Date: 16-17th September 2019
Travelled: 142 kms from Gibraltar to Chechaouen in Morocco
Stayed: Camping Azilan €11, the usual services. N35.17593, W05.26692
Budget: 99 days @ €74 per day
We make a move, service the Hymer and ready ourselves for the road after two nights in the aire in Gibraltar. Another grey and misty morning, so we assume that’s how the autumn mornings are in Gibraltar.
First challenge of the day we take the Hymer across into Gibraltar and fill with duty free diesel at €.99 @ litre, hence we go through border control and customs twice in 10 minutes. We drive on back to Algeciras and do some shopping at the Carrefour filling the fridge to capacity. Pam finds a hairdresser for a quick trim and we continue down to the port, missing the ferry by a minute or two.
There is another ferry in two hours so we have coffee and something eat, relax and tidy up a couple of emails. Our Australian phone plan isn’t free to use in Morocco and our Spanish data sim won’t work either. So some new sims are a priority.
Map of Ceuta.
The ferry is on-time we settle the Hymer into the cargo hold and lock it up. Take a seat and chat our way from Europe to Africa which takes about an hour. The ferry arrives in Ceuta on time and we roll off the ferry. Ceuta is a Spanish enclave that provides a customs base for good passing from Africa to the EU. Its all been smooth sailing until now, nothing can describe crossing the frontier into Morocco.
The frontier is a madhouse of Police, Customs, and blue coated helpers from both countries waving madly, shouting this an that and generally processing people vehicles and goods passing through. You cannot take photos, so no pictures. But we managed to go through all the processes reasonably smoothly in about 90 minutes, before purchasing 2 SIM card loaded with data.
Map of Chechaouen, the icon on our overnight spot.
The day is done and so are we. It was a long and sometimes stressful day, so we enjoy a drink over a seafood salad we had purchased earlier at the Carrefour.
We are woken by the call to prayer at 5.30 am. Reminds us of our adventures in Turkey several years ago.
We have a good Aussie breakfast before asking the gate guy to call us a taxi. €2 later we are dropped off at the gates to the Medina. Originally known by its Spanish name of Chaouen (meaning peaks), Chefchaouen was founded in 1471 as a base for the Raffian Berber tribes to attack the Portuguese settlements, then the Spanish defeated the muslims, you know how the story goes…
We have a wonderful time wandering the Medina and the Casaba for a couple of hours. There are hardly any people about and we chat to the odd shopkeeper and browse the numerous laneways. Around 11.30 am it starts to change we see some big groups walking around and we know the buses have arrived.
By mid-day we have walked and seen enough for now. The sun is hot, but the shade is cool. We find a little restaurant with a patio at the rear. We take in the view, order an orange juice and breakfast plate, then take our time.
We wander back down through the Medina to the old gate and catch a taxi back up to the campsite. We relax, planning on returning to the Medina in the early evening.
Our guide book recommends Le Lampe Magique a restaurant overlooking the Medina. Another €2 taxi and we walk back though the old gate to the Medina. It is literally alive with people walking about.
We find our restaurant, luckily enough get a table overlooking the Medina. Order from the targine menu and take in Chefchaouen as the sun sets over the Blue City of Morocco.
Michael and Pam.