We had been putting up with ‘night noises’ every night, without fail, for the last thirty-four nights, purely because of the location and of course the weather, however, there comes a point when you just have to say that ‘enough is enough‘. However, it wasn’t the music from the nightclubs or even the general traffic noise, no, the ‘straw that broke the camels back‘ was a solitary Motorcyclist who thought it would be fun to ride up and down, outside the campsite, over and over and over again and this went on until well after 2am !!
Over our morning coffee and during our morning ‘Bag Walk’ we both agreed that we felt that it was time to return to Spain, albeit with a wee stop in Marrakesh en route, but with a bit of luck we will be back on Spanish soil early next week. Instead of walking straight back after collecting our baguette, we decided to visit the ‘Jardim de Olhao‘, for no other reason than they had been specifically mentioned in the ‘Rough Guide’, as they were only a short fifteen minute walk away we decided to go and take a look. We know that our time is done here when we resort to going to look around public gardens !!
You would be forgiven for thinking that I have been rather ‘selective‘, or even ‘economical‘, with the amount of photographs that I have included above, but this really was it !! I am only glad that we didn’t have to pay an entry fee ! There were no gardens to speak of, a few derelict type buildings, lots of barren scrubland that had not been maintained, full litter bins with the excess strewn around the ground, it was certainly not what we had expected so we left more than a bit disappointed.
I don’t whether I have mentioned this before, but you are not permitted to take any photographs of Military Installations, Government or Religious buildings, however, on the way back from the gardens I just happened to see a rather nice ornate fountain and asked Shazza to stand next to it to give the photo some perspective !!
Our routine daily checks of the ‘Works of Fiction’ forecast that today, between 12am and 3pm, we were due a three-hour period of ‘rain‘. I looked it up in the dictionary as this was not a word that we were familiar with, and it seems that my afternoon activity of getting horizontal in my reclining sun chair may have to be curtailed somewhat. However, we also noted that Marrakesh would be a little wetter on both Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by several days of brighter weather and temperatures of around 16 degrees(c) so we decided to leave Agadir on Wednesday and use the wet day as a travel day and commence, somewhat reluctantly, our ‘downward re-acclimatisation‘ !!
When 12pm came and went without a raindrop falling I decided it would be a good time to give ‘Big Momma’ a well overdue wash. We had been in Morocco now for forty-one days and the old girl was in need of a bit of a wash and brush up. Apart from the damp conditions on the drive down to Agadir which left its marks on ‘Big Mommas’ bodywork, just being stood she had also collected a film of dirty brown sand. With an imminent departure we couldn’t leave with a dirty van now could we, so whilst I set about on ‘Big Mommas’ exterior, Shazza started on the Interior. I had just finished and was tidying away my bucket, ladders etc. when a woman approached me, rather sheepishly, and commenced gabbling away in French. Now I have been here for some time amongst our French cousins so my communication skills have improved a little so I responded in French, well it wasn’t so much a verbal response as a visual one, a shrug of the shoulders with my arms partly outstretched, which, translated into any language means ‘No Comprende‘, I did tell you I was getting good at this foreign lingo stuff. Fortunately, my ‘other’ French neighbours were just about to go out so they translated for me. Apparantly this woman had seen me washing my van and assumed I was leaving and was asking when we would vacate our pitch so that she could be ready and waiting to move onto it. It must be a French custom that you wash your van literally just before you leave !! My neighbour, not Arlette or Gerard, the one on the non-awning side, then translated my response which was basically, no I am not leaving just yet I was washing my van because it was dirty, but I did mention that we ‘may‘ depart on Wednesday. I didn’t want to say that we were definitely leaving as I wanted to maintain a degree of flexibility, well who knows, we still had two days in which to change our minds again. No more than half an hour later, we had just settled down with a nice hot Cuppa inside a nice clean and sparkling ‘Big Momma’ when there was a knock on the door. This time there was a French chap stood there and to cut to the chase, he had also seen me washing my van and wanted to know when we would leave as he wanted our pitch !! Now you may have underestimated it when I said in one of my much earlier posts that we had been fortunate to not only get the last ‘proper marked pitch’, but also one of the ‘prime’ positions, unrestricted sunshine from sunrise to sunset. The slightest sniff that we were moving and that was it, I wonder whether they would be as quick to jump in my grave ? I told him exactly what I had told the previous ‘grave snatcher‘ only this one was clever, he asked if he could leave something on the pitch on the evening before our ‘intended’ departure as a means of ‘staking his claim‘ on it. Now not being one to miss an ‘investment’ opportunity, I briefly considered selling ‘lottery’ tickets for €10 each to ‘all comers’, then on the morning of our ‘intended’ departure, in front of the massed eager throngs I would draw the ‘lucky’ ticket. However, I thought it may be much more fun to drive off the pitch, to a safe distance, then watch the ‘wacky races’ of French Motorhomes as they revved up their engines and with spinning wheels, burning rubber and loose gravel being thrown in all directions, witness who would be the first to claim the prize !! I thought better of it though, as this, knowing the French, could mean an encampment and night vigil outside the van the night before our departure, which could give me problems trying to get off the pitch let alone the Campsite !! We agreed to let the French chap bring something to stake his claim, as long as it wasn’t his Camping-Car !! and again, with the proviso that we may still decide to remain longer. And then it happened, at 5:30pm exactly, only five and a half hours later than forecast, the wet stuff started falling and it continued to fall well after we had gone to bed and turned the lights out.
Normal service had been resumed when we awoke on Monday morning, however, whilst the sun was high in the sky, the strong wind that was blowing (16 mph) made it feel a little chillier than what we had been used to. We were both feeling a little subdued, I think because we had made the decision to leave but there was a very good reason for choosing to depart Morocco sooner rather than later. If we stuck to our original plan which was to stay in the warmth of Agadir, we had checked the forecast and the temperatures were due to climb back into the low twenties again, then that would mean that when we did leave, it would be nothing more than a seven or eight-day dash to the ferry at Santander. However, by leaving sooner we would still have thirty-six days in Spain before having to get on to our pre-booked ferry. We discussed a rough itinerary which involved a short deviation from ‘Algeciras‘ up to ‘Los Barrios‘ where we could fill up with GPL. We would then turn tail and head back towards Algeciras and follow the Coast road South, perhaps finding a secluded area for a nights Wildcamping, and then up the West Coast to ‘Conil de Frontera‘. There was an ACSI campsite at ‘Conil’ and although we had purchased ACSI subscription a few days ago, we did not have the card, but we had Emailed the site and explained that we had an on-line receipt as proof and they stated that they would apply the discount, no problems.
You may wonder why we are opting for another Campsite so soon after leaving one, when we now had access to GPL and opportunities to use ‘Aires‘ or ‘Wildcamp‘. It’s an easy explanation, we need to thoroughly ‘clean‘ and ‘rinse‘ out our ‘Fresh Water‘ tank and the pipe work and taps. We had used the Moroccan water in the tank for washing up and showers but not for drinking, anyone who says that you can ‘drink’ this water is I think deluded, it may say ‘potable‘ but the colour and smell says otherwise. It will take a couple of days to do this and a readily accessible fresh water supply, so a Campsite will enable us to thoroughly clean and rinse through a couple of times before we will feel confident enough to use the fresh water tank for ‘drinking water’. However, once we have done this we can get back ‘on the road’ and continue our adventures at a much more leisurely pace gradually working our way North.
However, back to the here and now ! Arlette and Gerard invited us around to their ‘residence’ on Monday evening to have farewell drinks !! We decided that as we knew Arlette would go ‘overboard’ on ‘Le Nibbles’ that we would have lunch out, probably our last eating out for a little while, not that we had actually over indulged on eating out since being here but probably more than we had in our previous months. We were going to do another walk along the beach but with the wind still having a fair push to it, we decided to save that for our last walk tomorrow, well maybe. Instead we opted for a last tour around the city streets which we knew would inevitably lead us back down onto the promenade, if we saw a restaurant on our walk that took our fancy then we would stop and eat. As it happened, whilst we saw plenty of restaurants, the majority were empty, now this either made us question why ? or would assure us of extremely ‘attentive’ service from the lots of waiters stood around doing nothing ! We opted to keep walking and before long we arrived on the promenade, and just by co-incidence, right by our favourite restaurant which we knew had friendly waiters and more importantly very good food.
It was mouth wateringly delicious, proper home-made seasoned burger, not the pre-formed stuff that MacDonald’s use. After enjoying a relaxed lunch, looking out over the beach and beautiful blue sea, we walked along the promenade and back to the van, I wasn’t too concerned about the calories considering that we had just walked six and a half kilometres ! And, It’s amazing what you see when you are just walking, if you keep your eyes open, it felt just like being in a David Attenborough wildlife documentary when we saw this little fella making his way up the winding hill…………….
We spent the rest of the afternoon ‘at leisure’, apart from visiting my local hairdresser for a well overdue haircut, but even then I didn’t have to go far to ‘Madame Shazza’s’ salon !! We had a plan for this evening, we would hold onto our glasses, out of reach of Gerard, and drink the contents very slowly, that way we could ensure that we didn’t lose the following day in a drunken stupor, we would be busy with pre-moving on day jobs, I didn’t want to do them with a sore head.
It was a good plan, it would have worked but I had not accounted for the periods when we were eating and said glasses were put onto the table, Gerard was in as fast as a ‘robbers dog’, refusal, protestations were all futile, our plan had failed miserably !! We did manage to get away before midnight on this occasion and to be honest I wasn’t even on a stagger, perhaps it was because I am now getting used to this drinking M’larky or perhaps it was the cold !! My goodness it was the coldest night on our travels so far, even though I had left the electric heating on in ‘Big Momma’ whilst we were out, it still felt chilly inside the van, so much so that we decided to leave the heating on all night.
We both slept soundly, the best nights sleep that we had had since arriving here ! We awoke to glorious sunshine and just the faintest whisper of a breeze so this morning, unlike yesterday, I could partake of one’s coffee, and kick-start my lungs, sat outside in my sun chair, bloody marvellous !! It is little luxuries like this that made our decision to ‘move on’ to cooler temperatures all the more difficult. We had a busy day planned, although in reality there is normal ‘busy’ and there is Fulltimers ‘busy’ !! First, it was stock up with provisions, for although we had planned to stay at a campsite eleven kilometres North of Marrakesh, it didn’t look as if it was near to a local village, additionally, with us using very little LPG, we had decided that after Marrakesh we were now confident enough to use some of the ‘Aires’ on our way back to the Port at ‘Tanger Med’, these were parking only so we would be reliant on utilising our own on-board facilities.
With the sun shining it was a lovely walk, we actually felt a sense of excitement at getting back ‘on the road’ again, but more so, we were both looking forward to getting back to Spain and we started to discuss our options on Wildcamping and Free Camping locations as well as places we wanted to visit on our route North to Santander.
We did our usual shopping route, first the small Supermarket for Fresh Milk followed by the Central Market for Meat, Vegetables, Fruit and Bread and then back to ‘Big Momma’, a very pleasant 7km walk !! When we got back I found a note stuck to my door to say that we had had visitors. We knew that Mick and Heike had recently arrived in Morocco and were working their way down, they had said that they may call in when they were passing if we were still here. Now we had never met before, although we have communicated on the Motorhome Forum several times over the past couple of years and they have also been following our blog, so it would have been really good to have finally met them both, in the flesh so to speak. I don’t know what time they had arrived but we returned from our shopping trip at around 11:30am. Oh well, I am sure we will get another opportunity, on another day on another trip, we both hope so.
After lunch we set about doing what we needed to do, Shazza sorting out the ‘provisions’ storage, preparing this evening’s meal, preparing a meal for tomorrow evening that could be just re-heated once we had got to our site and set up, and of course as Chief Navigator she set about route planning whilst we still had WiFi connectivity. I set about getting the bicycles back onto the rear carrier then decided to use the opportunity to clean and then lubricate the internal workings of the Rollout Awning, the rollers and hinges, which led to finding ‘other’ nooks and crannies on the awning that needed a clean and a squirt of oil. Once you have that spray oil in your hand you start seeking out the other bits that may as well get a bit of lubrication, the bits that sometimes get overlooked, like the ratchets and hinges of the fold out electric step. We have heard so many stories this year whilst on our travels about the electric fold away steps, most stories being that the step got stuck in the ‘out’ position. Now I have to confess that as part of my regular cleaning of the van, even before Fulltiming, I would always check that the ‘workings’ were clear of any dirt and always gave them a spray with WD40, so far, and I know I am now tempting fate, but we have had no such problems, long may that continue.
Before the sun had set, we were as ready as we could be, I had already been to the reception and paid our dues so just the silver screen and EHU cable to disconnect in the morning and then our very enjoyable Thirty-eight days in Agadir would be over and then Marrakesh here we come………………….