed it immensely.
Sitting reading in the sun in the afternoon after the "walk" up a mountain friends from the Motor Caravan club we had met in Benidorm who were in Morocco for the first time went strolling past.
So a bit more socialising. The town is great very friendly negligible hassle and more or less everything we could want. Everywhere in the town are little enterprises. Many with a camper outside having some work done.
I think we will stay here for a bit longer before we head off to Agadir where we can meet up with our Moroccan friend Ismael. So we will probably not be updating for a while again.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Morocco 2014 - Week One

30/12/2013 - 75528 - 19:00
We left home on the 30th for our long drive to the bottom of Spain to catch our ferry to Morocco.
We stopped at friends near Barcelona for a couple of days to see the New Year in with them, had a great time then onward to Beniccasim to meet other Motorhome friends on to Benidorm to meet others
05/01/2014 - 76380 - 07:30
Left Albi near Benidorm for a very long drive  to  Algeceras and drove nearly non stop on non toll roads all day arriving at Viajes Normandie at 16:30 nine hours 648km then queued for two hours to buy our tickets for the Ferry. A few last things in Carrefore then dinner and early bed for an early start for the first Ferry.

Monday - 06/01/2014 - 77028 km - 06:15
Left parking outside Lidl to drive the 15 minutes to the Port to wait as will be normal from now on. Arrived at the port and, joined the line for check in, as usual the Moroccans in charge managed to turn an orderly situation into chaos but eventually we were checked in and to the que for loading. Sailing time of 8am came and went and we were finally loaded by about 08:30 and the ferry sailed at about 09:00.
We joined the que to see the policeman to check and stamp our passports and got chatting with a French couple who came from Anger in the west of France near the factory that built our Motorhome. 
The lady pointed out that the seats and especially the headrests in the salon were absolutely filthy so  we made our way up to the cafe where the seats were cleaner and the French couple joined us and we had a pleasant voyage in conversation with them which was great for our French because she spoke a little English so between us we could work out what we wanted to say.
The ferry docked at about 10:15 and after waiting for a poor Frenchman with a trailer behind his Motorhome to reverse off and up the ramp, we were at the immigration area by about  10:30.
With just a little bit of waiting and a few questions like, have you got any pistols? We were on our way by 11:00, amazing, it just gets better every year, what an improvement  the new Tanger Med port is compared with our first time with the Motorhome going into Tanger city when there was absolute chaos and touts everywhere.
Now just one more policeman to check that we had the rubber stamps on our forms and we were off. There is a fairly strict procedure to follow for entry into Morocco which has changed in the last couple of years so I will be producing an article on our website soon as a form of reference for ourselves and others if it will be helpful to them. There are quite a few on the web I have found which are now out of date so it won't hurt to provide an updated version.

When we left the Tanger Med Port this time we turned left heading along the Med coast rather than right which is the way most people go. Because we have become bored with the Atlantic coast and hundreds of Motorhomes with inevitably full camp sites. We intended to experience the Mediteranian coast and Riff mountains but understand that at this time of year (January) there can be snow making the mountains impassable. So intend to follow a figure of eight route possibly ending with a tour of the Mediteranian coast and Riff mountains. But as we are looking for a more leisurely time this trip, that may not happen.
So we trundled along the coast road past the many holiday hotels, finally  sweeping inland to Tetouan where we stumbled on a Marjan supermarket, these only exist in the large cities in Morocco so worth a stop to get anything we might have forgotten. The first discovery was a Maroc Telecom shop where we bought a new sym for the 3G dongle we bought last year so as to get internet on the move. It was a bit more than the whole thing cost last year 200 dirham about €18 or £15 which includes a month of relatively unlimited use, but we did buy it in a Souk (market) with our Moroccan friends help last year.
After buying some large bath towels to put on our chairs which we had forgotten to bring and the essential large bottles of drinking water, we continued our days journey towards Chefchaouen. We had bought a Moroccan Map for TomTom this time to make things easier but before we realised it had taken us what it thought was the quickest route, but not with a Motorhome nearly three meters wide at the mirrors. However time is not important and it turned out to be a beautiful detour into the edge of the Riff mountains, quite slow because of the rough roads and many steep hills and switch back turns but really worth the extra time. The cab camera we bought for our Italy tour should be great on this trip because it will quietly take pictures of the locals, the ladies especially usually turn their heads away when they see Judy with the camera their colourful costumes and interesting faces really make superbe photos.
We finally reached our camp site high above the pretty town of Chefchaouen where many of the buildings are painted in beautiful shades of blue and lilac. The road up to the camp site has some really challenging steep hairpin bends which are quite difficult to negotiate with our Sprintshift Auto gearbox. Arrived about 17:00 - 77200 so just 172 km today.
Stayed the next day at our campsite and took a walk down a very steep path into the old part of the town which is absolutely beautiful as most of the houses are painted various shades of blue, you can see some of our photos at:-  drop back occasionally to see the new one as we add them.

Wednesday 08/01/2014 - 77200km - 09:00
Left Chefchaouen to drive to Azru, we intended to stop at Meknes for a bit of sightseeing but it was so busy and smelly with traffic that we decided to just keep going. TomTom again decided to take us the pretty route which became piste (dirt road) in places and quite slow going because of the holes in the Tarmac but was pretty and interesting. We will have to be a bit more vigilant on the route he takes us from here on though because the minor roads can just run out and get very bad the further south we get.
Just before Azru we saw a very nice petrol station advertising that they took credit cards, which is very different to our previous visits when the only place to take cards was the Marjan Supermarkets. It really is amazing how quickly Morocco is progressing. Even at €0.87 per litre fuel is a major expense and can quickly get through cash so buying on a credit card is a bonus. We pulled in and Steve checked first and they did really take cards so we filled up.
Our French database of camping spots from had given strange mixed opinions of our intended nights stop a bit more confusing because it had been translated by Google Translate. Words like Disney Land, slippery slates, and impossible to reach the terrace left us full of wonder. 
TomTom took us to the door and it was indeed a Disney Casbar with a very impressive gate house which did indeed have glass smooth tiles to drive on. But past the guard on the gate they had obviously changed all the smooth tiles on the road for special grip ones which led very steeply to a large terrace about 30 meters above the road and fairy tale looking buildings which were the hotel. Unfortunately it was getting dark to take photographs so must remember tomorrow. So the faults in the design reported by previous French visitors had been rectified and produced a beautiful site as a result and only 60dh about £4.60 a night plus 20dh if electricity was needed. Unfortunately our charger has misteriously stopped working so electricity is of little use other than for the fridge, so we are relying on our solar panels and motoring to charge our domestic batteries until we hopefully get a reply to an email to the manufacturers to see if there is a re-setting procedure that may bring it to life again.
We had a fairly quiet night  and a late start so ignored a knock on the door at 08:30 with a guy outside holding bread. But when we checked out he said here is your loaf you were asleep when I called this morning, when Judy asked he said it was free, what a nice gesture, ok only about 1.5dh but still a nice gesture. A really good site, the staff were very respectful and helpful as we filled with water and emptied down and the facilities were impeccable. Euro Camping Center, Azrou, Ifran GPS: N 33.44471, W 5.1918 well worth a visit more than one night.j
Remembering to take some photos on our way down from the terrace we got on our way.

Thursday 09/01/2014 - 77473km - 10: 00
Left the beautiful site at Azru for a fairly short drive to Midelt but we intended to stop at a lake formed by a flooded extinct volcano our guide book said was worth a  visit.
Just outside Azru we were driving throu the Cedar forest and came upon the road full of wild Barbary apes similar the the ones that inhabit the rock of Gibralter. Steve had read about them but had forgotten, so we pulled off the road for a few photos then ten minutes later came across quite a few holding a sit-in right across the road but they slowly but reluctantly moved aside as we slowly edged forward.
We came across the lake about lunch-time so drove the kilometer off road to park by it. We had visited the same spot about five years ago on a previous visit but it was covered in snow then and we had to keep the heating on all night to keep warm and that was the beginning of March then so it is much warmer this year as there was no snow at all and we had a nice lunch stop. A Maroccan guy appeared in his car and Steve chatted to him for a bit and he said he was waiting for a tourist bus as he was going to take them into the old French lead mines to show them where he hunted for fossils. He showed Steve a couple of beautiful examples he just happened to have with him and finished with the inevitable sales pitch but it was a very good natured pitch.
Moving on we arrived at Midelt about 15:00 being very high it was quite cold so we decided to push on across the High Atlas Mountains to the oasis of Source Bleu at Meski which we had visited before and had a nice drive over the mountains apart from being pushed over a bit by a truck and hitting a large pothole with a very loud bang, we stopped as soon as we could for a check and there appeared to be no damage apart from a few things jumping out of cupboards, hopefully the tyre will be ok, there is no apparent damage.
We arrived at Meski at about 16:30 but remembering that there was no 3G reception at the oasis which was in a gorge about 10 metres below the surrounding ground level down a steep slope so we stopped at the top to pick up emails in case leVoyageur the Motorhome manufacturers had replied with a solution to the charger problem, unfortunately not. 
Just gone 17:00 we headed for the site to be stopped by a smartly dressed Maroccan gentleman trying to get us to go to his camp site. We declined as it was getting dark and the entry to the oasis was very tight and we didn't want to hit any of the many palm trees we knew we had to steer between.
The camp site had deteriation quite a bit fromlast year and the traders with shops there seemed to think that it was our duty to buy something at their shop and had to be told quite firmly, NO.
Steve then wished we had taken the time to check out the other camping.

Friday 10/01/2014 - 77755 - 08:50
We paid our 50dh for the night and decided we would check out the other place and there at the top of the slope out was the same guy so we went with him just 50mtr along the road to his resteraunt where he had parking for four Motorhomes in the front and another area for four more across the road.
He insisted on showing Steve every part of his establishment including the kitchen and the panoramic view across the gorge to the old abandoned village which we didn't know about. With promises to stop on our way back north Steve finally extricated himself with card in hand. Certainly worth remembering.
We had a fairly easy drive to Mazouga ahead of us but it started raining sorn after we started and all the way down to the edge of the Sahara, oh dear.
A Dutchman last year had told us to turn off a little bit before Mazouga which we did and found a really nice Auberge Camping called Ocean Dunes in a village called Adrouine  which is 50dh per night with free Electricity and WiFi so will be our home for a week or so if we like it. So arrived at our first long stop about midday after just 112km drive today.
We got ourselves set up then had a stroll around the village which was actually quite large with quite a few small grocers shops for supplies.
Unfortunately it started raining again and continued for the rest of the night so an evening of reading.

Saturday 11/01/2014
Morning turned out fine but cloudy and cool, one of the lads from the site knocked at 08:30 with a loaf of bread 2dh so after breakfast and a few chores we set out for a walk to Mazouga for a bit of excercise after nearly a week sitting. It was a long walk about 5 miles and the route we took ended up in soft desert sand which was very hard going but quite safe because we could see the villages all the time on our right and the gigantic sand dunes about 2km to our left.
After a little walk around Mazouga which had improved quite a bit from last year in that the main road with shops in it which was just sand last year was now Tarmac with a nice shaded area with seats in the middle.
The walk back was a bit easier along the new wide gravel road which had been built between the villages.
Arrived back after about four hours walking a bit stiff but feeling good so an afternoon and evening reading.

Sunday 12/01/2014
Awoke to bright sunshine,  so after a light stroll around the village and finding a little shop with quite a few veggies we settled down for a quiet day in the sun.
So a week of travelling and we are now settled in a nice site, we are the only English because all the others are French but a good chance to improve our conversation. The French come here because it is one of the few French speaking places they can easily visit.
So we are unlikely to post any more until we move on or something exciting happens because it is difficult to write about lazy days in the sun.