Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Morocco

Yay, we're here😃
Arrived in Tangier Med around 6pm. Too late really given how soon it goes dark this far south but it was a very painless entry. Far less hassle than Ceuta. Still confusing of course. Just when you think youre nearly done the customs guy sends you back to the Police to get your CIN number validated. The CIN is the Police number in your passport, who knows it's purpose but it's obviously important.
So off I go in search of a Police man. I ask a guy in a hi via jacket, he takes me over to a booth that looks shut. Blinds all firmly closed, no sign of life. He VERY gingerly taps the glass......nothing. I can tell he really doesn't want to try again, or be within a 100m of here.
He has another go. Some  movement. The door opens the width of a hand and, well a hand appears out of the darkness. I hand over my passport. The door shuts and my helper in the Hi Vis pretty much runs away.
5 minutes pass, the door opens, the width of a hand and my passport reappears. Back to the customs guy, who goes back to his PC.
I'm instructed to stay by the van. It would appear that their IT systems are actually quite integrated. 5 minutes later and he's back we're good to go. There is another check point which I've observed other travellers being stopped at a 100m up the road, but he's busy on his mobile so the barrier lifts and we really are on our way.
So onwards to Asilah for the night. Asilah looks good but it's chucking it down with rain and it's been a long day so and early night.
I'd stocked up on red wine before we left Spain. A 5 litre box, should be enough for a day or two😂
Shame it's bloody Sherry, doh🤔 explains why it's 15% proof.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Roman Fishing Village and Tarifa

Saturday. We visited some Roman ruins here:
Baelo Claudia
Location: geo:36.089806,-5.7714167
They were pretty impressive, in their day from around 100BC to 700AD this were an important tuna processing area. Here, on an industrial scale. The fish processing areas are still clearly visible. The odd thing being is that if you didn't search them out you’d never figure they were here. Not a single tourist sign until you’re literally at the gate. Free entrance for EU members.
Next to
Tarifa
Location: geo:36.01278,-5.604894
We liked it here, but given that it was a bank holiday Saturday parking was a bit of a nightmare, we ended up parked on the outskirts and walking, and walking.
The Spanish really don’t do leafy suburbs, if the sun wasn’t shining it would do a good impression of eastern Germany on a November day before the wall came down.
But the old town was great, a bit touristic but cool. Lunch was good, red tuna. A massive steak of tuna, 3 times the size you’d see at home for €15. Not bad.
Apparently Tarifa was known for its high suicide rate, attributed to the constant wind sending people nuts. I can believe it, as much as I liked the place a few hours is enough!!
Even though we’ve done nothing much we're both exhausted by the time we get back, can’t even be bothered to cook or go out for dinner. So a couple of G and T's for dinner instead. It’s tough here😂

Tarifa

Well North of Tarifa, here:
Torre de la Peña
Location: geo:36.05614,-5.659128

This site has such a different feel to the last place, which could well have been a holiday camp for the over 70's Tory Party. 90% plus were obviously long term Brits staying for the winter. Most of them would do their best to avoid even acknowledging you, with of course a few exceptions.
This site has a far better vide, a bit haphazard, but far more friendly. We're maybe the only Brits here. It’s mostly Spanish and German. So here’s my thoughts on this friendly or not stuff.
 It’s got very little to do with nationality and a huge amount to do with location. The miserable sites, have without exception, been large, expensive and purport to be 4 star and above. The facilities need to be immaculate for a truly aloof and miserable ambience. Go figure.
So we can see and feel Morocco from here. The Atlas mountains are visible, but it’s pretty hazy. When I say feel, omg the southerly wind is just hot, hot, hot. Last night it felt like, for a laugh, someone had placed a fan heater on the roof and directed it through the powered vent. Talking of which. The Fiamma  powered roof vent has been absolutely brilliant on this trip. Unfortunately, when we're not connected to the mains the battery/solar panel can only just cope with it running on its slowest speed for the night.
Post trip mod. A second 100watt panel and a bigger battery.
We'll hang around here for a few days, go into Tarifa and visit a Roman fishing village a few km's North.
Morocco, probably around the 26th. But.....just checked the weather for Essouria. 39 Celsius!!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Ronda to the Med. Via the Scenic Route.


So I did ask “direct or scenic roads?”
There are a few issues with the scenic route, if you've got anything bigger than a Sprinter, forget these roads. Windy doesn't cover it. At times it felt like a 90 degree bend every 50 metres. Single track, no barriers, drop offs of a few hundred metres, road crumbling away in places. Marie loved every minute. The villages were tight, a few mm  either side of the mirrors and steep.
Literally thousands of sweet chestnut trees, and loads of people collecting them. Seriously tough work I’d imaging, very steep banks to scramble along and peace work no doubt.
Sloooow progress, maybe 10 to 15mph a lot of the time. I'll try and do a screen copy of the route.
Loved it, including the stop for lunch at a Spanish bikers caff.
Arrived at our campsite, after some concrete jungle roads. It's, well, very good. If you check out the reviews for these types of sites you'll find a disproportionate fixation on the sanitary facilities. Given the demographics I sort of understand this. We'll move on soon, if for no other reason that it’s €30 A night FFS! It does have cable TV points at each pitch though, there you go you really do get what you pay for. Here's that word again, Hireath🤔
j


Seville to the White Villages of Andalusia

 We head south, first stop a random castle that we spot on the horizon. It’s a Moorish castle that was placed on the border between Seville and Granada. It’s not big but really well preserved and we're the only ones there. Nice find.



Next stop:
Arcos de la Frontera
Location: geo:36.747684,-5.7997355
Well it isn't a stop actually, after some random driving through really narrow streets we give up and move on. To:
Grazalema
Location: geo:36.7584,-5.3660917
More luck here, so we park up and have a wonder around, a beer and some shopping for sausages, cheese, cake etc.
Next stop:
Ronda
Location: geo:36.742134,-5.1665998
We park up with 3 or 4 other camper vans on the outskirts, great place. A peaceful nights sleep and an easy stroll in to Ronda for breakfast. I’d read that this place can become rammed with tourists, and sure enough as we’re leaving coach loads of the  usual selfie addicted  suspects are arriving. We really liked Ronda.
By 11:30ish and a few coffees later we're on our way towards the coast. We’ve decided to give the med a go. We fancy some calm warm seas to play in. Not too sure about the Costa's though. We'll see.





Sunday, 8 October 2017

I Hate Apple

I loathe and detest their consumerist / profiteering junk. Why?
Marie’s iPhone 6 is absolute junk. Unfortunately she has all the data. 30G compared to my 500meg. This wouldn't be an issue if she hadn't left her Apple charging lead at home. We have a generic one in the van, but her phone is so “clever” it knows it’s not genuine and continuously throws error messages up. So we buy another, good quality one before we leave the UK. I’ve got better things to do than trawling around looking for genuine Apple stuff. But no after a couple of days it figures out this is non genuine and stops charging. 3rd new lead. Yeah it works...for a week FFS!!! This is just typical Apple nonsensical crap which no other manufacturer seems to be able or want to impose on their customers. We seem to spend our days obsessing about will it won't it work today, life’s too short for that!!
Even when it does decide to charge, which seems pretty random, the battery life is pathetic. All we want is to be able to use Google maps and the odd search when we're out and about. It’s incapable of such a simple task.
So it may or may not be the lead. Buy a new Apple one for £40? They’re junk and fail within months or ....
Online searches confirm iPhone's are known for this. Hard reset. Nope. Backup and reinstall. Nope. Haven't got a pc and there’s never Wi-Fi in Europe that’s up to that.
So £200 to repair it, or a new phone?? Nope, Apple you can do one. Compared to Jess and Ellie's Huawei P9's the camera is pathetic, barely better than my 720p resolution phone😂 the operating system certainly doesn't live up to the hype. So there you go, I'll take great pleasure in jumping up down on it until it’s in a million pieces. Umm, no wait. There's going to be a queue of Apple fanboyz waiting to hand over a load of dosh......
Through all this my 50quid refurbed Huawei has worked just fine. Just no data. We'll chuck the iPhone and get a cheapee phone and alter my data plan. Mine is only £4.99 a month so 500meg isn't bad.

Sun Rise in Seville

Sun Rise in Seville.
We stay at Camping Villsom
Location: geo:37.277637,-5.937102
For a city campsite it’s really good. Very friendly and helpful staff who speak perfect English.
The bus into Seville is about 400m away and costs €1.65 one way. It’s about a 45 minute journey (how much would that trip be in the UK? I’d have no idea as we only have one bus a day going 2  miles down the road )
I’m not a big fan of cities but Seville is stunning, we actually arrive at:
Plaza de España
Location: geo:37.377045,-5.9869695 just in time for sunrise. Wow!!



By 12:30 It’s beer and tapas time. We have a great lunch people watching. The tapas, considering Seville is supposed to do the best tapas isn't great but hey, we're in tourist central. A couple of buskers do their stuff. One a local does a sort of Spanish gypsy kings type thing, the other a guy who first of all claims he’s from south Africa but then decided he was from Senegal plays a wierd looking thing and sings some sort of African song. I liked him but he couldn't hold a tune to save his life😁
After a 2 hour lunch and too much to eat we saunter back towards the bus stop and find......a sort of world food fair. Doh... we’re both stuffed but wonder around looking at food stalls from Argentina, Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Russia, Italy, Belgium, South Africa....
Neither of us can raise the energy or appetite in 35 Celsius to sample anything. Foodies, yeah right. I sample a beer called The Cannabis Factory. It’s got hemp in there. The labels more appetizing than the beer unfortunately.