Day 180 15th January
34miles (Tarifa to Assilah) Average speed 12.6mph Top speed 29mph
Well I made it. I’m in Morocco at Assilah.
I was up at 8.30 had brekkie of muesli, tea, toast & jam. I checked out and went to buy my ferry ticket – €37 and my bike was free. I went through customs and passport control and waited to board the ferry.
All the foot passengers went first but it was no problem waiting in line in the sun. I secured the bike and went on to the deck to enjoy the ride.
I borrowed a pen to fill in the required paperwork and waited for the queue to die down to get my passport stamped. We disembarked and went through customs and I was waved straight through again. I stopped to get 1000 dirham from a cash machine and was not hassled at all as I found my way along the coast road. Easy navigation and a great welcome to Morocco. As I climbed the first hill a traffic warden cheered me on. Then I hit a roundabout, which was very confusing trying to work out who had priority. As I’d just passed a shop I decided to do a u-turn and go round again. I stopped and bought an orange drink and went back round it again to find a park with horse riders.
I sat down for my drink and was asked where I had come from by a local. He congratulated me and officially welcomed me to Morocco. I watched the horses for a while and then started off again and went all the way round the roundabout one last time. I followed the signposts towards Rabat and saw many interesting sights including various strange tuk-tuk type vehicles powered by motorbikes, one of which I overtook.
There were many bikes, some with two or three people on, I saw 10 people climbing into a Mercedes taxi. I joined the 3 lane motorway and was surprised when cars just stopped in the inside lane to let people on or out. Then I went past a souk where there were people all over the road on foot, bike and various contraptions. I joined the wrong motorway at one point and had to go back against traffic on the hard shoulder to avoid paying the toll. It didn’t seem to matter too much as it looks as though if you’re on a bike anything goes!
Unless you’re spotted by two sheep dogs and chased down the road. I was lucky it was downhill, as I only just outpaced them after about a mile! Raced along the correct motorway and was at the seaside in no time. A beautiful Atlantic coastline with turquoise seas and lovely sand.
Roadkill was quite disturbing including a Rottweiler and a wild boar! There were many people just hanging around on the roadside in the middle of nowhere but apart from giving me strange looks they didn’t bother me. Then I arrived at a road bridge over a river and stopped for a rest and a drink with the resident camels and fishermen.
I was quite pleased to see a hill ahead after the flat roads and was rewarded after the climb by a fantastic fast run down to Briyech. I carried on and was in Assilah in no time at all. I soon found the Hostel Mia and checked in at the outskirts of town. A good hostel and really nice people. I met a Swede who I’m sharing a room with, who has been here a week and I may end up riding South with him tomorrow.
I then walked along the beach and past the port into the medina and had a good look round before opting for Ali Barbas restaurant which was full of locals, which I took as a good sign. A lovely chicken tagine with chips, bread and a Sprite for the princely sum of 38 dirhams.
Unfortunately they didn’t have couscous as, although it stayed on the menu, it was only available on Fridays, but I am sure I will have my fair share while I am here. I was looking for Man U vs Liverpool game on TV, but only found it in a phone shop and felt awkward standing watching it there, so carried on and found Cafe Wagin and had a coffee watching the end of Algeria vs Zimbabwe, which finished 2-2. Then they turned over just in time for the highlights of the Man U game and then over to Osasina v Granada . The bar was packed and the toilets pretty awful.
Then back to the hostel for hot chocolate and biscuits. An early night for me after a long day but it’s quite nice not to have the option of a beer as I can take time to relax and not feel the need to socialise in bars. Signing off at 9pm to read my book in bed. Peace!!!
Hostel Mia 111 dirham
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