El Jadida – Agadir (256 Miles)
We had a very stormy night, torrential rain and thunder which caused a vibration in the van !! This lasted throughout the night and well into the early hours. When we awoke on Sunday morning (14th December)’ whilst the thunder had ceased the watery stuff hadn’t. I cannot rant at the ‘Work of Fiction’ as it had forecast this, but it just confirmed our decision to pack up, and 5-6 hour drive or not, we were heading South to Agadir, I only hoped that on this occasion the ‘Work of Fiction’ would be correct as it had forecast 22 degrees(c) and wall to wall sunshine for the foreseeable future. We didn’t hang about, ‘Big Momma’ started again, upon the first time of asking, and we were driving out of the site gates by 08:50am. We needed to re-fuel, our first time since being in Morocco so it would be interesting to compare the cost as we had been told that it was pretty cheap here. Fortunately there was a Fuel station within five minutes of us being on the road, It was one of those ‘Attendant‘ type so I just told him to “Fill her up“. ‘Big Momma’ drunk 69.61 Litres of Diesel at a total cost of 680.08 Dirham (€64.10 or £52.24), at 9.77 Dirham a litre (€0.92 or £0.75) this would see us all the way to Agadir with plenty to spare and with our pre-prepared sandwiches and flask of coffee we wouldn’t need to stop. Worthy of note is that it is recommended to only use either the ‘Afrique‘ fuel stations or the ‘Branded names’ like ‘Shell‘ or ‘Total‘, however there are plenty of these so no need to worry about having to drive miles to get fuel. Also, as an aside, on the Motorway there at ‘Service Stations’ (Aire de Repos) just before the exits to most major towns.
We pulled off the forecourt of the fuel station, armrests on the Captains seats in the down position and headed off along the ‘N1’, which you could, if you wanted to, follow all the way South to Agadir. We had looked at the map and this had shown quite a few ‘wiggly‘ bits, as Shazza referred to them, but that would very likely have taken us even longer so we opted to head’ yet again, for the ‘A7’ Motorway, although that would mean more ‘Toll’ costs we already knew that this was a very good road and we may even make up some time, however, that was still just over One Hundred miles away. I was suitably impressed with the first part of the ‘N1’, it was well surfaced with some decent long straight sections, however, it didn’t stay that way for long and from our previous journeys, where we averaged a decent 50mph, this dropped dramatically to only 35mph !! So, my words of advice is that if you usually plan the length of your journey by the ‘mileage’, forget that if you plan to travel using the ‘normal’ Moroccan roads.
As for being ‘stoned’, we kept our eyes open all the way, especially through villages and towns, what happened was this !! All the children we saw stood and waved and smiled, even the Adults, young and old, waved and smiled. People on three-wheeled ‘chuck, chucks’, the motorcycle and trailer type vehicles that are in abundance here, smiled and waved and even pulled over to the side of the road to allow us to pass. People on Donkeys, some pulling carts, waved and smiled at us. All of the Policemen at the numerous vehicle checkpoints, smiled as they waved us through and so, after just under three hours of driving on ‘normal’ roads, One Hundred and Seven miles, passing through numerous small communities, villages and towns, the only ill effects suffered to ‘Big Momma’ was the dirt and mud from the extremely wet roads !!
If I were to continue rambling on about the journey, the absolutely fantastic scenery, driving up the ‘High Atlas Mountains’ you still would not appreciate it as I have no words to describe it, so whilst I go and top up my glass of ‘Grape Juice‘ I will leave you to enjoy a ‘pictorial’ virtual ride with us………………………………..
The Motorway leg of the journey was a distance of around 130 miles. Their was only one toll charge right at the end which cost us 124 Dirham (€11.69 or £9.53). Shazza’s navigation was then put to the test once more, it is okay following roads on a map but once we had left the Motorway and entered the outskirts of Agadir, her research and note taking would be put to the test !! As usual she had done a sterling job and it wasn’t long before we were turning into the gates of the ‘Campsite’. The place was ‘packed’ full of Motorhomes, we were not certain that they would even have a space for us !! The main reception office was closed but the ‘Guardien’ wandered across to us. This is the first ‘site’ that we have used where the locals did not speak any English, so a bit of a tip, learn French for ‘Emplacement’ (or is that French ?), Number of Days/Nights, Electricity and how many Amps (Amperes) and Cost per night. Don’t always take any notice of what the ‘Guardien’ tells you about the cost, he had told us that it would cost us 250 Dirham per night (€23.56 or £19.20), plus an extra 10 Dirham each if we wanted to use the showers, we were ready for staying just the one night and then moving on !! We wouldn’t have minded if this had been an all singing, all dancing proper Campsite, it wasn’t, it was basically an ‘Aire’, a very crowded Aire, with no Laundry facilities and no WiFi. However, he showed us to a ‘pitch’, a fair-sized and marked pitch, it was also facing South West which meant sunshine most of the day, we were on a corner so we would not have our sunshine blocked. However, we were still not going to pay nearly £20 a night for this. Matters were made worse when our 6amp electricity supply kept ‘Tripping’, it wasn’t us overloading it, it was a faulty fuse switch, something we discovered the following morning, no wonder this ‘prime’ pitch location was conveniently ‘vacant’ as their were no more spare sockets !! Things always seem worse when you are tired, you would think that after Shazza dragging ‘me’ here virtually kicking and screaming, that it would be me planning the quickest route back to the ferry and ‘civilisation’, it wasn’t, it was Shazza !!
After a nice hot freshly brewed cup of coffee we went for a walk along the Promenade. I was being more rational in my thoughts, here we are in one of the ‘prime’ beach resorts in Morocco, we are quite literally across the road from the beach, the magnificent long Promenade which was buzzing with life, Restaurants, Cafes, Bars !! Yes I did say Bars, and they openly advertise that they sell Beer, including ‘Heineken’ and ‘Corona’, it doesn’t come cheap at 50 Dirham a bottle (€4.71 or £3.83) but if you are on holiday here then cost may not be an issue. Along the Promenade is also a ‘MacDonald’s with a ‘Pizza Hut’ right next door, and yes I am thinking Burger and Fries as well as ‘Free’ WiFi !! We are also a few minutes walk from the Marina, a short walk or cycle to a ‘Carrefour’ supermarket and just 1.5km to the main shopping area. Now if only I could sort the Electricity issue and confirm the price, for which the Guide book quoted as being half the cost, at 100 Dirham per night (€9.43 or £7.69), then perhaps Shazza, after a good nights sleep would see what a fantastic location this would be to spend Christmas and New Year !! When we returned to the ‘site’ we had a walk around to get a feeling for what sort of International community we were amongst, now remember that so-called warning by the ‘French Government’, well it fell on deaf ears because they are all here !! This site accommodates over two hundred vans and so as a rough estimate I would say that Ninety-Five per cent are French, there are a handful of Italians and then token gestures from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Finland and Sweden and we are the only British van on here, surprisingly there are no Dutch vans !!
We couldn’t have got off to a much better start to the day, we awoke at 08:00am to fantastic sunshine, it was already high in the sky and hot ! Thank you ‘Work of Fiction’ for getting it right and in our favour. Next task was to see what I could do about the electricity, I found a solution, although it did involve seeking out another box of connections and trailing our lead across one of the access roads, but hey, we had electric that worked !! I had just resolved the problem when one of our French neighbours came to speak to me, through some hand gesturing I understood that he wanted me to go with him to the Electrical box that I had originally had the issue with, although I did not understand what he was saying to me. Then he unplugged his cable and pointed at me to attach mine. Cutting a long story short, he had been using two of the connections, seeing that I had no electric, well not conveniently located anyway, he had given up one of his connections for me. I must admit that this was better than having a lead trailing across the road, so problem resolved. Next stop was the site reception, it is a strange procedure here, everywhere else you book in on arrival and then pay on departure for the number of nights you have stayed there. Not here, here you pay after the first night, for that one night, then you don’t pay until departure !! I waited for the young male receptionist to make out my receipt to see what he charged me, if it was 250 Dirham then I would query the price, if I got no joy then I would return to the van to discuss our options with Shazza. As it happened there would be no need, he handed me the receipt and I gave him the requested amount, 100 Dirham, the day so far has just got better and better. When I returned I stormed into the van, stoney faced, and turned to Shazza and said, “Get packed up, they want 250 Dirham per night and another 10 Dirham per day for Electric on top of the 10 Dirham each if we want a shower !!”. Her face was a picture, in a stern voice she said “You are Joking”, this was a statement rather than a question, but I responded with a simple “Yes“, her reaction and response aimed at me is unprintable but she inferred that I had no father !!
I was now on cloud nine, we were going to be staying here for ‘at least’ three weeks so best get our little home set up for ‘long stay’ mode. First it was roll out the awning, then because it can get a bit breezy around sunset, I don’t know why it does that but it is something that I have noticed over here, once the sun has completely set and it gets dark, it seems to warm up again and the breeze disappears leaving a calm still night, except for when it rains that is !! I put up just one side of the ‘wind blocker’, more for privacy than anything else, but I didn’t want to block out the lovely hot sunshine so I left the front and one side open. After I had pegged them down securely, the awning legs and the wind blocker that is, then out came the BBQ and the sun chairs, electric bikes off the rear carrier, ready for more ‘Shazzas Scenic Bicycle Tours’, then it was tidy away everything in the garage that was surplus to requirements. Just a few ‘domestics’ to undertake, namely emptying the ‘Black and Grey’ waste, we still didn’t need to fill up with ‘Fresh’ water just yet, then it was ‘Chillax’ time !! The rest of the day I would be doing absolutely nothing, Shazza had agreed that there would be no ‘Expeditions‘ today after the long drive the previous day.
It should go without saying that with French occupancy being in the majority, both our neighbours were of the French variety. In order not to confuse who is who, if and when I talk about them, i shall refer to those on our ‘Awning’ side as our ‘Energy Providers‘, because they are the ones that gave up one of their electrical sockets for us, the others, on our non-awning side I shall refer to as ‘Rat on a Stick‘ because they have a poor excuse for a dog that looks like, and is no bigger than a drowned rat !! However, I mean no offence to either neighbour in my use of these ‘descriptors’, but merely to aid my readers recognition of them should I mention them in future blog posts. Our ‘Energy providers’ are extremely friendly and chatty, we have already had several brief conversations, which is quite remarkable really considering that they do not speak a word of English or us French, however as fellow ‘Nomadic Travellers‘ we do speak in that International language known as ‘Happy’. The same applies to ‘Rat on a Stick’, although with them being on our non-awning side the conversations are less frequent. We also had another visitor, a lady called ‘Danielle’, she was born in France but lived most of her life in Vancouver, Canada, which apparently is a non-French speaking region, it’s amazing what you learn isn’t it ? Anyway, she had observed that we were the only British people on the Campsite, thinking that we may have been feeling pretty isolated, she had decided to come across and say Hello, how thoughtful was that, how was she to know that my failure to speak any other foreign language has never actually ever prevented me from talking to anyone !!
So after a very relaxing day, and one where we had got to meet some of our neighbours, we had our evening meal and then in the warmth of the evening air, took a walk along the Promenade where we indulged in a ‘McFlurry‘ ice cream whilst we availed ourselves of their ‘Free’ and very fast WiFi connection to check our Emails, update our BBC news App and get an up to date ‘Work of Fiction’ forecast. In my Email ‘Inbox’, I received some bad good news, our contracts confirming next year’s summer season as ‘Elf & Elfette’. The ‘Work of Fiction’ is still showing ten days of hot sunny weather for Agadir, Christmas Eve day will be a chilly 22 degrees(c) !!
Just by way of ending these current ramblings, do you ever get a song in your head that you just cannot stop singing ? On our long journey down here I had one song that just wouldn’t go out of my head, it was more a sort of word association type of thing. Now at this point I must sincerely apologise to the numerous non-British readers of my blog who may never have heard of this song, however, very many years ago a group called ‘Black Lace’ had a chart hit with a song entitled ‘Agadoo‘, which, I am sure you will agree does sound vaguely similar to ‘Agadir‘. So, using an element of ‘Poetic Licence’ I have changed the lyrics ever so slightly and now invite you all to have a pre-Christmas ‘Singalong’ with me ……….
Music maestro please ……….
Agadir, dir, dir, having Christmas in the sun
Agadir, dir, dir, on the beach and having fun
Going South, Going West, head for the sun is best
In the van with a tan wearing only a string vest
Agadir, dir, dir, having Christmas in the sun
Agadir, dir, dir, on the beach and having fun
Now, if you were crazy enough to actually be singing along with me, then I thank you very much, and it just goes to confirm that like me you are all as mad as hatters !!
⭐️⛄️❄️ HAPPY CHRISTMAS ! ❄️⛄️⭐️