Day 1 : Shepard’s and Donkeys

Monday 1st April.

Technology having let me down this is the second attempt to write this section. No idea yet when it will be posted!

Having spent a very wet night at the campsite in Spain, we awoke to clear blue sky. It was an early start as Mike, the expedition leader, had dictated that wheels needed to be rolling at 8am sharp.This was achieved by all allowing us to make the 20 mile trip to the port with ease.

With the weather being unpredictable there was a chance that our quick crossing may be cancelled meaning our journey across the Mediterranean Sea could be extended from 30 minutes to 2 hours! Therefore it was important for us to be ready on the quay. The ferry was on time and the trip to Ceuta was without incident.

Once back on land, and still in Spain, there was a short drive to the boarder. Mohamed our “fixer” sorted all the paperwork, stamps in passports and import licenses for the vehicles, then we were free to go.

The boarder post was everything expected of Africa. The police, army, boarder guard, immigration, etc. are all there in their various uniforms and asking their questions. With this and the general hustle of humanity, vehicles and animals added to the general chaos.

It was here that the first real incident of the trip occurred. For no apparent reason the rear windscreen on my car had shattered. As it isn’t laminated it had crazed into a million pieces, but fortunately was largely still in place. Two rolls of duck tape applied to both the inside and outside and the temporary repair was complete.Fingers crossed this will hold until home.

Having completed the boarder crossing, exchanged some cash and refilled the cars we were off. The days drive constituted of a 200 mile run from the coast south to near Meknes through the Rif mountains. The road was generally good, but not fast; equivalent in most parts to our B roads.

The route took us through mountains, mountain passes with past flowing brown rivers and then into wide flat plains with wheat or corn growing.

Everywhere there are donkeys, some feeding at the side of the road, others carrying huge loads. Everything here has to earn its keep. Also there are loads of Shepard’s some with just a handful of animals, others with loads; sheep, goats and cows are all herded around the countryside.

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