So here we are four years on from when first thought about coming back to Morocco (that was actually half way through our last trip in 2009 with www.desertdetours.com). Due to work we leave the UK on the evening of Friday 3rd May and have to be at the meeting point near San Roque in southern Spain by lunchtime on Monday. After a bum-numbing 1953km and 21 hours driving time we make it with time to spare. For those interested we stayed at the Aire Baix de la Somme, Abbeville on Friday and Aire Bidart, Bayonne on Saturday. Sunday night was in a nameless service station to the south of Seville, having taking the more picturesque route through Spain via Salamanca and not Madrid. With time against us we had to stick to the toll roads at a cost of almost €180 but they are empty so well worth it.
After the hours spent travelling over the weekend the quick 90 minute hop over Los Alcornocales on Monday morning into Algeciras was nothing! A little shopping to top the cupboards up and ensure the wine cellar is fully stocked (Morocco is a dry country), then it’s off to the meeting point at Casa Bernardos, another well used restaurant/service station/lorry park to join up with our fellow travellers and the tour leaders. A smaller group this time with just seven vans plus Steve our leader/guide. Ray is with us to begin with and will then disappear to do a recce of Eastern Morocco for future possible tours before catching up with us later in the trip.
After a sleepless night (lorries coming and going, dogs barking) it’s a 6.45 start to get to the port for the 8am ferry. We only lose two vans on the way to the port but they soon find us and it’s a gentle crossing to Ceuta and the dreaded border crossing into Morocco. It’s quite difficult to describe the chaos at the border and you cannot take photographs; there are just bodies and vehicles everywhere! Moroccans shop in Ceuta which is still part of Spain so cars and people are constantly being stopped to see who and what in going in and out of the country. Three marked lanes become about five cars wide and some cars are doing U-turns as they are turned away from entering Morocco for who knows why. Lots of men want to “assist” us with immigration and the van importation but for a fee of course. And to top everything else the port is undergoing major reconstruction so there are workmen and dust to add the the usual melee. However Ray has taken care of all the necessary “expediting payments” and after an hour or so of watching the chaos we’re through and the trip can begin……