Dedicated to a wonderful Mother Jean Noble 31/5/1929 - 20/8/2007 - may we never take our mothers for granted. - Goodbye Mum
MOROCCO PAGE 1 JANUARY 2008
Present day knowledge almost universally believes Africa is the birthplace of our species – Humankind. The picture above (From our second day in the country) shows the ordinary people of Morocco offering a typical welcome. The currency of Morocco is the Dirham 1 MAD = $AUD0.15... Of course no one EVER gets the “interbank rate”. The rate is a myth, for ordinary mortals!
Monies in Aussie Dollars
23rd January 2008. Ceuta
Approx. 4k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min Max speed kph Max temp we recorded 11°C
Cycled about 4 k's from the boat to our “Spanish Ceuta” hotel – after negotiation we got what we thought was the best price. As soon as we had parked our bikes in the hotels secure parking area they hit us for the “Bike parking fee” €10 (about $AUD17.50)
Sickened by the entire experience, I told the guy where to shove his fee. He said “the other hotels are more expensive”.. Told him I did not care, I was going anyway... He then “waived” the fee – with a sly smile.
24th January 2008. Ceuta Spanish
Morocco. To within 20 k's of Tangier
Approx. 46.6k's Average Speed 7.18kph Cycling time 6Hr(s) 29Min Max speed 51kph Max temp we recorded 14°C
Rising at 06:15 we cycled in total darkness to the border. I hate borders and all the passport rigmarole, however, there was little pain from this entry into Morocco “proper”. Dawn was just breaking as we started our journey into Africa.
Without exception the day was the toughest ride we have ever experienced!! Six and a half hours to cycle 46 k's.. We climbed to 2,750 feet in one hit then back down to sea level. We followed this by climbing up again to 2,180 feet and again down to sea level. We are now at 1,110 feet. It was not just the height but the incredible incline of some parts. The mountain's were frightening... on some of the ridges, the high wind had us terrified. Sheer drops on both sides were simply incomprehensible... no safety rails and road (yes the new road) falling away down the mountainside.
the road is new and still to be finished, hence these horrifying conditions. Conversely the views were absolutely breathtaking... The welcome we got by the Moroccan people, was TOTALLY without precedent for us.. We had barely cycled 3 k's when a Lady asked if we would like coffee... at this point we had averaged 3.69 KPH. We had no coffee this morning and had not eaten breakfast. The sights are very different, as here.....
He approved this picture before giving us the thumbs up :-)
We were stopped by a guy who took movie's and asked us if he could put them in the newspaper – he showed us his “Press Card”
Unable to interview us due to language difficulties he went on his way... Non the wiser I guess, but who knows. Of ten drivers that passed us, nine waved or shouted encouragement... There were times we felt like “film stars”... It was/is simply incredible... I must have shook twenty pairs of hands today.. This simply cannot last... there has to be a “dark side” :-) Catchya Later I am absolutely Knackered
25th January 2008. Within 20 k's of
Tangier to Tangier.
Approx. 19.76k's Average Speed 9.77kph Cycling time 2Hr(s) 1Min Max speed 36kph Max temp we recorded 12°C
Leaving our hotel with only about 20K planned for the day...
Another hilly ride on tired legs, but not near as hilly as yesterday. We stopped at a small café for breakfast... Two freshly cooked breads, with cheese (unleavened), two coffee's and a mint tea, 11 Dirhams (About $AUD1.75)
The locals were amazed at our bikes, but most disappeared at photo time – as usual we asked first :-) We entered Tanger on a beautiful new and wide boulevard. There was even a cycle path!!
Apprehensive, not knowing what next. Our bikes attract so much attention, unlike Australia, Britain and Europe we knew we were in for a rough time... Swarming crowds surrounded us whenever we stopped, making it very difficult for us to search for a hotel. We eventually found a fourth world dive at 100 Dirhams ($AUD15.00) per night...
A terrible room but a secure home for our bikes, for (hopefully) only one night. Off to explore and find another hotel... Catchya Later..
Saturday 26th January 2008. Tangier.
Approx. k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min Max speed kph Max temp we recorded 12°C (cold today)
Remain Tangier as we will until at least Tuesday... We must get guide books. Met a guy in a local produce shop..
He speaks excellent English as well as Arabic, French, Berber and some Spanish. A devout Muslim, he has strong views on the world and mankind's current state of play. His views are well balanced and not, as some may expect, only from an Islamic perspective. Married for twenty years, he has a lovely wife, two boys and a girl. We both wish him well and thank him and his family for their hospitality.
27th January 2008. Tangier.
Approx. k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min Max speed kph Max temp we recorded 12°C
After a reconnoitre of the area – without the bikes - we negotiated a hotel for just €2.77 (About $4.80) more than our Spanish “refugee camps”
Complete with satelight TV en suite, fridge and small lounge area PLUS...... our bikes are safely in front of Reception.
Good deal whilst we remain for the start of the working week (Monday 28th ) and get what we need to move on... We did not record our stat's today as they are too low... it IS cold though... Catchya Later...
28th to Thursday the 31st January 2008. Remain
NO cycles used as they attract too much attention.
We remain Tangier to visit and explore this fascinating city...
is a cycling trip and how must it be done? After reading and
digesting what Andrew and
Joanne said after stopping their trip. It is clear the road is a
VERY hard task master and if we were to rise early, day after day and
cycle as far as we can, it would soon become mundane. We have decided
to learn from our “mentors” Andrew
and Joanne and adjust our format a
exploring, when appropriate and less cycling during these times. We
will continue our diary format day by day and add photo's as we can,
even during those sightseeing days :-).
Tangier is so fascinating we are in awe.. We have decided to stay a while – at this point – until Saturday the 2nd February. We have been invited to a local home by a young lady we have met at the “internet café” . Her Mum and Dad do not speak English, but want to meet us. So we recommence cycling towards Casablanca on Saturday the 2nd of February.... Catchya later...
January has been a time of immense change for us. We succumbed to the freezing northern winters and took a “motorised” path south. It is the best choice for a number of reasons. Europe has become so expensive with their strengthening currency, as to make extended travel prohibitive. New “tourist taxes” are being added (already in some countries) so as to make it even more expensive. Early plans for our trip are in chaos due to fighting and security issues. February and beyond are now a mystery!
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