Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Day 1 – 360km Tuesday 03/04/2012 Tarifa – Chefchaouen – Mokrisset – Zoumi – Fes

Got up nice and early to catch the 09:00 FRS fast ferry from Tarifa to Tangiers. Sam kindly guided me down to the port where I purchased on open return ticket for €111. The rain was pouring down and I was already wet having neglected to put on my waterproof trousers…. The crossing was pretty uneventful despite the amazing thunder / lightening / rain storm.
Got my passport stamped by some Moroccan immigration guys on the ferry itself which saved a bit of hassle later on. Going through Moroccan customs wasn’t too bad. I’d filled-in all of the ‘temporary importation’ papers for the motorbike on-line to save the hassle of filling-in loads of forms at the port. The older customs guy insisted that I fill-in the ‘yellow form’ again which I wasn’t happy with and all the touts were trying to make a fast buck by ‘helping’ me. Eventually I found a younger customs officer who was familiar with the Internet form and said that everything was in order, but the older guy still had a problem and kept me waiting for ages. Eventually he sent me to see a Policeman in an office who made a correction to my CIN (Moroccan ID number) which wasn’t stamped very clearly in my passport from an earlier visit to Marrakech.
Left the port in the pouring rain and rolled straight into a petrol station where I met some Italian bikers sheltering from the rain. Moreno, Martino and Graciano were a nice bunch of guys riding old, but well kept, Tenere and XL600 bikes. We compared notes and it looked like we were travelling a very similar route so we all stuck together until Fes. We chose to take the ‘scenic’ route which would have been great, but the roads were narrow, windy, full of holes and slippery due to the rain. Things got worse when we eventually got fog so we didn’t get to see the nice views. Sensibly, the guys decided that we wouldn’t make it to Fes before night time if we continued on this route so we took a ‘short-cut’ back onto the main road. I loved the ‘short-cut’ but it was very muddy at times so we all got caked in yellow mud.
We finally rolled into Fes at last light and kindly the guys let me share their room in a lovely Riad called ‘Sara’. The accommodation was pretty central and it really was impossible to find so Graciano enlisted the services of a moped guide. The Riad entrance was situated in a very narrow alleyway so we had to unload the bikes and then leave them in a guarded underground parking just down the road.
Didn’t want to get in the way of my fellow riders, so went for a meal on my own to a tiny restaurant where the owner served me red-wine in Coke bottles and told me to keep it quiet. Moroccan Cola. It tasted of rubber tyres but had the desired effect and I didn’t get the trots from it, so all good. Finally managed to find a working cash-point and got 2000 Dirhams out on my Caxton FX Global Traveller Card (most economical way to officially get cash out abroad) before hitting the sack.

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