Spring is beautiful! Enjoy the pictures!
Spring is beautiful! Enjoy the pictures!
km: around 620
I spend some more days in Tangier and on Thursday I feel healthy enough to move on. Next stop is Moulay Bousselham where another nature reserve for migratory birds including flamingos attracts me. Arriving there I am just in time to enjoy sunset. While having my first guy a young guy who either just arrived comes to me and starts talking. He has lost his passport and is pretty finished. His name is Joe and he is from Teneriffa travelling overland in a Jeep from one beach to the next mostly for the waves (He is an 18 year old surfer). We decide to take a nice apartment on the beach together and next day in the morning we take a boat out to the lagoon to do some bird watching. After half an hour on the boat my small movie camera falls into the water at the bottleneck of the lagoon. The tide is up so the water doesn’t move… We try to find the camera for some time using nets but when the tide goes down the current becomes stronger and we have to give up. I am pissed.
Next day (Saturday) morning Joe goes back to Assilah where he believes his passport to be.while I try everything to find a possibility to replace the camera I lost (even though the files including one nice sunset in Chefchauouen and the ride to here are lost). As I expected there is no possibility to get a gopro camera in Morocco and sending would cause problems because of customs. Fortunately I find a small shop in Ceuta who is Gopro dealer. Fernando, the shop keeper whom I contact via Internet reacts immediately and is extremely helpful so I decide to go back to the north to visit his shop to replace the camera. Joe fortunately gets back his passport so at least this problem is solved.
Sunday morning I agree with Joe to meet on monday in Kenitra (260 km south of Ceuta close to Rabat, the capitol of Morrocco) where he will go today. I go back to Ceuta border where I stay for the night. Monday morning I quickly (no joke) cross the border to go shopping and then take the motorway south. Fernando invites me for coffe in Ceuta, gives me some tipps as he is travelling on two wheels either and of course gives me all I came for. If you need any GOPRO supply in this area visit Fernando! His “Corner Shop” is located inside the Benetton store and you will find it at N35°53.258’ W005°18.666′,by clicking this link or just calling him at 0034636023039 – his phone.
I arrive in Kenitra around sunset and take more than half an hour before I turn round to check out a hotel I had seen close to the highway. Joe didn’t send me a message until I left the morrocan border town so I need to check internet anyway and if the hotel is not to expensive and there is no message I could maybe stay there. The hotel is amazing but way to expensive. Fortunately Joe has written a message so I get a coffee and try to find him. My front light is finished so it is little hard to ride all through the city with far distance lights only but the traffic jam is way better and I find Joe about an hour later. I had been raining all day so the road to the hotel is covered with lakes of water to a depth of more than 30cm. You never know when riding into one how deep it will get so I have some little adventures before arriving at medhia surf club.
When I get there all is fine. We quickly get some food and go to bed soon. The next days I fix the front light and wednesday evening we want to drive and ride into the sunset at the beach. Joe had told me about driving along the beach for 40km so I can’t wait to do it! We do hardly 50 meters down to the water until both of us get stuck at the beach at a beautiful sunset. Joe fortunately manages to free his car by taking some air out of the tyres and then goes up to the surf camp to get some help. Four of us easily manage to get the bike up to the road again too so we are lucky and again have some adventure today.
December 14. 2013
Km today: 120 +15 on the ferry
Today is the day! Today we will cross over to Africa! And the weather seems to kick us out of Europe – its stormy, cold and the sky is full of dark clouds. We sleep long which is good after the exhausting last two days and go to have chai at our Pakistani friend in the morning. The ticket is around 100 Euro for two Persons and the bike which seems pretty expensive. After bargaining and running around for an hour we get one for 100 and save around 5 euro. We then get petrol and ride around in the harbor searching the ferry for about quarter an hour before finding it. The ferryride offers amazing views of Gibraltar and a stormy sea. Its not really quiet and you can see the upset sea in the eyes of many people. At the very end of the ferry where it goes up and down like on a roller coaster people stand and smoke hashish openly while I try to get a grip and take some pictures.
We get of the ferry in Ceuta which still is Spain and cross the border a few kilometers after leaving the ferry. At the border there is a long queue of cars so I stop at its end. After 15 minutes I recognize the queue being somehow Indian style… I start the engine and go to the front. Spanish side is quickly and on the Morrocan side we get caught by two “guides”. This guys I always meet at foreign borders, for a few Euro they would help you through the border ceremony and I believe its worth it. Anyway I had to stand in another queue at a fish tank office for about an hour to get my stamp for the motorbike while the last rays of the sun disappeared.
After crossing the border the road is new, full of light, two lanes, a speed limit nobody takes care of… No problem to go the 100km to Chefchaouen even at night. But after 50km the road changes becoming an amazing motorbike road. Mountains to the left and right, amazing curves, little traffic and a lot of police checkpoints.
Arriving in Chefchaouen we try to get directly to the center. Going wrong direction down a one way a guy in a yellow traffic jacked stops us, and shows us a place to park, to eat and to sleep. Hospitaly here is amazing and people still stay friendly (or become even more friendly) when they realize I am here for touring the mountains on the motorbike and not to buy the drugs this area is famous for too. We get a real nice room in an amazing traditionel Haveli for a real fair price – Mint tea, roof top and wifi included – even the surrounding mountains remind me of Pushkar. After check in we want to take a little walk but Abdullah is already waiting for us to take us to his families restaurant and we get traditional Morrocan Tajine! After going back to the hotel we fall asleep quickly as we are very tired even though we did only few kilometers today. However this is the first target, and an amazing one too! We sleep long the next morning and then enjoy mint tea in the hot sun on the rooftop. I get shaved when I go to change some money and find out they have hamam and guglhupf here! I buy some Guglhupf and go back to our sunny rooftop to finish the blog. Morroco is great so far and I can’t wait to see it closer!
December 12. 2013
Km today: 630
I wake up in time and all is ready packed so I quickly go for a coffee with rocky to say good bye without waking the others (the most was 8 people sleeping in the 50 m2 flat while I was there – but no problem at all, rather cosy and full of love). Still when packing the bike everybody opened the eyes for a moment to say good bye. Thank you all, I really enjoyed meeting you! And thank you Gudny for the contact! I leave Barcelona a little after sunrise at 8:30. The landscape is amazingly beautiful and once again there are tears rolling down my face because of happiness caused by the the beauty and the love surrounding me.
Climbing some hills it becomes pretty cold above an altitude of 500 when riding in the middle of some clouds (I go up to 800 twice today). Everything is covered with rime and I really start freezing.
A little later, around 12 o clock I arrive at the delta of the river Ebro which is much smaller than I expected. Calling this a big river is a little ridiculous… But this means I already did 240km which is pretty good. I avoid toll roads and it is crazy to see that spain obviously has (at least here) two highways! One for rich people charging 10c/km and one for free! The choice is easy and after climbing up to a little less freezing 800m a second time I arrive in Alicante around half past four – an hour before sunset!
More and more local motorcyclists start greeting me with a thumb up when they see where I come from. At Alicante I go straight to the best western hotel I had choosen at the internet. Online it looked like a nice hotel and it said balcony and bath for 17,55 euro! But when I arrive there it does not look nice at all and they want to charge 39 euro instead of 17…. They offer 35 and I go and get a coffee. The barkeeper wants to take a picture of him the bike and me so I take the chance and ask for a cheap hotel. He sends me somewhere, I lose the way and try what the gps has to offer… It offers two categories…. Hotels and hostel I try hostels as I guess these are the cheaper ones and the first one in the list is called hotel Santa Ana. My only true loves name was Santana so I go there without any doubt.
At the counter I meet Oman, a young African guy and when I tell him where I am going he is immediately ready to give me a room for 20 euros – including bath and balcony! When his mother comes he tells her about me and she invites me for coffee and some amazing African food! I am sooo lucky! And the name actually is Santa Lucia hostel – my gps made a strange mistake to make sure I come here….After taking a little walk to buy some candles and foam to have a nice bath I come back and sit in hot water for nearly an hour! Soooo nice!
I have to wait one day more than expectd for the new chain for the bike. I take some walks and a ride through town on the second day. Not so much happening but some nice pictures….
Dec. 9. 2013
Today is a funny day. First I find a mechanic around the corner (first working day since I am here) who can change chain and back tyre. Both are really finished and I take the chance to buy a heavy chain to lock the bike too. Even though Barcelona seems to be much safer than Marseille I am happy to be able to lock it properly. The mechanic promises to get all he needs until tomorrow so I go to the club in the afternoon.
When I come back in the evening I have to pull the bike back up a little and to do so I have to get down. While doing so I block the narrow street for a few seconds and suddenly to cops jump on me…. Smilingly. They help me to put the bike on the bike park and then say good bye still smiling. Being dressed like the last hippie standing I am really surprised. I wonder if things like this (will) ever happen in Austria.
In the evening I make around two kg Apfelradel for everybody and they are eaten nearly before I am finished making them. Success, they love them!
December 7 & 8
Ok, first in the morning I prove I am a complete idiot! We are all together 6 people in the flat and 4 have been out until morning. I wake up and manage to be very quiet disturbing nobody for two hours. Then I decide to get out for a coffee. I can take a key, so no problem. Downstairs I recognize I forgot the GPS which has often been a great help on the first day in a foreign city. I go back and when I want to turn on the light in the stairway to find the keyhole I recognize it is the doorbell. Everybody is awake now and I get a coffee and breakfast from the bakery around the corner while the others wake up. I find a vegetable merchant named “Punjab” and get some ginger there being happy to be able to talk to someone in a language I know a bit. The Pakistani guy behind the counter is completely confused and just does not understand that I speak by far more Urdu than Spanish. I find the way back to the flat without ever using support of the GPS…
In the evening we go to a concert in a private smokers club. I find out making music in the street can be fined up to 300 Euro so many musicians play in private smoking clubs now. The one we are is really nice, clean and comfortable. Usually smoking is prohibited like everywhere in Europe but in private clubs it is possible so these clubs seems to become a place of culture. On the way to the club is see a Pakistani barber and get my first proper shave for half a year. On we walk passing a Pakistani quarter arriving at the club only a little later. I really enjoy the evening and stay longer than the others. I enjoy the walk back home a lot eating Samosa in a restaurant that makes me feel like in india. Tonight we are 7 people in the flat tonight and I sleep very well after falling asleep very late.
Next day we visit the gueell park where I finally find some musicians and take some amazing pictures. On the way back I split from the others again and make some detours on the way home. After sunset it’s getting cold pretty fast. In the evening we are all tired and watch music together. The last three days have been holidays here so tomorrow will be the first day for me in Barcelona with opened shops. I desperately need some chain lubricant for the bike so going to a bike supply shop will be the first thing to be done tomorrow.
December 6. 2013
Km today: 760
What a day! I wake up a little past 6am as I want to catch the flamingos in the Camargue if possible at sunrise. When I leave Marseille the sun is already rising but its still to early too cross the river Rhone on the ferry which would make a good shortcut. I have to go north to Arles to the bridge and the south again around 80km up and down along the river. A little before Arles, around 50km after Marseille I recognize I forgot my cellphone. Damn! Turn round, go back… When I ride direction camargue again the ferry should be working (said the internet). It is not! So back again to Arles after another 15km detour to find out that the ferry is out of order. I pass the camargue pretty quickly making only one stop to see the flamingos – and they are really extremely amazing!
Only making a stop for petrol I take the fastest way to the border then. There is Mistral all the way which makes the ride cold and unbalanced. Yesterday I spotted an amazing road at the border from france to spain – seemed like a lot of amazing curves exactly where the Pyrenees meet the sea. I really make it to do this road in the last light of the day and it’s even more amazing than it looked like! Only this road was worth coming all the way. After this road it’s completely dark so I move back to the highway and go to Barcelona as fast as possible. The shortest way including the camargue would have been around 550km but including all the detours I managed to take 760km from Marseille to Spain. I arrive at friends of a close friend around nine and all is perfect in the second I arrive. In the evening we quickly make a little music and a walk around their place. I feel really welcome with Rocky and his friends! Spanish is completely new and I wonder how long it will take me this time to learn the most important phrases… I like Barcelona a lot and can’t wait for tomorrow!